West Area Plan

Plan Implementation

After three years of work by residents, business owners and community leaders, along with city staff, the Denver City Council voted to adopt the West Area Plan at its meeting Tuesday, March 28, 2023. The plan breaks new ground as it lays out a vision to guide growth and city decision-making over the next two decades, while helping residents and local businesses stay in their neighborhoods.

Legislative Rezoning 

Following the plan's adoption, city planners have started the work of bringing the vision for the West Area to life through a city-sponsored legislative rezoning. The purpose of the rezoning is to put the plan's land use guidance into place in key areas where current rules do not align with the goals community members identified during the planning process. The areas being considered for rezoning are downtown Barnum and the Mulroy Center. In addition, property owners in local centers and corridors and whose properties are governed by Former Chapter 59 (the city's old zoning code) are invited to opt into the rezoning.   

The intent of this implementation project is to ensure future development in these areas is consistent with the community's vision for equitable development that prioritizes pedestrian safety, makes room for community-servicing businesses and takes advantage of existing transit options. 

Plan Recommendations

  • Development that enhances the pedestrian experience and is compatible with surrounding areas
  • Active commercial uses along the ground floor along main street areas
  • Higher-intensity uses along corridors and near high-capacity transit centers

In addition, implementation through rezoning would lay the groundwork for better urban design, predictable development, and similar levels of entitlement. 

Rezoning Proposal

  • Downtown Barnum: commercial properties along 1st Avenue between Meade and Knox:
    • Rezone from a two-story mixed-use district (E-MX-2) and a single-unit ADU district (E-SU-D1x) to a three-story main street district with an overlay that promotes pedestrian activity (E-MS-3, DO-8) to foster active ground-floor commercial uses.
  • Denver Housing Authority’s Mulroy Center:
    • Rezone from five-story multi-unit districts, with area that also include a historic use overlay (G-MU-5, UO-3), to an eight-story mixed-use district (C-MX-8)
    • Rezone to allow for increased height and commercial uses to support the implementation of the Denver Housing Authority’s Westridge Homes Master Plan
  • Habitat for Humanity Properties in Villa Park (1076 & 1077 N. Meade St.):
    • Rezone from a single-unit ADU district (E-SU-D1x) to a two-unit district (U-TU-C)
    • This would allow for more affordable housing opportunities

Next Steps

The Denver Planning Board will review the rezoning proposal at a public hearing Wednesday, May 1. Additional information on how to participate in the hearing will be available closer to the date. 

See application and schedule for legislative review


The People's Budget in West Denver

Learn more about how to support plan priorities through Denver's participatory budgeting program. 

The People's Budget

Plan Documents

West Area Plan and Appendices

Overview of the vision for the West Area

The draft plan presents a vision for the West Area that:

  • reflects the community’s priorities and address its concerns
  • honors the history and diversity of the West Area
  • recommends strategies to address challenges identified by residents and stakeholders through the planning process
  • guides growth in a way that aligns with and balances city and neighborhood goals

 

What the Plan Will Do: Community Priorities Addressed by Plan Recommendations

  • Help residents and local businesses stay in their neighborhoods.
  • Make it easier for residents to access healthy food.
  • Improve transportation options and street safety so locals can get around easily and comfortably no matter how they travel.
  • Support the culture and diversity of West Area neighborhoods.

Key recommendations

Quality of life

  • Quality of Life is the backbone of the plan and driving force of the other content
  • First ever section devoted to water
  • Expansive content on healthy food access and production
  • Environmental justice emphasized in multiple subsections
  • Celebrating and building community around the diverse cultures of West

Economy and Housing

  • Recommendations focus on helping residents and local businesses stay in their neighborhoods.
  • The Housing section focuses on affordable housing, missing middle, and support for unhoused community members
  • Economic Vitality highlights ways to support local business staying in place, new businesses, and workforce development

Mobility

  • Improving transportation options and street safety so locals can get around easily and comfortably no matter how they travel.
  • Improving Connectivity
  • Mobility is focused on alternatives to transportation by personal automobile
  • Balanced corridors are a key priority

Land Use and Built Form

  • Provides key guidance for West’s growth strategy, including the future places map, height map, and more
  • Provides design guidance for various uses and contexts, focusing on growth that is consistent with neighborhood character

