Chaffee Park may become the first Denver neighborhood to be entirely rezoned for the sole purpose of allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on all residential lots of at least 4,500 square feet.  The Denver Planning Board unanimously approved the community-generated proposal on September 16, 2020, and the rezoning proposal now awaits City Council review and adoption.  The proposed zone districts are the same as the current districts except that they allow the ADU use, either within the primary structure or in a detached structure.  The Chaffee Park neighborhood extends generally from 48th Avenue on the south to 52nd Avenue on the north, and from Federal Boulevard on the west to Kalamath Street on the east.

Continue Reading Chaffee Park Proposed Rezoning

This post was authored by Alexandra Haggarty.  Alex is a summer clerk at Otten Johnson, and a rising 3L at the University of Colorado Law School.

This post is an update on three earlier posts about a citizen initiative to limit residential growth in Lakewood, Colorado.

With a near 53 percent majority, voters in the City of Lakewood approved Ballot Question 200, capping growth of residential unit construction by one percent annually and requiring city council approval of projects with forty or more units.  The city joins Boulder and neighboring Golden in responding to Colorado’s population growth by capping development.

Proponents of the initiative argue that it will preserve Lakewood’s culture and environment.  Specifically, the initiative was pitched as a way to preserve open space, protect single-family development, ensure that infrastructure and services are not overburdened, and curb alleged problems of unmanaged growth, such as crime and urban decay.
Continue Reading Lakewood Voters Pass Strategic Growth Initiative

Resolute’s proposed self-storage facility is shown in the graphic above. Source: Resolute Investments.

In May, the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the City of Thornton’s approval of a specific use permit for a self-storage facility against a challenge brought by a competitor self-storage facility.  While the court’s decision in Stor-N-Lock Partners #15, L.L.C. v. City of Thornton was a victory for the defendants, including the city and the developer, the court ruled that defendants in Rule 106(a)(4) actions may not recover delay-induced damages through the imposition of a bond.  Otten Johnson attorneys Brian Connolly and Bill Kyriagis represented the defendant landowner and developer, CenturyLink and Resolute Investments, Inc., respectively, throughout the proceedings.

In the case, Resolute obtained the city’s approval of a specific use permit for its project.  A neighboring self-storage facility challenged the approval under Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 106(a)(4), which allows for judicial review of quasi-judicial decisions by local government bodies.  The plaintiff alleged that the approval of the specific use permit did not improve the welfare of its property, which was one of the Thornton code’s criteria for the issuance of a specific use permit.  The district court affirmed the city’s decision but denied the defendant’s motion to require the plaintiff to post security in an amount that would cover the defendant’s losses incurred as a result of litigation-related delays. 
Continue Reading Colorado Court of Appeals: Court Should Defer to City Council’s Code Interpretations, But No Bond for Rule 106 Defendants

The proposed regulations spearheaded by Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman and recommended by Denver’s Planning Commission last month may not have a clear path to approval by City Council. As discussed in a prior post, the proposed zoning regulations for short-term rentals, drafted after much consideration in public presentations and town hall meetings earlier this year, would permit properly licensed short-term rentals city-wide, subject to certain limitations. One of those limitations, which require the short-term rental unit to be the host’s primary residence, received significant push-back from several Denver residents who currently rent homes other than their primary residence on hosting websites such as Airbnb and VRBO.
Continue Reading Two Denver City Councilmembers Propose Alternative Short-Term Rental Regulations