Where WE've Been

From directing the recreational marijuana legislation and taxation as City Council President to the GO Bond 2017, it has been a very active tenure. Our marijuana policies have become national models and continue to bring about $25 million/year in revenues to Denver. The GO Bond will see much needed transportation and mobility improvements in our city as well as other vital infrastructure needs. For District 5, it brings the expansion of Schlessman Library, east Colfax re-vitalization, and traffic calming, pedestrian and bike- friendly improvements to our neighborhoods.

Mobility

Mobility is one of my main priorities as our predominant calls are about traffic. We’ve been successful on several fronts:

The biggest of these is my successful encouragement of the administration to create a Denver Mobility Department and separate it from Public Works to stand on its own. While Public Works does an excellent job with our infrastructure, we need people who are constantly thinking about what moves on top of that infrastructure and can concentrate on the coming innovations in mobility. Under the new leader at Public Works, they are starting the process to create a new department.

Working for years to bring micro-transit to Denver (on-demand vans/shuttles moving in the middle of the city) we finally have Chariot (www.chariot.com) coming to the DU area, and are in conversations with them about routes between Lowry, Cherry Creek, Downtown, and others.We were successful in getting Dayton improvements between Alameda and Mississippi that included building out the sidewalks and stopping the drainage problem that created ice islands in the winter.

We were among the first in the city to have Rapid Blinking Lights installed at Holly/Cedar and Dayton/ Highline Canal that provide more safety for pedestrian crosswalks. We also had stop signs, traffic lights, no-turn signs etc. installed throughout the district in hotspot areas.

The Quebec Alternatives plan was finally funded by the Federal Government and we are in design stages to realize the community goals for Quebec between 13th Ave and 26th Ave – two-lanes each way, sidewalks on both sides, and a bike lane on Syracuse.

Short Term Rentals (STR)

The “Sharing Economy” that is so much in the headlines is alive and well in Denver. Constituents became concerned about the growing use of unregulated short-term rentals a la AirBnB, not only for the disruption it can cause with multiple visitors to the house/apartment next door but also for what it meant to our affordable housing crisis.

One of the serious consequences of unrestricted short-term rentals is the aggregation of many residences and charging nightly rates that can triple or quadruple monthly rates. For the first time we were able to restrict it to primary homes, which allows residents to realize extra income, but prevents aggregation and loss of affordable inventory, control the safety of the rentals, and collect lodger’s tax which has realized about $2 million/year in revenues to the city. We held multiple city-wide town halls with neighbors, hosts, and guests on the subject and together devised what has become a national model for regulation that has the highest compliance rate in the U.S (71% – the next highest rate is ~40%). We are sought out by other jurisdictions, as in marijuana regulations, that want to learn how we did it.

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Where we are going

We are in the middle of great doings to respond to our unprecedented growth and maintain our quality of life and all the things we love about Denver and Colorado.

East Area Plan

The Planning office has embarked on creating area plans throughout the city, and 5 of our neighborhoods are first up in the queue! East Colfax, Mayfair, Bellevue-Hale, Historic Montclair and part of Cranmer Park/Hilltop. An advisory committee has been empaneled and there are monthly meetings about the vision for the East Area. You can attend, track progress and participate at here.

Denveright

The all-city plan to match yours and other Denverites’ visions for the future of our city has been underway for about 18 months now. I serve on the Blueprint committee which is looking at this 11-year-old plan and making more current recommendations for Denver’s long-term view. This is an important plan that shapes the future and I am committed to be the voice of our neighborhoods in our vision for Denver.

Mobility

I will continue efforts to bring greater, convenient, inexpensive mobility options to our district which is sorely lacking in these amenities. Efforts will continue for ease and safety of walking and biking, as well as a concentration on better, modern transit options particularly for those who cannot or do not drive and whose mobility is restricted physically or financially. This is essential to help maintain our quality of life particularly during our rapid growth of population with its concomitant car use.

Upper-Montclair Basin

The District 5 community is meeting regularly to discuss some alternative ways to mitigate our flooding issues in neighborhoods. There are finally funds to address this historic problem caused by inadequate storm drainage built during the city’s founding. We will continue to listen to the preferred alternatives by neighbors and engineers to find neighbor- and environment-friendly solutions.

Colfax

The District 5 community is meeting regularly to discuss some alternative ways to mitigate our flooding issues in neighborhoods. There are finally funds to address this historic problem caused by inadequate storm drainage built during the city’s founding. We will continue to listen to the preferred alternatives by neighbors and engineers to find neighbor- and environment-friendly solutions.

Green Roofs Ordinance

In November 2017 Initiative 300 passed that requires buildings over 25,000 sq. ft. to have vegetation and solar on a portion of their roof. The rule includes new and existing buildings who are repairing their roof. It is a complex ordinance with variations in requirements. The city has formed an advisory committee on the initiative of which I am a member. You can read about the present ordinance and the work of the committee here: www.denvergov.org/greenroofs. I am co-chair of the council Committee to analyze and perhaps amend the initiative. The advisory committee is making recommendations that there be multiple ways in which we can bring environmental sustainability to our buildings that meet the same goals as the initiative but can be less expensive and more effective for particular structures.

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