Colfax Ave Design Overlay-8

Councilmembers Amanda Sawyer, Chris Herndon, Candi CdeBaca and Chris Hinds are considering a rezoning that would change the zoning of parcels (including G-MS-5, G-MS-8, U-MS-3, U-MS-5, E-MS-3, E-MS-5, and some FC59) along Colfax Ave from Sherman St to Yosemite St to a zoning of "Active Centers and Corridors Design Overlay District," known as Design Overlay-8 (DO-8). This proposed legislative rezoning intends to implement adopted plan guidance and neighborhood input. 

According to the Denver Zoning Code, the intent of the DO-8 Zone District is to encourage neighborhood mixed-use areas that support nonresidential active uses at the Street Level, promote active pedestrian-oriented building frontages, and provide sufficient space for transitions between the public realm and private residential dwellings.

To learn more about the rezoning process, check out the Rezoning Page.


Click HERE(JPG, 10MB) to enlarge map below.

Map of parcels facing colfax ave.


Click HERE(JPG, 4MB)  to enlarge map below.

Proposed DO-9 Overlay District Map.


Community Meetings

We held a virtual meeting on January 24, 2023 at 6:00 p.m; please view the recording here. Please note, changes were made to our next meeting based on feedback received during this meeting.



We also held an in-person meeting on January 31, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.; please view the slides that incorporate the feedback from January 24's meeting in the presentation here(PPTX, 4MB).


Consistency with existing plans

Consistency with Denver Comprehensive Plan 2040

  • Equitable, Affordable and Inclusive Goal 1– Ensure all Denver residents have safe, convenient and affordable access to basic services and a variety of amenities.
  • Strong and Authentic Neighborhoods Goal 2, Strategy C – Create people-oriented places that embrace community character with thoughtful transitions, aspirational design and an engaging public realm.
  • Environmentally Resilient Goal 8, Strategy A – Promote infill development where infrastructure and services are already in place.
  • Environmentally Resilient Goal 8, Strategy B – Encourage mixed- use communities where residents can live, work and play in their own neighborhoods

Consistency with Blueprint Denver

  • Pg 184: Aligns with Urban Edge, Urban, General Urban, Urban Center, and Downtown neighborhood contexts
  • Aligns with the Regional Center, Community Corridor, and Community Center contexts
  • Equity: This rezoning will require a certain portion of the ground floor to be commercial uses, which will increase access to centers and corridors for nearby residents and will lead to more jobs along Colfax. 


Consistency with East Central Area Plan

Future Place Type: Regional Center, Community Corridor, Community Center

Zoning and Regulations:

  • Pg 44: Encourage high-quality design and character preservation in Centers and Corridors

Colfax Corridor Recommendations:

  • Pg 257: C-L1 Reduce regulatory barriers to make it easier to build affordable housing, reuse existing buildings, and develop lower-scale buildings on small lots.
  • Pg 261: C-L5 Discourage low utilization of land and auto-oriented uses along Colfax.

Consistency with East Area Plan

Future Place Type: Community Corridor, Community Center

Zoning and Regulations:

  • Pg 41: L7 Encourage high-quality design and neighborhood compatibility in commercial and mixed use areas 

Colfax Corridor Recommendations:

  • Pg 232: C-L4 Discourage low utilization of land and auto-oriented uses near future BRT stations. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a DO-8 do and why? 

 The DO-8 requires nonresidential active uses; this may include office space, retail, or any type of light commercial use for a portion of the building at the ground floor along the street. The goal is to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment.  

What is the process and timeline?

Rezoning is a public process that changes a property's zone district. From the time an application is submitted, rezoning can take four to six months, depending on the complexity of the case, and involves public hearings before the Planning Board and Denver City Council. All rezoning requests will be reviewed and voted upon by City Council. Because the process amends the City’s official zoning map, a rezoning is also referred to as a “map amendment.” For more information, visit CPD’s rezoning page

What is the community engagement process?

The community engagement process began years ago with the creation of area plans (see "Consistency with existing plans" tab for more information). This proposed rezoning intends to deliver on what the community told us they wanted to see along Colfax Ave. Please review our community meeting resources and thank you to those who took our survey which closed on March 1st.

As a nearby resident, how will this affect me?

As stated, the DO-8 would create the opportunity for a more pedestrian-friendly space. Application of the DO-8 would not change parking requirements or allow for additional development that is not currently allowed. The City Assessor’s office notes this rezoning will likely not have an impact on property taxes.

As a property owner, how will this affect me?

Existing structures and development would not have to meet the requirements of the DO-8. However, new construction and additions to the ground floor along the street would have to meet overlay requirements. 

What else exists that is similar in Denver or other peer cities?

The DO-8 is currently applied along Tennyson and portions of Lowell in the Berkeley and Regis neighborhoods. A number of other cities around the country, including New York City, San Francisco, Arlington, VA and Grand Rapids, MI require nonresidential uses at the ground floor along important commercial streets to support an active, pedestrian-oriented environment. 

Why did you pick a 70-foot minimum for lot depth?

DO-8 zoning requires new construction to be set back 2 feet from the primary sidewalk property line (existing zoning has no setback requirement) to expand the pedestrian area and provide space for outdoor dining and projecting utility elements. Properties with less than 70 feet of lot depth are exempt to ensure they are able to accommodate the required setback without interfering with overall development feasibility.  

Why do the area maps identify these specific properties?

These areas are identified as active ground floor uses in the area plans because they are where future Bus Rapid Transit stations are planned.