Apartments without any parking still a concern in Denver as amendment moves forward

Is there a potential conflict of interest?

DENVER -- Signs that look like little cars represent all the parking spots that could vanish when an apartment building with zero parking spots is built.

"The projects that really started the moratorium in effect could in fact happen anywhere in Denver," said Bill Vanderlan, President of the Humboldt Street Neighborhood Association.

A moratorium on the development of small lots with no parking remains in place until the end of March. In the meantime, an amendment is moving through city channels, and residents don't like what they're hearing.

"The new wording doesn’t stop things like that from going ahead, it just legitimizes it," said Jodie Brownlee, a resident in City Park West.

The new language went before the city's Community Planning and Development Board last week. Residents and city council members are concerned about a potential conflict of interest. Board member Jim Bershof works for OZ Architecture, the company's logo is stamped on plans for a controversial micro-unit apartments with no parking at 16th and Humboldt.

During the meeting Bershof said, "There’s almost, like, an assumption that this text amendment is creating the situation, that we’re doing this to allow developers to not have to provide parking."

Council members previously called the wording in city code a "loophole." It allowed for developers to combine small lots and develop an apartment building using a parking exemption. 

Lots that are zoned mixed-used commercial and are 6,250 square feet or smaller have been exempt from off-street parking requirements since 2010. At that time, city officials hoped to encourage the reuse of old buildings or small-scale development.

Instead, plans for 108 micro-apartments with zero parking are moving forward at 16th and Humboldt. The project was grandfathered in before the moratorium. 

"So for one developer to come in and just claim all of that because they can’t be bothered putting any parking in their development -- it just seems unfair," said Brownlee.

Denver7 reached out to the developer and Bershof for comment but has so far received no response.

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