General development plans (GDPs) provide 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.
The Denver City Council recently adopted comprehensive changes to the general development plan (GDP) process, including:
GDPs 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 GDPs. 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.
The rules and regulations are written for areas with one or more mixed-use zone districts, to implement the requirements of those zone districts. However, nothing prohibits the use of the GDP as a tool for creating a coordinated development plan in other areas.
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 proposed GDP procedures expand the public participation and notice, including:
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.
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.
GDP reviews are coordinated by Community Planning and Development staff. GDPs are reviewed by the Denver Planning Board, which makes a recommendation to the Development Review Committee. The Development Review Committee conducts the final review, and has the authority to approve GDPs. GDPs are not approved by Denver City Council.
Managers of the following departments/agencies are included in the Development Review Committee:
Denver’s Comprehensive Plan 2040 and Blueprint Denver, the city's integrated land use and transportation plan, were recently updated as part of Denveright, a three-year community‐driven planning effort that established a 20-year vision for an inclusive, connected and healthy city, shaping how our community evolves through land use, mobility, parks and recreational resources.
To learn more about Denveright, visit DenverGov.org/denveright
GDPs are regulated by: