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Denver City Council approves 2 plans to address city's growth and affordability

Denver City Council approved two of five plans with the goal of addressing housing and affordability issues within the city.

DENVER — Denver City Council adopted two of five plans to address the city's development and transit during a meeting Monday night.

After being in development for the past three years, City Council gave both the Comprehensive Plan 2040 and Blueprint Denver the green light with an 11-1 and a 10-2, respectively.

Sarah Showalter, Denver's citywide planning manager, told 9NEWS the city created the plans with the help of residents, neighborhood groups and community leaders.

“We heard from the community that we’re such a unique city, we have so many wonderful strong neighborhoods and we want to make sure we preserve a lot of that as we continue to grow and evolve into the next 20 years,” she said.

The city also looked to the past for help crafting its future.

At the turn of the 21st century, the city of Denver created a comprehensive plan for 2020.

“We spent a lot of time looking at that as a foundation. We also spent some time trying to measure, as much as we could, for some of the more objective goals. How did we do and how can we learn from that so as we write goals now for the future, we can do a better job,” Showalter told 9NEWS.

2040 Objectives

  • Create a greater mix of housing options in every neighborhood for all individuals and families.
  • Increase housing options for Denver’s most vulnerable populations.
  • Preserve existing affordable housing.

During our conversation with Sarah Showalter, she told us involuntary displacement is a “huge theme that we heard from the community and we know that we won’t be Denver anymore if we lose those residents and businesses and so we are very committed.” 

Showalter explained involuntary displacement as “people who want to stay in Denver can’t afford to live here or can’t afford to keep their business here.”

Much like the plan for 2020, the city’s plan for 2040 identifies “developing housing that is affordable to residents of all income levels” as a key priority. 

Showalter told 9NEWS they plan to accomplish that this time around by “doing more on how to incentivize affordable housing in our zoning code” among other strategies.

The five plans are: 

  • Comprehensive Plan 2040, a 20-year vision for Denver and its people that offers high-level goals and recommendations.
  • Blueprint Denver, a citywide land-use and transportation plan for the next 20 years that aims to create more complete neighborhoods and transportation networks, as well as make land-use decisions "through the lens of social equity."
  • Game Plan for a Healthy City, a long-term plan to help the city respond to challenges like growth, water usage, and climate change.
  • Denver Moves: Transit, a guiding framework meant to improve transit quality and make it more reliable.
  • Denver Moves: Pedestrians and Trails, a citywide plan to improve sidewalks, street crossings and trails.

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