Innovations in the plan

  • centers quality of life issues, including food access 
  • provides an in depth understanding of the history of West Area neighborhoods and the impact of harmful policies like redlining
  • provides a clear path for the city and community partners to begin to bring this vision to life through thoughtful implementation of plan recommendations 
  • strengthens equity:
    • first ever section in an NPI plan about past planning inequities
    • Historic timeline tells the community’s story
  • addresses document complexity
    • plan navigation improved with recommendation summaries added to each main section of plan

How community input shaped the plan

Download an overview of our intentional community engagement(PDF, 261KB)

Feedback themes What the plan reflects

Quality of Life

  • Quality of life section as the foundation
  • Environmental justice
  • Community space to grow food
  • Park safety
  • Homelessness and drug use
  • Affordable daycare
  • Translation assistance
  • Rec Centers and outside courts

Reflected in and guided at least 5 of the recommendations for quality of life including:

  • Q20: Expand local food production, urban farming, food processing and manufacturing to serve the needs of West Denver residents.
  • Q22: Increase community safety and security though energy efficient street lighting for increased safety and comfort. Prioritize gathering spaces, parks and open space, trails, transit facilities, etc.

Mobility

  • Pedestrian and cyclist safety
  • Better connections to bus, trains, etc.
  • Support with transportation for youth and elderly to and from activities.
  • Easy access to alternate forms of transportation
  • Support wheelchair access along paths and routes, especially during winter
  • Sidewalk maintenance and connectivity

Reflected in and guided at least 9 of the recommendations around mobility including:

  • M2: Install safety Improvements to improve, repair or complete existing crossings.
  • M10: Establish new balanced corridor connections that improve local connectivity, increase user comfort and overall safety.

Housing

  • Options for affordability
  • Too expensive for average family
  • Growing too fast
  • Need houses that fit the neighborhood
  • A wide variety of comments related to either increasing or maintaining the density and height allowances in West

Reflected in and guided at least 10 of the recommendations around housing including:

  • L4: Ensure compatible redevelopment and/or repurposing of sites within neighborhoods.
  • L5: Expand mixing middle housing within residential areas

Business and Economy

  • Incentives for local businesses to stay and get new customers
  • Healthy stores that are closer or connected to residents in need
  • Opportunities for business development
  • Increase in local jobs
  • Mixed-use development

Reflected in and guided at least 4 of the recommendations around business, jobs and neighborhood economics including:

  • E7: Strengthen the economic vitality of corridors to create opportunities for small-business development to stabilize small businesses at risk of involuntary displacement and provide community-serving retail.
  • E10: Stabilize residents at risk of involuntary displacement.

 

Planning Process

Understand the Area

What the planning team worked on
  • Existing conditions research 
  • Convening community steering committee (member listing available on this page under West Area Team)
  • Used multiple channels to get word out about plan launch
    • Project website and email list
    • Social media
    • Traditional media outreach
  • Went into the community to distribute flier to get the word out about the plan
    • Eagleton Elementary
    • Barnum Elementary
    • Newlon Elementary
    • Colfax Elementary
    • Cheltenham Elementary
    • Cowell Elementary
    • Fairview Elementary
    • Lake International Middle School
    • STRIVE Prep Lake Middle School
  • Hosted meetings and attended community events to share information and collect input   
  • Conducted intentional engagement to specific communities in the West Area:
    • Latino/Latina/Latinx communities
    • Vietnamese and Asian communities
    • Jewish community
    • Youth, in partnership with Denver Public Schools
What we asked the community 
  • What do you like or dislike about your neighborhood?
  • Where are the opportunities?
  • What are the areas of concern?
  • What do you want to see for the future of your neighborhood?
  • How do you want to get involved in the planning process?
How the public participated 
  • 560 people joined the email list (through March 2020)
  • 220 people attended two Phase 1 public meetings
  • 762 people took kickoff survey
  • Took Villa Park and West Colfax NTMP mobility survey
  • Talked with planners at 12 events in the community 
  • The steering committee held 8 meetings 
  • 92 people attended 4 topic specific focus group work sessions
  • Participated in 3 Facebook live events hosted by Council District 1
Results and resources 

