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Persistent homeowners shut down plans for new apartment building in established neighborhood

Posted: 11:10 PM, Jul 25, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-26 13:23:02-04

DENVER, Colo. -- An entire neighborhood just took on the Denver City Council and won.  

The winning argument -- 'not in my backyard.'

Families who live near Leetsdale Drive and Colorado Boulevard don't like the old, vacant church there that's turned into an eyesore.  But they don't want a higher-density apartment building filling the space, which has become commonplace in many neighborhoods across the city.

In short, they believe another apartment building would just worsen traffic in an already congested area.

"It's just an inappropriate place to put high density," homeowner Sue Bollman said.

She's the de facto leader of the effort to keep the land from becoming zoned for higher-density residential buildings.  She's been putting up a fight for a year or more.

"Look at how many cars that brings in, how many cars would go through the neighborhood, how many cars would be at those two incredibly dangerous intersections," Bollman said of the higher-density plans.

To be clear, she said no one in the neighborhood is opposed to development.  They're simply opposed to what the developer, Doug McKinnon of McKinnon & Associates, offered.

He explained to city council members Monday how he, in part, agreed to originally build no more than 54 apartments.

"We also offered that we would provide a covenant, running with the land, to secure that in favor of the neighborhood organization," McKinnon said at the meeting.

However, his efforts to compromise with the neighborhood failed.  Then, in a unanimous vote, the Denver City Council sided with the homeowners.

The vote means the old church property will remain zoned for, generally, single family homes.

Bollman and the homeowners understand the zoning will need change eventually, but want to be sure that it's suitable for the neighborhood.

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