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Incentive Height and Design Overlays for River North / 38th & Blake Station Area

As part of ongoing efforts to implement the 38th & Blake Station Area Plan Amendments, City Council President Albus Brooks proposed an Incentive Height Overlay for the 38th and Blake Station area and a Design Overlay for the station area and surrounding River North Arts District (RiNo).

The intention of the overlays is to help direct growth into areas of the city that are best equipped to handle change, while also ensuring that those areas become great places. The overlays capture a portion of the increased property values that result from significant public investments, such as the train station, and use them to ensure that new development benefits the community. They will be implemented through Denver Zoning Code text and map amendments. The text amendment will create the overlays, a map amendment will establish where the overlays apply, and a second map amendment will rezone certain properties to achieve the appropriate base zoning for the height incentive overlay to be applied properly.

Legislative Process for Zoning Code Text & Map Amendments

The public legislative process for the proposed text and map amendments to implement both the River North Design Overlay and 38th and Blake Incentive Overlay is scheduled to begin with Planning Board public hearing December 6 (details at right). If approved by Planning Board, the amendments would move to City Council for consideration and potential review and adoption by the full council in early February, 2018. 

Proposed Denver Zoning Code text and map amendments:

Rezoning of Base Zone Districts

Updated 12/4

To use the Incentive Height Overlay, properties must be mapped to a non-customized Denver Zoning Code zone district with a maximum height in building stories (i.e., I-MX-5 or C-MX-8). City Council President Albus Brooks has proposed a legislative map amendment to rezone some properties not currently mapped with a qualifying district to allow use of the Incentive Height Overlay. This map (PDF) illustrates the proposal for legislative rezoning. 

Please contact Senior City Planner Andrew Webb if you have questions or concerns.

River North Design Overlay

The 38th and Blake Station Area Plan Amendment process indicated a community desire for design regulations to encourage creativity and ensure the area remains a welcoming place for artists, residents, and businesses. A concurrent RiNo Art District request for a Denver Zoning Code design overlay district expressed similar desires for the wider RiNo district. 

The proposed River North Design Overlay District would implement plan amendment recommendations and the RiNo Art District overlay request by establishing regulations to achieve a vibrant pedestrian realm with building and site design that emphasizes walkability and access to daylight, minimizes the impact of parking and integrates appropriately with existing buildings in RiNo and portions of the 38th and Blake Station area that are just outside the district. The Design Overlay District will include regulations for building setbacks, parking location and access, massing (the shape and form of a building as perceived by a viewer at street level), street-level active uses, pedestrian access and transparency. 

38th & Blake Incentive Height Overlay

The 38th and Blake Station Area Plan Amendment process indicated community support for taller building heights with development that provides community benefits. The proposed 38th and Blake Incentive Height Overlay District would implement those recommendations by allowing a building to exceed the maximum height specified in the underlying zone district if the building provides specific benefits, such as affordable housing units in the area around the station, increased payments to the city’s Affordable Housing Fund, or community-serving uses. Specific requirements would vary depending on the uses in the building: 

  • Residential Uses: Development using the incentive would be required to build affordable housing within the station area (no fee option)
  • Non-Residential Uses: Development using the incentive would have an option to build affordable housing units within the station area, pay increased affordable housing fees or pay the city's standard affordable housing fee and provide community-serving uses (such as artist studios or maker spaces)

Affordable housing unit and fee requirements would be based on multiples of the formulas included in the Affordable Housing Fee ordinance adopted in 2016 (Chapter 27, Article 5 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code). Increased requirements would apply only to the square footage of the building above the maximum height set in the underlying zone district.

Stakeholder meeting
5:30 p.m., Thursday, July 6
Agenda (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)

Planning Board Information Item
3 p.m., July 19
Presentation (PDF)

City Council Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Information Item
10:30 a.m., August 8
Presentation (PDF)

INC Zoning and Planning Committee Presentation
9:30 a.m., August 26
Presentation (PDF)

Feasibility Results Meeting
12:30 p.m., October 12 
Feasibility study (PDF)

Proposed Legislative Base Rezoning Meeting for Property Owners
2 p.m., September 12
Presentation (PDF)

Public Meeting
6 p.m., Wednesday November 8
Presentation (PDF)
Open House Boards (PDF)
Comments Worksheet (PDF)

Drop-in Office Hours

> Tuesday, November 14
9 to 11 a.m.
Wellington Webb Building
Room 2I5 (Check-in at Records Desk, 2nd Floor)

> Thursday, November 16
9 to 11 a.m.
RiNo Art District Offices
2901 Blake Street

> Monday, November 20
2 to 4 p.m.
RiNo Art District Offices
2901 Blake Street

Planning Board Information Item
3 p.m., Wednesday November 15
City and County Building, 1437 Bannock Street
Parr-Widener Community Room (#389)
Staff report (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)

Incentive Overlay Feasibility Evaluation Follow Up Meeting
3:15-4:15 p.m., November 30
Wellington Webb Building, Room 4I5
Agenda (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)

Planning Board Public Hearing on Text and Map Amendments
3 p.m., December 6, 2017
City and County Building, 1437 Bannock Street
Parr-Widener Community Room (#389)
Staff Report (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)
 

 

Stay Connected

Abe Barge
Principal City Planner
abe.barge@denvergov.org

Andrew Webb
Senior City Planner
andrew.webb@denvergov.org

 


Upcoming Meetings

City Council Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
10:30 a.m., Tuesday, January 2
City and County Building, 1437 Bannock Street
Council Committee Room (#391)

Proposed Zoning Overlay Boundaries

Click image for full size map. 

What is an overlay?

Overlay zone districts are adopted to supplement otherwise generally applicable zone district standards with additional design standards, allowances or other special requirements.