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Landmark Preservation Ordinance Update 2018-19

Image of two homes in the Curtis Park historic district

For the last year, city planners have been working with a task force to review and recommend updates to the rules that govern the city’s Landmark Preservation program. Starting in March 2018, the task force met monthly to discuss various aspects of the city’s preservation ordinance and make recommendations on how to improve landmark processes, balancing property rights with city and community goals to preserve of Denver’s history, architecture, culture, and neighborhood character. Now, after a year of work, proposed updates to the ordinance are ready for public review.

What's Changing?

Along with small tweaks throughout the ordinance to clarify definitions, streamline processes and provide greater consistency, several major changes are proposed to address specific challenges.

  • To highlight Denver’s diversity and distinct cultural history through its landmarks, we're proposing expanding the criteria for historic designation to include culture and simplifying how potential landmarks can meet the criteria.
  • To address conflicts between property owners and community members due to designations submitted during demolition review, we're updating the process to encourage collaboration by adjusting key deadlines to give all parties additional time to meet and arrive at a potential compromise.
  • To encourage proactive designation by owners, we're exploring incentives to designation, and reducing regulatory barriers once a building is designated. 

Public Review Draft

Along with the changes mentioned above, the following items are also part of the proposed landmark ordinance update and will help streamline and clarify processes.

Lower Downtown Design Review Board

  • Name change to Lower Downtown Design Review Commission
  • Adding 2 at-large members
  • Changing quorum from 4 of 7 for most projects and 5 of 7 for projects in Special Review Districts, to 5 of 9 for most projects and 6 of 9 for projects in Special Review Districts.

Other Notable Changes and Clarifications

  • Noting that the Landmark process is separate and distinct from the zoning power of the city
  • Adding or updating definitions for:
    • “culture”
    • “demolition of a structure for preservation or a structure for a district for preservation”
    • “executive director of CPD”
    • “significance”
    • “temporary sign”
    • “temporary structure”
    • “historic context”
    • “period of significance”
  • Clarifying how the Landmark Preservation Commission determines whether a historic district structure is contributing or non-contributing
  • Updating notification processes and making them consitent 
  • Changing name of “Certificate of Non-Historic Status” to “Certificate of Demolition Eligibility” 
  • Clarifying that the commission does not review temporary structures or signs 
  • Allowing LPC and LDDRB to manage agendas on first-come, first-served basis
  • Limiting demolition approvals to 3 years from date of issuance
  • Clarifying what economic hardship entails, how it is demonstrated, and how determinations of economic hardship are made
  • Adding appeals language for historic preservation tax credits (per state statute)
  • Removing obsolete references 
  • Clarifying the demolition review process for properties in the Lower Downtown Historic District
  • Allowing non-conforming structures in the Lower Downtown Historic District to be reconstructed to match the existing based on Denver Zoning Code requirements
  • Removing public hearing requirements for excess parking in the Lower Downtown Historic District
  • Allowing reissuance of expired Certificates of Appropriateness if no substantial changes have been made to project and relevant design guidelines have not been changed since original issuance, or if active building or zoning permit issued

Join Us: Come learn about the ordinance update at a meeting near you

Now that the Task Force's work reviewing the Landmark Ordinance has concluded, Landmark Preservation staff will be sharing proposed updates with the community over the course of the next month. A series of community meetings and office hours coinciding with National Preservation Month in May will give residents, property owners and neighborhood organizations an opportunity to learn about and share feedback on potential changes. 

A sign language interpreter or CART services will be provided upon request, with three business days’ notice. Contact SignLanguageServices@denvergov.org.

