Denver District 5 | February 2021
Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer | District 5
720-337-5555 |  DenverCouncil5@denvergov.org
Chief of Staff: JoyAnn Ruscha | Senior Aide: Logan Fry
Aide: Sara Visser | Aide: Jenn Gross
Dear Neighbors, 

For those of you who didn't see the result, the Group Living proposed zoning change was voted on and passed during the February 8 City Council meeting. Please read my statement to the community, which was sent out after all public comment was heard and the vote was taken, in the early hours on Tuesday morning. You'll also see data compilation of community opinion that District 5 residents shared directly with our office. As you may know, my vote was NO. I am disappointed with the result and continue to have reservations about how the new rules will affect our City. However, while I think we'll see some small changes in District 5, I think our neighborhoods will be minimally affected, overall. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share your opinion on this proposal.

Many of you know that I've been working closely with the Denver Police Department (DPD) to enhance public safety in District 5. To that end, we are applying for a State Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) that would allow DPD to increase foot patrols along Colfax Ave. between Monaco Pkwy. and Yosemite St. The proposed project would also implement activities that will have a sustainable impact in the area - such as community classes and presentations on crime prevention, and will provide a dedicated victim services program coordinator to the East Colfax neighborhood. We need your help to demonstrate that the neighborhood supports this program. If you live in District 5 and are in support - even if you don't live or work in the immediate area, please sign the petition and help us collect as many resident signatures as possible. If you own a business or are involved with your Registered Neighborhood Organization (RNO) please send a letter of support on your letterhead. Click here for a sample letter you can personalize and email it to our office by Wednesday, March 3, 2021. You can also mail it to us at 1437 Bannock Street, Room 451, Denver 80202. Thank you in advance!

Lastly. our Spring District 5 Parks Clean-Up Event is planned for Sunday, May 16, 8:30am -11:00am. Please mark your calendar and we'll send an update when the volunteer sign-up is ready.

As always, the District 5 team is here as a resource for everyone in the District 5 community. Please don't hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can do to assist you.

Gratefully,

Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer 
District 5 
Community Office Hours With Councilwoman Sawyer
Speak with Amanda to discuss the issues that are on your mind! Out of an abundance of caution during the current public health crisis, the Councilwoman will not be holding in-person community office hours for now. She will instead offer private phone or Zoom appointments. Please email our office or call 720-337-5555 to reserve a time. If you're unable to make any of these dates, please contact our office to schedule an appointment at another time. Dates and times are subject to change.

  • Thursday, February 18, 11:00am - 1:00pm
  • Thursday, February 25, 11:00am - 1:00pm
  • Thursday, March 4, 11:00am - 1:00pm
  • Thursday, March 11, 11:00am - 1:00pm
Update on 50 S. Colorado Boulevard and 5G Towers in D5
Our office has received word that in December, Verizon turned on the replacement cell facility in Burns Park and decommissioned the old facility housed in the former church building in January. The property owners tell us that they are considering their options about next steps for the property.

In addition, our office has also fielded more than 20 calls and emails regarding the 5G towers that are being installed in District 5 neighborhoods and throughout the City. Because these towers are regulated at the Federal level, not the municipal level, our office unfortunately, has no influence over their placement. A community group that is unaffiliated with Denver City Council District 5 is holding a virtual Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, February at 17, 3:00pm to discuss the towers. Click here for more information and to register in advance to attend the meeting.
#SEDenverGives Blood Drive Was a Success!
Thank you to everyone who participated in our effort to raise awareness and increase blood donations during our Southeast Denver Gives Blood drive, January 15 - February 15. As you can see from this photo, Team D5's Jenn Gross donated, as did Logan Fry and CW Sawyer. Jenn says that after she donated, she was thrilled to receive a text message that her blood was shipped to a hospital for use within 2 weeks. If you have pledged to donate, please follow through with scheduling your appointment to donate today.

Our partnership with Vitalant in Lowry for #SEDenverGivesBlood resulted in, as of 2/11/21:

  • 44 Pledges
  • 21 donations
  • additional future appointments scheduled
  • As many as 63 lives saved

The need for blood donations is always high and has increased during the public health emergency. If you didn't donate blood or funds during our drive, we hope you'll consider doing so in the future! Learn why the folks at Vitalant say, "the ultimate pay-it-forward moment - in order to move life forward - is the simple act of giving blood.". You can also email any questions to Jenn Gross.
Update on Diseased Tree Removal and Replacement Along Monaco Pkwy. Between 1st & 6th Aves.
Last month's D5 newsletter included a notice that over the next three to four years, the Office of the City Forester will perform preventative work along Monaco Pkwy., between 1st Ave. and 6th Ave. to remove dying and diseased trees. Earlier this month, our office received the following update from Denver Parks and Recreation. If you have questions about tree care or the upcoming work, please email the City Forester.
"Friday (01/29) trees where marked for removal. The yellow tape indicates which trees will be removed. The long term plan for replacement is a designated planting pattern so when a tree comes out, the replacement species is pre-determined to establish a lasting, diversified pattern. Not every planting space on the parkway was designated, only where Forestry believes it is appropriate. This is especially true where the encroachments into the parkway impact the pattern.
 
