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Task force recommends new zoning to foster vibrant, walkable Cherry Creek

After eight months of analysis and discussion, the Cherry Creek Zoning Technical Task Force has made its recommendations to city planners for new, custom zoning that will enhance the live/work/play nature of the Cherry Creek mixed-use district. The zoning recommendations come on the heels of the 2012 Cherry Creek Area Plan, and are designed to enhance Cherry Creek’s enduring identity as a vibrant and sustainable neighborhood and shopping destination.  Denver’s Community Planning and Development Department has released a summary of the recommendations, available at

The zoning recommendations are based on the task force’s goals for the district, which include retaining and enhancing Cherry Creek’s unique character, creating opportunities for new housing, making reinvestment viable (especially on small lots) and improving the pedestrian experience. Some of the key zoning recommendations include:

  • Building heights that transition down from 2nd Avenue to 3rd Avenue, respecting adjacent neighborhoods and retaining sunlight on 3rd. 
  • Parking requirements comparable with other “urban centers” in the city, but adjusted in acknowledgement of Cherry Creek’s status as a regional shopping destination
  • Buildings required to have active storefronts, ground-floor transparency and setbacks to improve the pedestrian experience
  • Incentives for providing publicly-accessible open space
  • Incentives and exemptions for small lots, to encourage reinvestment in small lots and small buildings
  • Allowing a more diverse mix of uses, including hotels and limited outdoor sales

District 10 Councilwoman Jeanne Robb convened the all-volunteer task force in June 2013, and the development of the new zoning began in August. The task force is made up of Cherry Creek residents, property owners, business owners, developers, architects and other stakeholders, representing the varied interests in the district. 

“These recommendations create a great path forward, balancing the need for reinvestment with the desire to retain and enhance what we all love about Cherry Creek,” Robb said. “The task force members are dedicated to what’s best for Cherry Creek, and together they devoted hundreds of hours to this project.”

Why New Zoning?
In 2010 when the city of Denver moved to a new, modern, context- and form-based zoning code, Cherry Creek was not included in the code update, pending the completion of a new neighborhood plan. The Cherry Creek Area Plan was adopted in 2012 based on the contributions of more than 1,000 residents, business owners and other local stakeholders, and provides the broad basis for the new zoning. The plan called for new zoning for Cherry Creek’s mixed-use district — the area roughly bordered by University Boulevard, Steele Street, 3rd Avenue and 1st Avenue.

What’s Next?
The public is invited to offer comments and questions on the recommendations prior to formal consideration by the Denver Planning Board and Denver City Council. Planners will post an official redline draft of the code in the coming weeks. To learn more about the project, sign up for e-news, find dates for office hours and an open house, or provide comments on the zoning recommendations, visit

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