Tue. Jun 6th, 2023


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Denver election results: 2M and 2N ballot measures on zoning PASS?FAIL

2 min read

Denver ballot questions 2M and 2N — related to zoning challenges and rezoning protest petitions — both appeared headed for victory as of early returns Tuesday night.

Ballot question 2M was passing with 73.34% of the vote in support (60,926 votes) to 26.66% opposed (22,145 votes), and ballot question 2N had 68.5% in support (57,925 votes) to 31.5% in opposition (26,642 votes) as of 7:15 p.m.

The questions were referred to voters by the City Council earlier this year.

Question 2M asks voters whether they should remove language in the city charter about the Board of Adjustment and instead allow the City Council to set procedures for appeals, variances and exceptions from the zoning code. It would not take away the Board of Adjustment and Zoning but instead gives the City Council more power to set the process and criteria for filing appeals and granting variances and exceptions to the zoning code that residents and builders request.

City Council members Robin Kniech and Amanda Sandoval spearheaded the effort to get both 2M and 2N on the ballot.

The council members noted that the current structure of the Board of Adjustment was created a century ago and provides no flexibility in decision-making. Those in favor of the change have said removing the current language would allow the City Council to update criteria and rules, rather than having to amend the charter every time members seek a change to work with the city’s current plans and resident needs.

Basic variances would still go through an administrative process with the Board of Adjustment and larger variances would still be heard by the board.

There was no organized opposition to this measure and no one submitted opposing comments in the city Blue Book.

Similarly, Question 2N would amend the city charter to clarify the City Council’s powers on zoning districts and only let property owners in Denver initiate zoning protests. If enough property owners within or adjacent to the boundaries of an area being considered for a zoning change sign a protest petition, the City Council has to have a supermajority of votes to pass it — 10 of 13 members.

Opponents of the Park Hill golf course tried to protest the property’s rezoning, but it was ultimately rejected because city officials determined that some people who signed it didn’t meet the criteria. So the rezoning passed by a simple majority of 9-4.

The measure would clarify that the protest petitions only apply to rezoning (not the creation of special taxing districts, business improvement districts or historic districts) and also close a loophole that allowed property owners outside of Denver to sign onto protest petitions when their properties were close enough to city borders.

No organized opposition submitted comments against the measure in the city’s ballot information booklet, but the Denver Republican Party opposed the measure, claiming that it is the right of any citizen to protest zoning changes.

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