Denver District 5 | September 2020
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, 

District 5 residents are among the most civically involved and vocal residents of Denver. Thank you for making your voices heard during this incredibly important time in our community. We would truly appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete our second annual resident survey by clicking here. The questions are the same as the ones we asked last year - with the exception of our COVID question. This survey is one important way we can track District 5 resident feedback over time to ensure that we are meeting your needs and advocating for the things you care about in our community, and we truly appreciate your participation.

Budget season begins tomorrow and 2021 is going to be a very difficult fiscal year for Denver. Many of you have already noticed a reduction in some city services like the removal of the garbage cans along the 6th Avenue Parkway. Our office has advocated (loudly!) for the return of those services; however, Denver is in a $228 million economic shortfall in 2020 and all City agencies have been asked to slash their budgets for both 2020 and 2021. That means that unfortunately, this reduction in services is with us for the foreseeable future. As a community, we have two choices: we can lament the loss of trash cans and refuse to adjust our habits in recognition of these difficult times, or we can be grateful that we have access to such beautiful land in the middle of our city and come together to maintain this space as a community until our City is back to its solid financial footing. I hope you will join me in choosing the second option. We have also been asking volunteer groups to help by adopting the Parkway and helping us keep it clean by picking up trash.

Our staff looks forward to continuing to serve you and carrying the voices of District 5 into city government. Please don't hesitate to reach out to our office with questions, comments or feedback. I wish you and yours health and safety during this time.

Gratefully,

Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer 
Denver City Councilwoman, 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 contact the office at denvercouncil5@denvergov.org or 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.

  • Friday, September 25, 10:00am - noon
  • Thursday, October 1, 11:00am - 1:00pm
  • Thursday, October 8, 11:00am - 1:00pm
  • Thursday, October 15, 11:00am - 1:00pm
We Want to Hear From You!
Councilwoman Sawyer's second year in office is well underway and our office continues to prioritize ways to bring the voices of our neighborhoods into city government. The coming weeks and months will bring numerous opportunities to represent the District 5 community. Help us shape CM Sawyer's representation of District 5 residents by sharing your opinions about several issues currently happening in Denver. Thank you in advance for your time and responses!

Click on each of the links below to take the survey, and to learn more about the specific issue:
Questions About the Small Scale Target at Boulevard One
Our office has been contacted by many residents with questions about the Target store that is planned for the Exchange at Boulevard One. This property was zoned commercial prior to Councilwoman Sawyer coming into office, and the zoning in place for the Exchange allows for the small format commercial use. Once a property is zoned for commercial use, City Council has no authority over which businesses are leased space by private property owners. Regardless, in response to concerns about increased traffic in the area, our office has reached out to a non-profit mobility hub provider to see if there is any way to work with the developer to provide better transportation options in the area to help mitigate the traffic.

According to the Boulevard One developer: "This location was marketed to multiple anchor users, including grocers and general merchandisers. Finding a strong anchor was critical for the viability of the Exchange and was especially difficult with the economic pressure COVID has put on retailers. With Target as the needed strong anchor, the Exchange will be able to attract the desirable mix of restaurants, retail stores and office uses that create a distinctive place. The new Target store format is a different experience than larger stores, more customized to the needs of local neighborhoods. The small format Target does not preclude also having a specialty grocer. In fact, the developer of the Exchange is currently negotiating a lease with a locally based specialty grocer, which we hope to announce in the fall." They go on to say, "The surface and underground parking provided by the development exceeds the demands for all the proposed tenants on the site and also exceed City requirements."

On July 7, about 70 residents attended an open house for the Boulevard One community which included presentations by the developer related to the Exchange in general and the Target in particular. This group also presented to the Lowry United Neighbors board of directors meeting on August 3. Lastly, Boulevard One shared information via email to area neighborhoods and interested parties in early August. Our office discovered this information via social media and has no direct information from the Boulevard One developer.
9th Ave Lane Realignment Planned for Thursday, September 17
A one-day realignment of travel lanes is expected to happen on Thursday, September 17 on 9th Avenue in the 9+CO development to allow for the installation of grease traps for the two restaurants currently under construction on Block 8. In order to safely install the grease traps, developer Continuum Partners says a crane will be set on the north half of 9th Avenue, essentially in the westbound travel lane. The plan is to close the parking lane on the south side of 9th Avenue and shift the travel lanes south in order to maintain a single lane of travel both eastbound and westbound. 
1st Avenue Gateway Rezoning Application
The City of Denver has received an application for a zoning change for addresses that border District 5 for a proposed development tentatively titled 1st Avenue Gateway. The addresses for the proposed zoning are 55, 65, 101 S. Colorado Blvd; 51, 97 & 101 N. Colorado Blvd. and 98 Harrison St. Currently, the developer, Doug McKinnon, has a project in District 5 at 30-50 S. Colorado Blvd.

