UHNC RNO Open Board meeting
May 18, 2021
Attending: Jenny, Liz, Steve, John, Paul, Jody, Terry, Megan, Sherry, Emily, Saul, Adam, Ronnette
Approval of Meeting Minutes - The Board referred to the minutes from the April 20,2021 meeting. On a motion duly made and seconded, the minutes were unanimously- Approved.
Neighborhood Planning and Development
Discussion of the Cameron Apartments – Megan from CSC gave a presentation about the Cameron Apartments project. She indicated the project is at the framing phase but the wet weather was preventing crews from moving forklifts with framing materials around the site. She informed the Community that framing is the noisiest phase of the construction and also with the largest crews who may be parking in violation of the site rules. Megan further informed the Community that rain had prevented the pouring of certain slab concrete components that will provide better access to the parking structure. Better access to the parking structure will reduce the need for construction crews parking on the street. She further indicated that CSC had begun construction of the private road that will run east/west on the north side of the Cameron Apartments project. She asked that the Community report to CSC any problems with parking, particularly with the framing crews coming in. In response to a question about the intersection of Warren and Dexter, Adam of CSC indicated that CSC would support the effort to obtain mural art or a road mural at Warren and Dexter. Adam noted that CSC owned and leased out the cell phone tower location at Warren and Dexter. He also noted that the east most section of the Cameron Apartments project would be a dog park area, adjacent to the cell tower site. Discussion ensued, including discussion of homeless people at the cell tower site, obtaining funding for mural resources, road mural versus wall mural; it was noted that there are children on that block of Dexter, with existing apartments and substantial additional traffic resulting from the Cameron. Adam indicated that UHNC should contact CSC about how they could support the efforts on a mural or other traffic calming measures at Warren and Dexter. It was estimated that a mural could cost $30,000. Megan and Adam then left the meeting.
Crossing at Iliff Ave. and Colorado Blvd. – Jenny indicated, and it was confirmed by members of the community, that crossing Colorado Blvd. at Iliff Ave. is hazardous for children going to and from schools in University Park (University Park Elementary, Most Precious Blood). As previously noted, the intersection of Colorado Blvd. and Iliff needs attention in that turning cars are not attentive to children during walk-to-from -school hours, and that the lead time on the “walk” signal was too short and created the danger of children, elderly and differently abled people being struck by cars making left turns off of Iliff onto Colorado Blvd. Jenny informed the Community that students living north of Evans and east of Colorado Blvd. are permitted to take the bus, even if they live within the one-mile bus limit. Jenny indicated there has been communication with Councilwoman Black’s office asking for assistance; Councilwoman Black has passed the request along to the Dept. of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI). It was determined that the Community would endeavor to get a census of those students living in the Community that cross Colorado Blvd. at Iliff to walk to and from school.
Traffic Calming at Warren and Dexter – Jody provided additional detail on her efforts to get information and resources for a mural, road mural and/or other traffic calming elements at Warren and Dexter. There was a discussion about types of murals and costs, and other traffic calming elements. The overall preference of the Community was in favor of a mural if possible.
University Neighbors Safer Streets – Jenny reminded the Community of the University Safer Streets Initiative, which is looking at safer street conditions along Buchtel Rd. along to Colorado Center Dr. and also Evans and Colorado and into the northern portion of the Community along Evans. Jenny noted that there was a meeting on May 20, 2021 from 5:30 to 6:30. Check the link. Meetings currently deal with specific segments of the project. Please attend these meetings if you can. When we provide input, the input will be considered by the City. It is beneficial to the neighborhood to be visible at these and other city sponsored meetings, and for our residents to be engaged. https://denvergov.org/Government/Departments/Department-of-Transportation-and-Infrastructure/Programs-Services/Projects/University-Safer-Streets
District Neighborhood Coalition – Jenny described the concept of the formation of a District Neighborhood Coalition for the 4th District. A District Neighborhood Coalition would support the RNO at the District level and help support information sharing on social media. Discussion ensued and generally agreed to that our RNO should try to make use of the communication network provided through the coalition.
Safe Overnight Homeless Parking at First Universalist Church- Paul described a meeting he attended concerning a request for temporary rezoning of a parking area at First Universalist Church near Hampden and Colorado Blvd. He noted that many people were concerned about crime and traffic possibly brought by a temporary safe parking facility, while others were more receptive. Paul noted particular concern about crime and the proximity to the park, and also the fact that there would not be overnight security. Paul noted that the facility would have a maximum of 8 cars and 16 prescreened adults; no children, and that First Universalist was seeking a six month temporary zoning change to accommodate the facility. Jenny and Liz forwarded questions to the church and the answers can be seen below.*
Permit Parking Initiative – Michaela was not able to attend the meeting, but Liz reported that the City initiative to evaluate permit parking was slowed by turnover on the City team conducting the initiative. Michaela will continue to represent the Community to the initiative.
