UHNC RNO Open Board meeting
March 15, 2022
Attending: Jenny, Paul Steve, Slavica, H. McNeish, Sharon, Dirk, Sue, Saul, Aaron, John, Jay B, Don, Veralyn, Carolyn.
Approval of Meeting Minutes – As a quorum of the Board was not present, the approval of the minutes of the February 15, 2022 meeting of the Board was deferred to the April Meeting of the Board.
Community Development - YMCA A substantial portion of the March 15, 2022 meeting was devoted to presentations and discussion concerning the redevelopment of the University Hills Schlessman YMCA at Yale and Colorado Blvd.
H. McNeish of Confluent Development described Confluent, noting that it is a national company with 8 projects under development in Denver. Recent developments include the Vectra Bank - Colorado Headquarters at Belleview Station and The Exchange at Boulevard One in Lowry. John from Stantec described Stantec, noting that Stantec developed the master plan for MacGregor Square near Coors Field. Sue was introduced as the President of YMCA of Metro Denver. Aaron from Republic Metropolitan was introduced and described Republic Metropolitan, noting its expertise in public/private real estate development for non-profit organizations such as the YMCA. Slavica of
CRL Associates was introduced and facilitated the presentation. Slavica provided a general overview of the site, noting it was about 6 acres.
Sue informed the Community that the primary guide in the redevelopment of the YMCA was to serve the Community, especially the needs of teens but other constituencies as well. She noted that the Schlessman YMCA was not as impactful in the Community as it could be. And the antiquated and inefficient. She further noted that the aquatic facilities were the original facilities from the original development of the site. She informed the Community that there was no space to expand the infant care facilities. She noted that the redevelopment would better connect the YMCA site to the Harvard Gulch trail. Sue provided the balance of the presentation which may be found here.
M. McNeish expressed his confidence that Confluent would be able to create a great space. He provided an overview of the site as it exists today. He informed the Community that the new YMCA facility would consist of one building on the northwest portion of the site. He further informed the Community that the balance of the site would be mixed use: multi-family residential apartments & potentially condominiums; potentially a medical office; a boutique grocery store; and neighborhood retail. He noted that the development would contain public open space. He noted that the density would generally increase from west to east and south to north. He noted that “must have” items included:
Connectivity to Colorado Blvd. & connectivity to Yale Ave. east of Colorado Blvd.
Preservation of old Jackson St. west of the redevelopment site (no auto access from Jackson)
Modification of the zoning.
H McNeish noted that the zoning request for the project would be 800,000 square feet, although all of that amount might not be needed to execute the design. Aaron noted that Republic Metropolitan was in the business of “making spaces” and would draw inspiration from the health and wellness principles of the YMCA.
The meeting was then opened to questions from the Board and the Community. A wide ranging discussion ensued. Topics of questions and comments included: parking; zoning; building height; bicycle parking; YMCA-dedicated parking; YMCA membership fees; senior accessibility; the Harvard Gulch bike path; the financial aspects of the project; and the housing to be incorporated into the project.
Sue informed the Community that the Schlessman YMCA was working on a low-cost membership option that would be implemented before the redevelopment. Sue noted that housing has always been part of the YMCA mission, although the Schlessman YMCA did not historically have a housing component. H McNeish noted that affordable housing would be part of the redevelopment and that the City & County of Denver was assessing the affordable housing component that would be required for the redevelopment. He described the formula for calculating the affordability factors, noting percentages of average area housing costs and average area income. He noted in response to substantial comments about parking that the parking would be below ground or within the proposed structures, with street parallel parking along the neighborhood retail directly west of Yale where the exiting bicycle shop is located. A detailed and lengthy discussion of density, traffic and parking ensued, which discussion consumed substantially all of the balance of the time allotted for the meeting.
It was determined that the annual neighborhood meeting would be held on May 12, 2022. [To be held in the basement of Hope Fellowship church at Ash and Warren starting at 6pm, secured after the meeting concluded.]
Unusual and Suspicious Covenant Letter
Several members of the Community received a letter concerning “Hutchinsons University Place” and the potential modification of covenants governing that area. The area is bounded by Ash and Bellaire on the west, Yale on the south, Cherry on the east, and Harvard on the north, with a spit of lots running north from Harvard to Wesley on both sides of Birch Street. The letter indicated that homeowners in Hutchinsons University Place could receive compensation in exchange for agreeing to modify or dissolve certain covenants governing the area. Members of the Board and the Community have come to understand through communications with the entity seeking the modification and otherwise, that the main driver behind the initiative to change the covenants was the desire to remove certain height restriction covenants governing the area, with the specific desire to demolish 4585 E Yale Ave, 4591 E Yale Ave, 2645 S Cherry St and 2675 S Cherry St (Yale and Cherry, duplexes east of the Yale Lanai) and build a five story apartment building. Substantial discussion in opposition to the proposal ensued. Discussion of how to prevent a change in covenants ensued. It was determined that the Board and Community would seek counsel from an attorney to determine what could be done to prevent a change in the covenants and maintain the character of the neighborhood. It was determined that an email blast to the Community seeking reference to an HOA/covenant attorney would issue. Additional discussion about the matter ensued, including discussion of historical enforcement of the existing covenants.
Next Meeting - It was determined that the next meeting of the Board would be April 19, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.
Adjournment – There being no additional items for the meeting and the allotted time having expired, the meeting was adjourned.
Paul Leone, Secretary