Dear Neighbors, 

Tonight City Council passed two bills that will affect housing affordability in our City: bill 22-0424 which amended the Denver Zoning Code; and bill 22-0426 which amended the Denver Revised Municipal Code. Together, this legislation will help increase the number of available Affordable units in our city.

Under the new inclusionary zoning laws, developers in Denver will be required to build Affordable units into their new developments, or pay a significantly higher linkage fee which Denver's Department of Housing Stability will use to fund Affordable housing developments. Not only will this increase the number of deed-restricted Affordable units built, it also helps to incentivize adaptive reuse instead of the scrapes that we see throughout our neighborhoods. We have added a valuable tool to combat gentrification and displacement in Denver.

I voted yes on these bills because people in District 5 have said, and I agree, that housing affordability is a critical issue for Denver. In our 2021 Annual District 5 Resident Survey, Housing affordability was identified as the the third most important priority for our residents, behind Crime and Safety and Traffic. I've included some graphics below that illustrate the results from our survey.

My office has received a number of emails from residents voicing concerns about Councilwoman Sandoval's amendment to the legislation, which eliminates parking requirements along planned transit corridors like East Colfax. I hear you and I agree. I proposed an amendment to the legislation that would have allowed for reductions in parking that aligned with current requirements granted to Affordable housing developers (10%) instead of exemptions. Unfortunately, this amendment did not receive the support of seven members of Council.

Although I am disappointed with the outcome of my parking exemption amendment, I voted yes on these bills because adding this tool to combat gentrification and displacement is simply too important to vote against. The need in our city is too great. No legislation is perfect, nor will a single piece of legislation solve all of the challenges we face as a city. But this is an important step in addressing Denver's housing crisis.

Additionally, I want to be very clear that the City will exempt parking requirements on these corridors only when a capital investment in the transit corridor occurs, only in limited zone districts, and only if developers build more than the required number of affordable units into their development. I have also spoken to several bankers about the parking issue, and they have confirmed that investing in a project that does not offer at least some on-site parking is a non-starter for them. So it appears that, for now, the market will continue to require parking as a condition of financing.

Thank you to everyone who participated in these conversations over the last two years, came to testify, and to all those who emailed us with your thoughts. I truly appreciate your feedback. It has made for well-balanced legislation that will make Denver a better place to live. Please don't hesitate to reach out to our office with any follow up questions or concerns.


Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer

District 5

2021 Annual Survey Top D5 Resident Priorities

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