Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has fired back against a audit critical of the city’s planning department and its building permitting process, saying that city Auditor Timothy O’Brien’s assertion that permitting delays are slowing construction in Denver was “politicized, dramatized and in some cases misrepresented the audit findings.”

The language in a letter sent Friday from Hancock to O’Brien was unusually strong for the sixth-year mayor in dealing with another city official.

It followed a defense offered by the community planning and development department after the release of the audit Thursday that it had made some of the improvements already that O’Brien had called for, but Hancock’s sentiments were offered far more strongly and critically.

“In the face of historic workloads, CPD [the Denver Community Planning and Development Department] has made significant strides in plan review, permitting and inspections since Denver’s building boom began,” Hancock wrote. “By investing personnel, technology and outsourcing, this department has demonstrated what rising to the challenge truly means, and is not ‘delaying development across the city’.”

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