The application for the Official Map Amendment and the City’s map amendment process may be viewed by clicking here. Look for the location address as you scroll the page.

City Council's Public Hearing on this proposed rezoning will happen on Monday, September 28, 2020 and includes time for the public to provide feedback. See the "Opportunities for Public Comment" section further down in this newsletter for guidelines and instructions about how to sign up. If you have questions about this rezoning, email Courtney Levingston, Senior City Planner.
LCMA Board Amends Yard Sign Rule Changes
Effective September 3, 2020, the Lowry Community Master Association Board of Directors amended their community signage policy in an effort "to help our community express support for issues they endorse," the LCMA said. The LCMA goes on to says they "will continue to seek input from the community if future modifications to Lowry’s signage policy are needed."

Amended Lowry Yard Sign Rules:
  • Each unit may have two yard signs
  • Each unit may also have one yard sign per candidate and/or ballot issue per election cycle, for a maximum of 45 days before any primary election through 7 days after the general election or the completion of a runoff election.

Quebec Street Water Main Replacement Set to Begin in October
The upcoming Water Main Replacement Project on Quebec Street from 8th to 11th Avenues (map below) will begin in mid- to late October and last approximately two months, depending on weather and other unknowns that may come up. This is a later date than was originally announced. Project scope includes replacing ~1,300 feet of water main, as well as about 40 customer-owned lead service lines with copper, working south to north.

Denver Water’s contractor, BT Construction, will communicate directly with impacted businesses and residents. Any customer-owned lead service lines encountered during the water main replacement will be replaced at no direct cost to the customer. Parking and street travel are expected to be impacted. Denver Water says the intent is to maintain two-way traffic on Quebec and to not have full closures or detours. Northbound traffic may be shifted to the center lane, or it may be reduced to one-way with flagging during the actual pipe placement.

Click here for more information and FAQs on what to expect during a water main replacement. Call Denver Water Customer Care at 303-893-2444 with general water questions. Call BT Construction at 303-495-6204 directly with questions about this project.

Once the project begins, Denver Water has offered to provide our office with weekly updates and we will pass along notable information via District 5 social media channels and newsletter updates.
Neighborhood Planning Initiative Coming To Near Southeast Area, Including Washington/Virginia Vale and Winston Downs
Neighborhood plans are documents that take the visions of Denver’s Comprehensive Plan and Blueprint Denver – our guiding land use and transportation documents – and apply them to individual communities as a tool to guide future development. Washington/Virginia Vale and Winston Downs - as well as Virginia Village to the south, Indian Creek to the east, and the Goldsmith neighborhood to the south, comprise the near Southeast area and are among the next planning areas addressed by the Neighborhood Planning Initiative (NPI).

The Phase One NPI planning effort addressing the West, East and East Central areas is wrapping up, with Phase Two - focusing on the West, Near Northwest and Near Southeast planning areas – set to kick off in early 2021. If Phase One is a guide, we can expect the Near Southeast effort to take 18 - 24 months to complete. The bulk of the covered area is in Council District 6, but also includes parts of District 5 to the north and District 4 to the south. The project will be guided by a steering committee comprised of city staff, City Council representatives, project consultants, and residents from the affected neighborhoods. Public input is absolutely critical to creation of a plan that reflects community goals and values. COVID-19 pandemic may require the project to begin with virtual/on-line meetings.

Click here for additional information on the Neighborhood Planning Initiative. Our office will share updates as they become available.
Complete the Census by September 30: Your Response Matters
Everyone living in the U.S. – regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, or immigration status – are valuable parts of our community who need to be counted in the 2020 Census. Completing your Census response is a Legal Requirement - mandated by the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 2) since 1790 and occurs every 10 years.Census takers are out visiting households until September 30 and your data is always 100% safe and secure. 

Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year, and can shape many aspects of our community - health clinics, fire departments, schools, even roads and highways. The results also determine how many seats in Congress each state gets and this year's data will likely help Colorado gain an additional seat in the House of Representatives, giving our state more influence and a stronger voice, nationally. Click here to complete your Census response today!
Free Employment Workshops & Virtual Hiring Events
Denver Workforce Services is rolling out more than a dozen virtual events to mark National Workforce Development Month throughout September.
 
These pandemic-expanded, free programs feature virtual workshops on social media job seeker tips, programs for workers age 50+, tips on shifting careers, help exploring new industries, guidance for job seekers in transition from the justice system, and managing stress, among other topics.

Click here for the full calendar. For more information for job seekers and employers, click here. If you have questions, call 720-337-WORK to reach the Denver public workforce system information line - answered live during business hours, or send an email.
DOTI Resumes Additional Parking Enforcement Activities
On Tuesday, September 8, Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) resumed additional parking enforcement activities that were suspended last March due to COVID-19. This includes:

  • Enforcement of license plate/vehicle registration tags. Renewals can be made online and at DMV offices.
  • Booting. Residents are urged to take care of unpaid parking tickets and can do so online - click here. Vehicle owners with three unpaid, overdue parking citations may have their car booted.
  • With school back in session, DOTI will enforce ticketing in school bus loading zones.
 