The pattern focuses on the front row, or street adjacent trees, to re-create the historic alley that looks similar in form and stature, mirrored on both sides of the parkway, north to south. The Pattern:

  • 2 Honey Locust trees
  • Kentucky Coffeetree
  • Japanese Pagodatree
  • Hackberry
  • Repeat
 
The back row, or property adjacent trees, will be infilled with various species of maple, oak, elm to keep our diversity wide.
 
Replacement of diseased locusts will take place over the next 3 - 4 years. There is no pre-determined locust sites will be replaced/planted until the final year when all infected trees have been removed. This means that there will be spots that remain empty until year 3, those will then be filled in with locust plant. Approximately 34 locust trees will be removed per year with other trees to be removed and replaced as designated when needed by Forestry."
Help Shape the Vision for Near Southeast Plan - Complete the Interest Form, Sign Up for Email Updates
Denver's Community Planning and Development wants to ensure as many people as possible get to participate in the creation of a long-term vision for the neighborhoods of Washington Virginia Vale, Virginia Village, Indian Creek and Goldsmith. The Near Southeast Plan includes a variety of housing types, significant commercial corridors including Colorado Boulevard and Leetsdale Drive, and amenities like sections of the Cherry Creek Greenway and the Highline Canal. As part of the Neighborhood Planning Initiative, this project provides a great opportunity to create a long-term vision for these neighborhoods that address citywide goals and priorities in a way that fits with local neighborhood needs.

If you would like to take an active role in the process, complete the interest form to let planners know how you want to get involved and sign up for email updates. You can learn more about the plan and the process at the official project website. If you have questions, email project manager Scott Robinson.
You Can Go Solar! Solar United Neighbors Co-Op Helps Denver Residents Through the Process
We all want lower electricity bills and to help the environment. There is a local group working to help Denver homeowners achieve both by going solar. Solar United Neighbors (SUN), a nonprofit Colorado solar co-op, is now available in Denver.
SUN offers support throughout the process - from helping co-op participants select an installer to securing discounts through group purchasing power. The program is strongly supported by the City and County of Denver and several community organizations.
 
If you are interested in going solar in 2021, you can sign-up as a potential participant through March 1. Signing up carries no obligation and simply shows that you are interested in learning about going solar as part of a group and that you would like to receive a proposal. An added incentive is the significant 26% federal tax credit for 2021. Follow this link for more information.
Protect Your Vehicle and the Environment - Don't Be a Puffer
When it's cold outside, it can be tempting to warm-up your car for several minutes before setting out in it. DPD says there is a City-wide increase in auto theft, as well as of property inside our cars. "Puffing" refers to leaving a car running and unattended, and these cars are prime targets for theft. Plus, puffing is terrible for the air we breathe.

What you need to know about Puffing:

  • You can get a ticket. If your vehicle is left running unattended and is on public property, you can get a citation, even if you lock the doors. Vehicles with a remote start are exempt from this, except if the vehicle has been idling for longer than 5 minutes. Any vehicle that has been idling for more than 5 minutes, whether on public or private property, is subject to citation. The only time everyone is exempt from the puffer law, is if the temperature has been below 20 degrees Fahrenheit for the last 24 hours or if the temperature has been below 10 degrees Fahrenheit for the last hour.
  • Your vehicle could get stolen.
  • It's an easy way to help the environment. The law was created to protect Colorado's air from harmful emissions.
  • Emergency service vehicles, such as fire trucks, ambulances and patrol vehicles are exempt from this law.
Denver Water Says "Drought Watch" May Be on the Horizon
You may have noticed an increase in media coverage around snowpack, drought, water supplies and extremely dry conditions in and around Denver. While the bulk of the winter is still ahead of us -including Colorado’s snowiest months of March and April, Denver Water is letting us know what they are doing to prepare, in case we don’t get the snow we need in the mountains.  

If conditions don’t improve, one possible step would be a recommendation to adopt a "Drought Watch” in March, which involves mostly a voluntary effort designed to raise awareness that water supplies are below average, conditions are dry and/or continued dry weather could lead to mandatory water use restrictions beyond our annual watering rules. During a Drought Watch, Denver Water would increase encouragement of efficient water use and provide suggestions for further reducing water use to help water supplies last. 

