What is a General Development Plan (GDP)?
General Development Plans are provided for large, complex or phased development projects in mixed-use zone districts. They are intended to anticipate a development program and the necessary infrastructure systems (road network, drainage, parks and open space, utilities) that will support the conceptual development. GDPs bridge the gap between comprehensive planning and site development plans by looking at proposed development at a scale more specific than area plans or Blueprint Denver, but more generally than a building or building group.
What triggers the requirements for a General Development Plan? Is there a minimum size?
General Development Plans are required for any development in the T-MU-30 zone district. The minimum size for a T-MU-30 zone district is 12 acres. GDPs are also required in C-MU, R-MU or OS-1 zone districts if the proposed development establishes or changes the arterial and collector street grid; or if the proposed development establishes or changes a water drainage course; or if the proposed development aggregates open space into a public amenity instead of providing it on individual zone lots. There are no minimum size requirements for General Development Plans. However, the GDP is intended to address infrastructure systems at a large scale, not individual buildings or building groups. It would not apply to single zone lots or small developments where infrastructure is already in place.
Can GDPs be prepared for areas that are not zoned mixed-use? Can GDPs be used to determine the appropriate zoning for an area?
The proposed rules and regulations are written for areas already zoned to one or more mixed-use districts, to implement the requirements of those zone districts. However, nothing prohibits the use of the GDP system as a tool for creating a coordinated development plan in other areas. Denver
will continue to evaluate the need for applying the GDP system to other areas and may recommend changes in the future.
What is the role of the public in General Development Plans?
Public participation is important in establishing the overall concepts for the development, including the desired character, connections to surrounding areas and compatibility with adjacent neighborhoods. The public should not be involved in technical review or engineering.
The proposed GDP procedures expand the public participation and notice, including:
- Evidence of conceptual meetings with affected stakeholders is required at the time of application. This is happening informally for most large developments, but will be made an official requirement for GDPs.
- A public presentation of the GDP application has been added to the review procedure. An official public meeting will be held to present the substance of the proposed GDP and a public comment period has been added. The Planning Board will continue to hold a public hearing for GDP applications in the T-MU-30 zone district.
- The list of stakeholders receiving notice has been expanded to include Denver Public Schools, the City Council at-large members, adjacent property owners, any special districts in the area, adjacent jurisdictions and the applicant. This is in addition to the current list, which includes other property owners within the boundary, the City Council district representative and Registered Neighborhood Organizations.
What are the goals of the GDP ordinances and regulations?
- To develop a clear statement of purpose and intent for General Development Plans;
- To develop clear, efficient and accountable procedures for the application, review and approval of GDPs;
- To define the timing and type of public participation and notice;
- To develop effective and appropriate standards for the review of GDPs, consistent with the policy goals of Blueprint Denver and Comprehensive Plan 2000;
- To consolidate the procedures and standards of all review agencies into one comprehensive document.
What is the result if the review phases do not meet the established timeframes and deadlines?
The timeframes are a critical element in providing a predictable process for the applicant, the City and the public. In recognition of the complex nature of General Development Plans, the regulations do not provide for either automatic approval or automatic denial on the basis of missed deadlines. Timeframes are maximums and phases may be completed earlier. The timeframes may also be extended with the agreement of the parties. Every effort will be made to keep a project moving in a timely manner. In the event that an applicant believes that the City is not meeting its regulatory obligations, the applicant may take the matter to district court to force compliance.
What policies provide the basis of the GDP standards?
- Guide the future growth and development of those portions of the city identified for development in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan, including Blueprint Denver, Game Plan and applicable small area and citywide plans.
- Protect the natural, social and economic character of the city by encouraging orderly development that assures appropriate timing and sequencing.
- Ensure that public facilities and services are available concurrent with development and will have a sufficient capacity to serve the proposed development.
How are General Development Plans related to other plans, ordinances and regulations?
GDPs bridge the gap between zone map amendments and site development plans. They interpret the broad goals and principles of small area plans and set the framework for site plans (known as “development plans” in the mixed use zone districts). GDPs focus on infrastructure systems and conceptual land uses and not on buildings.