As part of ongoing efforts to implement the 38th and Blake Station Area Plan Amendments, City Council President Albus Brooks sponsored Denver Zoning Code text and map amendments to establish an incentive height overlay for the 38th and Blake Station Area and a design overlay for the station area and surrounding River North (RiNo) Art District.
The intention of the overlays is to help direct growth into areas of the city that are best equipped to handle change, while also ensuring that those areas become great places. The overlays promote high quality design and capture a portion of the increased property values that result from significant public investments, such as the train station and use them to ensure that new development benefits the community.
> Projects seeking to take advantage of the height incentives must submit site development plans to Development Services and a proposal on how they intend to meet overlay requirements to the Office of Economic Development. Both must be approved for a building permit to be issued. As of July 1, 2018, no project has submitted a proposal to the Office of Economic Development.
> The design overlay establishes new high-quality design standards.
> The incentive overlay requires projects that use the height incentives to provide affordable housing units in the station area, or significantly greater contributions to Denver’s Affordable Housing Fund than are required elsewhere in the city.
> To meet incentive requirements:
City Council voted to adopt the incentive height and design overlays for the 38th and Blake Station Area and the River North Arts District at its meeting February 12, 2018. The following documents were presented for council review ahead of the vote. To see a replay of the meeting visit the Denver Channel 8 Archive.
The intention of the overlays is to help direct growth into areas of the city that are best equipped to handle change, while also ensuring that those areas become great places. The overlays promote high quality design and capture a portion of the increased property values that result from significant public investments, such as the train station, and use them to ensure that new development benefits the community. They were implemented through Denver Zoning Code text and map amendments. The text amendment created the overlays, a map amendment established where the overlays apply, and a second map amendment rezoned certain properties to achieve the appropriate base zoning for the height incentive overlay to be applied properly.
The public legislative process for the proposed text and map amendments to implement both the River North Design Overlay and 38th and Blake Incentive Overlay began with a public hearing at the Denver Planning Board on December 6. The Planning Board voted to recommend that the City Council approve the proposed text and map amendments. City Council held a public hearing February 12 and voted to approve the amendments.
Adopted Denver Zoning Code text and map amendments:
Adopted Denver Revised Municipal Code (DRMC) amendment:
To use the Incentive Overlay, properties were mapped to a non-customized Denver Zoning Code zone district with a maximum height in building stories (i.e., I-MX-5 or C-MX-8). City Council President Albus Brooks proposed a legislative map amendment to rezone some properties not previously mapped with a qualifying district to allow use of the Incentive Overlay. This map (PDF) illustrates the adopted legislative rezoning.
The 38th and Blake Station Area Plan Amendment process indicated a community desire for design regulations to encourage creativity and ensure the area remains a welcoming place for artists, residents, and businesses. A concurrent RiNo Art District request for a Denver Zoning Code design overlay district expressed similar desires for the wider RiNo district.
The adopted River North Design Overlay District implemented plan amendment recommendations and the RiNo Art District overlay request by establishing regulations to achieve a vibrant pedestrian realm with building and site design that emphasizes walkability and access to daylight, minimizes the impact of parking and integrates appropriately with existing buildings in RiNo and portions of the 38th and Blake Station area that are just outside the district. The Design Overlay District includes regulations for building setbacks, parking location and access, massing (the shape and form of a building as perceived by a viewer at street level), street-level active uses, pedestrian access and transparency.
The 38th and Blake Station Area Plan Amendment process indicated community support for taller building heights with development that provides community benefits. The 38th and Blake Incentive Overlay implements those recommendations by allowing a building to exceed the maximum height specified in the underlying zone district if the building provides specific benefits, such as affordable housing units in the area around the station, increased payments to the city’s Affordable Housing Fund, or community-serving uses. Specific requirements vary depending on the uses in the building:
Affordable housing unit and fee requirements are based on multiples of the formulas included in the Affordable Housing Fee ordinance adopted in 2016 (Chapter 27, Article 5 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code). Increased requirements apply only to the square footage of the building above the maximum height set in the underlying zone district. This package of adopted amendments included an amendment to the Denver Revised Municipal Code to create a new Article VI: Incentives for Affordable Housing, which established the affordable housing requirements for the 38th & Blake Incentive Overlay.
Planning Board Information Item
3 p.m., July 19
City Council Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Information Item
10:30 a.m., August 8
INC Zoning and Planning Committee Presentation
9:30 a.m., August 26
Feasibility Results Meeting
12:30 p.m., October 12
Feasibility study (PDF)
Proposed Legislative Base Rezoning Meeting for Property Owners
2 p.m., September 12
Drop-in Office Hours
> Tuesday, November 14
9 to 11 a.m.
Wellington Webb Building
Room 2I5 (Check-in at Records Desk, 2nd Floor)
> Thursday, November 16
9 to 11 a.m.
RiNo Art District Offices
2901 Blake Street
> Monday, November 20
2 to 4 p.m.
RiNo Art District Offices
2901 Blake Street
Planning Board Public Hearing on Text and Map Amendments
3 p.m., December 6, 2017
City and County Building, 1437 Bannock Street
Parr-Widener Community Room (#389)
Staff Report (PDF)
Overlay zone districts are adopted to supplement otherwise generally applicable zone district standards with additional design standards, allowances or other special requirements.
City Council adopted the zoning overlays in a public hearing on February 12, 2018.