 
Denver Water says, "Our customers have done an amazing job to reduce water use over the years, and we ask them to remain vigilant this winter. It is still early in the season, and we've been here and recovered before, but we want to raise awareness that we could be headed into a prolonged drought."
Bring Your Old Concert Tix to Postino Wine Cafe at 9+CO!
Now thru February 22, Postino is sourcing concert tickets for their next Art Wall. Drop off your used concert tix at any Postino location - the District 5 restaurant is at 830 Colorado Blvd. - and get $5 in Postino bucks for every 10 tix they take - $5 off your next meal at any Upward Projects restaurant location. Limit 30 tickets per person.
Current City of Denver Public Comment Opportunities
If you are interested in commenting during a hearing, please take a look at the guidelines and FAQs, and sign up to speak here. Sign-up begins 45 minutes prior to the Committee’s scheduled start time and ends 15 minutes before the meeting begins.

There are currently two open re-zoning requests in District 5:
  • An ADU request at 1112 Verbena Street was filed on August 20, 2020, and a revised application was received on November 25, 2020.
  • Public Hearing March 8
  • Rezoning application at 10353 E. Mississippi was filed on October 1, 2020, and a revised application was received on December 1, 2020.
  • Planning Board Hearing April 7

Upcoming hearings on re-zoning requests in other Districts are listed below - dates are subject to change. For more information on proposed rezonings and their public hearings visit the Denver Community Planning and Development website.

Tuesday, February 16 - No Council meeting on February 15 due to President's Day
  • 2112 S Emerson St
  • 925 S Pennsylvania St
  • 753 S Downing

March 1
  • 1576 S Josephine Street
  • 501 S Acoma St
  • 1570-1596 W Bayaud Ave

March 8
  • 4700 E Evans
  • 2938 Hooker St
  • 1112 Verbena

If you don't have internet access, you can still attend all Denver City Council meetings by phone. Call 720-928-9299 and enter the Meeting ID of the meeting you wish to listen to. Click here to learn more and to see a Meeting Calendar.
Vaccine Updates From the Governor's Office and the Denver DA
All vaccine efforts are through the state and go through the Governor's office. The Vaccine is FREE and no ID is necessary to get a vaccine. Your name, DOB and phone number will be all you will need in order to get your dose. 

  • Coloradans who are 70 and older can sign up to receive the vaccine through the State’s major health care providers.
  • Beginning February 8, providers are able to vaccinate anyone 65 and over, including continuing to prioritize those that are 70 and over who have not yet received a vaccine. Colorado’s PreK-12 educators will also be eligible to receive the vaccine on February 8. Educators should reach out to their employers to sign up for the vaccine.
  • Coloradans who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine can still sign up through the State’s health care providers to receive vaccine alerts and sign up for a spot on a provider’s vaccine wait list.
  • Coloradans are not required to be a current member of any major health care provider to receive the vaccine. 
  • Governor Polis also announced that the State estimates that close to March 5, frontline workers and Coloradans ages 16-64 with two or more high-risk conditions will also be eligible to receive the vaccine. It’s also projected that Coloradans ages 60 and up will also be able to start receiving the vaccine around March 5. 

Below is information from some of the state's major health care providers on how you can sign up to make an appointment to get vaccinated, receive updates, and access assistance. View Colorado's COVID-19 Vaccine Providers map here. It is recommended you sign up at as many distribution centers as possible. You will be contacted for an appointment as soon as a vaccine is available for you.


The Governor strongly encourages everyone who has access to a computer and other devices with an internet connection to sign up online, and to please leave the phone lines open for those who do not have internet access

Last minute vaccine availability: Occasionally, facilities will have left over vaccine at the end of the day due to cancellations; St. Joseph Hospital has developed a system to use these doses before they are wasted. When you click on the regular sign-up link at the bottom is a section in which to register for the Rapid On-Call List. To sign up for this, you must attest that you live within 15 minutes of one of their sites and could get there quickly if contacted at the last minute. You may sign up on this list, even if you are younger and not yet due to get vaccinated.

The Denver DA's office wants to make sure you get vaccinated, not scammed, and they have provided helpful tips and information to looks out for below:
  • Check before you click: If the email comes from a healthcare network or provider that you have not done business with, or never heard of, it may be fraudulent
  • Emails with links: Emails with links and phone calls from unexpected caller are standard scammer methods. Tips to detect fraudulent emails are available here. 
  • Personal information: Other than providing your birth date, you will not be required to provide ANY personal information to the caller or within the link. Do not share your social security number or your bank account. If the email or caller asks for any information, hang up and/or do not respond.
  • No cost: You will not be required to pay. If the caller or email requests payment for the vaccine or to make an appointment hang-up or delete the email. 
Avoid Parking Tickets and Stay Healthy - Free App Allows Contactless Payment at Denver's Meters
Denver’s Department of Transportation & Infrastructure (DOTI) is rolling out a more convenient, and potentially healthier, way for people to pay for parking at meters in the City. You can now use a free app called PayByPhone via your smartphone and never have to touch a meter or kiosk. The app can also (1) help people avoid parking tickets by sending users a text message when their parking session is about to expire; and (2) add money and extend the duration of paid parking within posted time limits without having to return to the parking meter.