Near Southeast Area Plan Update – Jenny again informed the Community that the Near Southeast Area Plan program continues and urged the Community members to provide any input they may have directly to the project, and sign up for informational emails pursuant to the information provided at https://www.denvergov.org/Government/Departments/Community-Planning-and-Development/Plans-in-Progress/Near-Southeast-Area-Plan
The boundaries of the Near Southeast Area are:
Community Signs – A discussion about the signs for Community engagement and awareness ensued. A discussion of where the signs currently are and where signs could be strategically placed with the Community ensued.
Annual Meeting – The Board introduced discussion of how to hold an Annual Meeting of the Community. A discussion of the timing and what was realistic in light of the COVID -19 pandemic. It was determined that a Meeting earlier in the summer, as in recent history, was not feasible. It was determined, rather, that a meeting in late summer early fall would be more realistic, and that a meeting in the basement of the Hope Fellowship might be possible. It was determined that the date of the Annual meeting would be determined at a later meeting of the Board.
High Line Canal Underpass – It was noted that the celebration of the opening of the High Line Canal underpass near Hampden and Colorado Blvd. will occur June 3 between 4:00 – 5:00 at Magna Carta Park. Please r.s.v.p. to the Board so there can be a head count for refreshments.
Jenny noted that Denver Academy would be having graduation celebrations and specifically would be having car parades on May 26, at 5:00 p.m. and on May 28, at 1:00 p.m.
Jenny noted that the Target to open in the University Hills Plaza was seeking a liquor license. A discussion ensued. Overall sentiment was against the liquor permit. This began a discussion about whether to formally oppose the Target liquor license. Upon a motion duly made and seconded, it was unanimously approved by the Board that the Community would oppose the Target liquor license.
Safe and Sound Denver – Jenny noted that an organization Safe and Sound Denver had obtained signatures sufficient to get a Denver ballot initiative in place, this initiative would oppose the Denver group housing plan. More details to follow.
Engage Community Images – Jenny indicated that she was working with Chantelle to get electronic imagery consistent with the Community Engage signage, for use on social media posts and other identifying materials in support of the Community.
Live Meetings – When? Where? The library was discussed, other potential sites were discussed but nothing was established about the when or where of the Community’s next live meeting.
It was suggested by (a community member) that a PTO representative from University Park Elementary school should be invited to a meeting of the Community and there was concurrence that an invitation should be extended.
Next Meeting - It was determined that the next meeting of the Board would be June 15, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.
Adjournment – There being no additional items for the meeting and the allotted time having expired, the meeting was adjourned.
*Response from First Universalist Church regarding the Safe Parking Spaces (We have also added a FAQ sheet from them to our website, please check it out.)
I hope that you will support our program. The people who will be in our lot are just down on their luck, and maybe they don't have the same support systems that most of us have. Safe Parking Programs have been operating in California and a few other states for a decade. As the population of those without homes has grown in the Denver area, members of our church feel called to help.
The zoning has just changed, but at present we are seeking a 6-month temporary permit. I don't know if our church will try to extend that, or if we can find another church nearby to take over the program. The city zoning person now says all Safe Tenting and Safe Parking Programs can run until Dec. 2023.
We are hoping that each person is ready to move into stable housing within 3 to 6 months. Since we have been expecting to end our program in six months, that would be the longest anyone could stay. Our next Task Force meeting is next Monday, so the length of our program will be discussed there.
The Safe Parking participants apply through Colorado Safe Parking Initiative. CSPI does the CO Bureau of investigation background check and the initial interview. If they think a person is suitable for our program, they pass the information they have gathered to us. Then we conduct our own interview of the person or persons (no more than two per car and usually there is just one person per car) We discuss the candidates and make our decision.
We hope to have the permit approved in the next couple of weeks so that we can open on or about July 1st.
Also, Rev. Robb Davis from Wellshire Presbyterian Church and Ann Zimmer, the Social Outreach Coordinator at Most Precious Blood Catholic Church want to have some of their members help with our program, such as providing meals, which some of our near neighbors also want to do. A Good Neighbor group of First U members and nearby neighbors is working on a Good Neighbor Agreement that I would like to see any day.
Hopefully, that answers your questions, but I've attached the FAQs with answers besides.