Define the Issues and Develop Initial Recommendations

What the planning team worked on
  • Reviewing and analyzing community input from Phase 1 to identify themes and opportunities   
  • Reviewing Phase 1 community engagement and conducting proactive outreach to address gaps 
  • Working with area schools on youth-focused outreach
  • Working with local partners on addressing the issue of involuntary displacement in West Denver 
  • Continuing to work community steering committee
  • Continuing to collect input from community members  
What we asked the community 
  • How do you want to stay involved in the planning process?
  • What do you think about these guiding principles and opportunities? 
How the public participated 
  • 332 people joined email list 
  • 161 took land use opportunities survey
  • 108 took mobility opportunities survey
  • 109 took economy opportunities survey
  • 117 took quality of life opportunities survey 
  • 350 participants took the youth survey
  • 170 people participated in the Understanding Displacement webinar
  • Talked with planners at 9 community events and 10 office hours sessions  
  • Steering committee held 11 meetings 
Results and resources 

Refine Recommendations

What the planning team worked on

  • Collected feedback from community members on draft recommendations
  • Reviewed and analyzed that feedback
  • Continued to work with community steering committee
  • Conducted intentional engagement with key partners:
    • Colorado Jobs for Justice
    • Denver Food Project & Casa de Rosal
    • Valverde Movement Project & Columbine Denver Housing Authority
    • Valverde Parent Teacher Leadership Team
    • Sun Valley Kitchen and Denver Housing Authority residents
    • Barnum West Community Co-Op at 1st
    • Congregation Zera Abraham
    • Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council
    • Food in Communities Regional Initiative
    • West Colfax Business Improvement District

What we asked the community

  • How do you feel about these draft policies?
  • Do they reflect what your priorities?
  • Do they reflect what you have told us about your area?
  • Are the recommendations on the right track?

How the public participated

  • 304 people joined email list
  • 237 took survey on draft recommendations
  • Talked with planners at 10 community events and 12 office hours sessions
  • Observed steering committee meetings

Results and resources

 

Community Review of Draft Plan

What the planning team worked on

  • Collected public input on the draft plan
  • Continued to work with the community steering committee
  • Continued to work with local community organizations to reach under represented populations
  • Continued to spread the word about the planning process

What we asked the community

  • Does the plan reflect your vision for the future of your neighborhood?
  • Do you support the vision in the plan?

How the public participated

  • Read and commented on the plan
    • Draft 1:
      • 4178 page views
      • 368 comments
    • Draft 2:
      • 2034 page views
      • 559 comments
  • 42 attended the community workshop
  • Submitted comments through comment form
  • Talked with planners at community 9 events and 13 office hours

Results and resources

Resources provided by the Steering Committee to aid in the review of the draft plan

Legislative Review and Adoption Process

What the planning team worked on

  • Continuing to collect public input on the draft plan
  • Preparing presentations to Planning Board and City Council

What we asked the community

  • Does the plan reflect your vision for the future of your neighborhood?
  • Do you support the vision in the plan?

How the public participated

  • Attended public hearings held by Planning Board and City Council
  • Submitted written testimony

Legislative process

  • Planning Board Public Hearing - Plan was approved 
    Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.F.6,201 W. Colfax Ave.
    2/15/2023
  • Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Meeting - Plan was advanced to the full City Council
    City and County Building, 1437 Bannock St.
    2/28/2023 
  • City Council Public Hearing - Plan was adopted unanimously
    City and County Building, 1437 Bannock St.
    3/28/2023

Steering Committee

  • Jon Koneman, Barnum
  • Kaye Kavanagh, Barnum
  • Bree Davies, Barnum
  • RB Fast, Barnum West
  • Chala Mohr, Barnum West
  • Crystal Reed, Barnum West
  • Jeanne Granville, Sun Valley
  • Tamil Maldonado, Sun Valley
  • Lisa Saenz, Sun Valley
  • Maureen McCanna, Valverde
  • Dannie Dilonno, Valverde
  • Brien Darby, Valverde
  • Sean Brady, Villa Park
  • Jaime Aguilar, Villa Park
  • Korey Whitaker, Villa Park
  • Jessica Dominguez, West Colfax
  • Rabbi Tzvi Steinberg/Ephraim A. Bulow, West Colfax
  • Dan Shah, Small Business Retention and Development
  • Veronica Barela, Affordable Housing Development Expert
  • Adriana Peña, DPS Latinx Community Outreach Specialist