Click here to set up an account and benefit from all the features of the PayByPhone app.

Over the next few weeks, DOTI will roll out PayByPhone stickers on parking meters (see photo below) and overhead signs to let people know they have the option to pay through the app. To get started, download the PayByPhone app on the iOS App Store or Google Play. Then, enter the location code listed on the parking meter sticker or posted signage. Residents and visitors should be aware the PayByPhone app does not activate the blinking green light on the meter and enforcement agents will see that you’ve paid through your license plate number.
Learn About and Apply to Denver Boards and Commissions
The Denver City Council appoints more than 50 people to serve on boards and commissions throughout the City. Boards and commissions provide invaluable service to our city and community. Our boards provide feedback to executive directors of agencies, civilian oversight of our government, and advice on department spending.  

Click here to learn more and submit an application. Questions? Email Emily Lapel, Legislative Policy Analyst, or call 720-337-2003. Thank you for your interest and civic engagement!
Opt-In Single Use Restaurant Plastic
It is estimated that since the beginning of the pandemic consumption of single-use plastic has risen by 250-300% Councilwoman Black is working on a proposal that would require restaurants and third-party ordering apps (like DoorDash) to ask customers if they would like single use items such as cutlery or condiments, instead of just including these items in the order. Please take this short survey to answer questions about single use items and your take-out/delivery orders.
Share Your Opinion about Denver Elections
The Office of the Clerk and Recorder's Charter Review Committee is working to modernize the way Denver does elections, and you have a chance to be a part of it. Click here to take this brief survey regarding our municipal electoral process.
Denver's Dept. of Housing Stability Maps 2021 Spending
Department of Housing Stability (HOST) seeks to build a healthy, housed, and connected Denver by investing resources, creating policy, and partnering with organizations to: keep people in the homes they already live in, quickly resolve an experience of homelessness, and connect people to affordable housing opportunities. HOST has finalized its framework that will guide investments made through the new Homelessness Resolution Fund this year. HOST has published its 2021 Action Plan and 2B Addendum to 2021 Action Plan, which provides a roadmap for the spending of an estimated $37 million in Measure 2B funds in 2021. During their public input process, 75% of community members surveyed indicated strong or very strong approval of the content in this plan. Click here for more information about HOST.
Virtual & In-Person Events
Lowry Speaker Series Virtual Lecture: “What’s the Buzz About Bees?”

Tuesday, February 16
7:00pm
Dr. Gabriela Chavarria, Chief Curator and Vice-President of the Science Division at the DMNS will talk about wildlife and wild places in crisis, pollinator conservation and her specialty – bumblebees.
Neighborhood Watch Action and Awareness - Virtual Training

Wednesday, February 24
6:00pm
DPD District 3's Neighborhood Watch program offers a partnership between Officers and the Residents they serve. Officers promote Neighborhood Connectivity by encouraging Neighbors to get to know one another and by creating awareness through Implicit Bias education - reminding neighbors - it's the person's behavior, not the person to be mindful of when observing and reporting suspicious behavior to the Police. RSVP and to receive a link to participate here.
Central, East Central & Southeast Elected Officials Town Hall Meetings on Zoom and Facebook Live

Thursday, February 28
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Members of the DPS Board and the Interim Superintendent will discuss the return to in-person learning and the search for a new Superintendent.
2nd Parks & Rec Virtual Public Meeting for the Strategic Acquisition Plan

Thursday, March 11
5:30pm-6:30pm
Building off Game Plan for a Healthy City and the Legacy Fund Five-Year Plan, the Strategic Acquisition Plan will guide the growth of an equitable, sustainable and resilient parks and recreation system for a healthier Denver. Click here to learn more.

Meeting ID: 884 5166 3772
Or join by phone: 720-928-9299
District 5 Neighborhood Organizations
Denver is a unique city in promoting greater citizen involvement through organized neighborhood associations. Currently, there are 78 statistical neighborhoods represented by more than 200 registered neighborhood organizations (RNOs), Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and Homeowner Associations (HOAs).

In its defined geographic area, an RNO will normally address neighborhood quality of life issues - such as traffic, development and zoning, crime, communication and licensing, and promote social activities to enhance residential spirit, developing a sense of community, and encourage resident participation. RNOs meet regularly and many send out newsletters to keep residents informed on neighborhood issues and events.

Get more involved in your community by joining your Registered Neighborhood Organization (RNO). Below are a list of Council District 5 community organizations. You can also find out which RNO you belong to by and entering your address or selecting a location on the map.