Denver approves rezoning plan to allow taller buildings in exchange for affordable housing

DENVER - The Denver City Council has signed off on an incentive plan to allow developers to build taller buildings in the River North Art District in exchange for more affordable housing.

The council voted 10-2 to approve the final piece of the zoning package, with councilors Raphael Espinoza and Paul Lopez dissenting.

The bill rezones properties within about three quarters of a mile of the 38th and Blake RTD station to allow for taller buildings -- as tall as 16 stories in the area immediately surrounding the transit station, gradually stepping down to shorter building heights as you move further away into the surrounding neighborhoods.

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Those new height limits would only apply to buildings that include at least 10 percent of units at "affordable" rates. 

For commercial buildings to reach those new heights, developers would be required to either pay five times the usual affordable housing impact fee - which goes to the city to help build and preserve affordable housing - or build a "community space," such as a grocery store or daycare.

Councilors are looking at the possibility of using similar zoning overlays near the 41st and Fox station on the future G Line.

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