DOTI resumed its enforcement of posted parking restrictions for street sweeping in July. Click here to sign up for street sweeping reminders. In June, downtown-area parking meters became operational again between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.; parking meters outside downtown became operational at the price and time limits posted on the meters. Enforcement of time-limited, non-metered parking spaces and residential parking programs also resumed in June.
 
The following enforcement activities continue to be suspended until further notice:
  • Enforcement of parking meters downtown overnight from 10:00pm – 6:00am
  • Until further notice, residents can park trucks and other vehicles more than 22’ in length on the street in non-residential areas.
  • DOTI will refrain from issuing citations to people whose cars need to be towed for street paving operations until the 2021 paving season. For now, please make every attempt to move your car so that this work can occur. Cars left on the street when work begins will be moved, normally within a two-block radius of where the car was parked. Residents who need help locating their cars can call the city’s non-emergency line at 720-913-2000 for assistance.

Cashiering services at the Wellington E. Webb Building are closed due to COVID-19.
  • To request residential parking permits or to pay parking citations online, click here.
  • For parking permit questions, call 720-913-5365
  • For citation questions, call 1-866-280-9988

In order to practice social distancing and help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, the Parking Magistrate’s Office is only working remotely to assist with parking citation disputes
  • Click here to dispute a parking ticket on line.
  • Call the Parking Magistrate at 1-866-280-9988, Monday-Friday between 8:00am - 4:30pm with further questions.
You May Qualify for Temporary Mortgage Assistance
City Council recently approved additional funding to the housing assistance fund for mortgages through the Colorado Housing Assistance Corporation. In District 5, one family has been assisted with a temporary mortgage assistance grant, and there are still funds available for others.


If you meet these minimum qualification requirements, you may be eligible to receive assistance with making your mortgage payments:
  • You own a home in the City and County of Denver.
  • You live in that home as your primary residence.
  • You are facing a financial hardship affecting your ability to pay your mortgage, due to the impacts of the Coronavirus public health emergency.
  • Low to moderate income limits will apply

For additional details about this program and an application to fill out and submit, please click here to send an email with your name, address, phone #, and e-mail address as well as the best way to reach you.
Current City of Denver Public Comment Opportunities
If you are interested in making a public comment during a hearing, please click here for guidelines and FAQs, and click here to sign up. 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 at 1055 Locust St. was filed on July 8th. There is no further information or staff report available at this time.
  • An ADU at 1112 Verbena Street was filed on August 28th.There is no further information or staff report available at this time.

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

Upcoming City Council Hearings
September 21
  • 900 E. 1st Ave.
  • 1332 22nd Ave.
September 28
  • 28 S. Garfield St.
  •  55, 65, 101 S. Colorado Blvd. and 98 Harrison
  •  50. S. Kalamath, 101 S. Santa Fe, and 10 S. Lipan St.
October 5
  • East Central Plan
Upcoming Events - Virtual and In-Person
CRUSH Walls Outdoor Art Event Returns for 11th Year

Monday, September 14 - Sunday, September 20 in RiNo streets and alleyways.

CRUSH is an annual celebration that transforms the RiNo Art District into an open-air art gallery. The CRUSH Walls event prioritizes public health and safety and will be following state and local guidelines to ensure that the event is safe for staff, attendees, and the surrounding community. Learn more about this year's CRUSH artists.

International School of Denver Virtual Town Hall to Discuss Building Expansion

Thursday, September 17
2:30pm - 3:30pm

Join this virtual presentation to hear from ISD Leadership, Venture Architecture and Fransen Pittman Builders.

Meeting ID: 959 0385 9380
Passcode: 895462 
Supernova Digital Animation Festival
Silent Screen Walking Tour

Saturday, September 19
Noon – 8:00pm
Denver Theater District
More than 20 international digital artists will have their works displayed on five outdoor LED screens.

Central, East Central & Southeast Elected Officials' Town Hall October Meetings on Zoom and Facebook Live

The September 17 Town Hall is cancelled due to City Budget Season.

For all Town Hall meetings:

Thursday, October 1
3:00pm - 4:00pm
Please note this is an earlier time!
Featured speakers: Denver Public School leaders will discuss the Bond and Mill Levy proposal on the November Ballot.

Thursday, October 15
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Featured speaker: Senator Chris Hansen will present on the Gallagher proposal on the November ballot.

Thursday October 29
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Featured speakers: DEN Airport representatives will present on Great Hall Project update and other projects.
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 community organizations. You can also find out which RNO you belong to by clicking HERE and entering your address or selecting a location on the map.