Upcoming Events:

  • Lower Downtown Design Review Board Discussion Item
    8:30 a.m., Thursday, May 2 (following the design review agenda)
    Webb Municipal Building, 201 W. Colfax Ave., Room 4.G.2
  • Landmark Ordinance Community Update 
    5:30 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 14
    Ford-Warren Library, 2825 High Street
  • Landmark Ordinance Community Update 
    10 to 11:30 a.m., Saturday, May 18
    Woodbury Library, 3265 Federal Blvd.
  • Landmark Ordinance Community Update 
    5:30 to 7 p.m., Monday, May 20
    Virginia Village Library, 1500 S. Dahlia Street
  • Landmark Preservation Commission Discussion Item 
    1 p.m., Tuesday, June 4 (following the design review agenda)
    (NOTE - RESCHEDULED FROM MAY 21st MEETING)
    Webb Municipal Building, 201 W. Colfax Ave, Room 4.F.6
  • Community Drop-In Office Hours
    3 to 5 p.m., Thursday, June 6
    Blair-Caldwell Library, 2401 Welton Street

About the Landmark Ordinance

Denver Landmark Preservation was created by the Denver City Council through the adoption of Denver's landmark preservation ordinance (Chapter 30 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code) in 1967 to foster the protection, enhancement, perpetuation, and use of structures and districts of historical, architectural, and/or geographic significance. Since then, the ordinance has been updated numerous times, most recently in 2012, to ensure the Denver's preservation program aligns with construction and preservation standards as well as other city processes and policies.


Task Force

The group is made up of 16 members representing a variety of roles, perspectives and constituencies. The task force met monthly from March 2018 to March 2019. Meetings were open to the public, and materials are posted in the archive below. 

Name Affiliation/title
Will Baker Denver resident
Mark Bowman Building & Residence Denver, broker associate 
Scott Chomiak Koelbel Urban Homes, real estate developer
Amy Cole Denver resident
Chris Cowan ARA Newmark, realtor
Stephanie Fernandez  Galloway & Company, project lead
Kevin Flynn  Denver City Council, District 2
Adam Harding Roth Sheppard Architects, partner
Hayden Hirschfeld Shames Makovsky, real estate broker
Dennis Humphries Humphries Poli Architects
Charles Jordy  Landmark Preservation Commission, Chair
Jordy Construction, president
Robin Kneich  Denver City Council, At-large
Annie Levinsky Historic Denver, executive director
Jeff Pearson
Denver Resident
Tania Salgado Lower Downtown Design Review Board Chair, Hand Print Architecture Principal
Rosemary Stoffel  Denver Resident
 

Task Force Meeting #1
2-4 p.m., Friday, March 9
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.F.6
201 W. Colfax Ave.
Agenda (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)
Summary (PDF)

Task Force Meeting #2
2-4 p.m., Tuesday, April 10
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.I.5
201 W. Colfax Ave.
Agenda (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)
Summary (PDF)

Task Force Meeting #3
2-4 p.m., Tuesday, May 8
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.F.6
201 W. Colfax Ave.
Agenda (PDF)
National Trust for Historic Preservation Report (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)
Summary (PDF)

Task Force Meeting #4
2-4:30 p.m., Monday, July 9
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.I.4
201 W. Colfax Ave.
Agenda (PDF)
Summary (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)

Task Force Meeting #5
3-5 p.m., Tuesday, August 14
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.I.4
201 W. Colfax Ave.
Agenda (PDF)
Summary (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)

Task Force Meeting #6
3-5 p.m., Tuesday, September 11
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.I.4
201 W. Colfax Ave.
Agenda (PDF)
Summary (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)

Task Force Meeting #7
3-5 p.m., Tuesday, October 9
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.F.6
201 W. Colfax Ave.
Agenda (PDF)
Summary (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)

Task Force Meeting #8
3-5 p.m., Tuesday, November 13
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.F.6
201 W. Colfax Ave.
Agenda (PDF)
Summary (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)

Task Force Meeting #9
1-4 p.m., Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Webb Municipal Building, 201 W. Colfax Ave., Room 1.B.6
Agenda (PDF)
Summary (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)

Task Force Meeting #10
1-4 p.m., Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Webb Municipal Building, 201 W. Colfax Ave., Room 4.I.5
Agenda (PDF)
Summary (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)

Task Force Meeting #11
10a.m. - 12p.m., Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Webb Municipal Building, 201 W. Colfax Ave., Room 1.D.1
Agenda (PDF)
Summary (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)

 

Get Involved

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e-newsletter to stay up to date on this and other landmark news.


Contact Us

For questions on the landmark ordinance update, contact project manager, Principal Planner Kara Hahn (kara.hahn@dnevergov.org). For comments, please submit to landmark@denvergov.org