UHNC RNO Open Board meeting
November 16, 2021
Attending: Jenny, Liz, Paul, Steve, Terry, Jody, Jay B., Susan, Sherry and guest Travis Leiker
Approval of Meeting Minutes - The Board referred to the minutes from the October 19, 2021 meeting. On a motion duly made and seconded, the minutes were unanimously- Approved.
Community Business Items
Jenny discussed the marketing of the Community organization and noted that the design of business card had been completed. The Board approved the printing of the business cards. Sherry indicated that she is working getting the order for the cards submitted and will let Jenny and Liz know when they have arrived. Jenny and Sherry successfully setup the mailchimp account and the agenda was sent using that format.
Travis Leiker, president and executive director for Capitol hill United Neighbors, gave a presentation concerning the Unhoused Action Coalition (the “Coalition”). He described the existing temporary housing and safe spaces around Denver. He identified the organizations in the Coalition. He reviewed the 10 action items of the Coalition. He noted that some of the initiatives to address homelessness in Denver included tiny houses, and the purchase or leasing of motels, in an effort to establish inclusionary housing. In response to a question from a Community member, Travis indicated that a vote FOR support for the Coalition was a vote FOR support of the 10 point action plan. He informed the Community that the Coalition was seeking to expand the geographic reach of the Coalition. A discussion of Safe Outdoor Spaces (“SOS”) sites and good neighbor agreements ensued. Travis informed the Community that he would forward a sample of the good neighbor agreement used by the Coalition. He indicated that one of the goals of the Coalition was to establish SOSs and safe parking areas in outlying areas of Denver such as the Community. He noted that one of the goals of the Coalition was also to expedite the process within the City and County of Denver, particularly with respect to reporting homeless encampments. A Community member asked if the Coalition had been able to turn former SOS opponents and Travis indicated that they had. When asked if people or groups were opposed to the Coalition and its action plan, and Travis indicated that neighborhoods were grappling with the homelessness problem and having SOSs or unofficial encampments in their neighborhood but that there was not direct opposition to the Coalition itself, noting that people are wary of SOSs or safe parking areas in their neighborhood, but that many were receptive to SOSs over unstructured encampments. Travis described how Registered Neighborhood Organizations participated in the Coalition. A discussion of the Denver STAR Program ensued. The Support Team Assisted Response (The STAR Program) deploys Emergency Response Teams that include Emergency Medical Technicians and Behavioral Health Clinicians to engage individuals experiencing crises related to mental health issues, poverty, homelessness, and substance abuse. A broad discussion of homelessness and the Community ensued. After the discussion, upon a motion duly made and seconded, it was resolved that the Community would support the Coalition.
Community Developments -
Rezoning – Jenny described a zoning initiative proposed by Councilor Kendra Black. The zoning change would expand an already approved change to prohibit storage facilities and drive through restaurants in proximity to light rail stations, and also increase the permissible height restrictions associated with those properties. Councilor Black will be revising her original letter for support and Jenny and Liz will provide any updates to this effort when/if available.
Neighborhood Planning Initiative – Jenny reminded the Community of the ongoing neighborhood planning initiative. She further reminded the Community that the powers that be do consider the input from the public when making long-term decisions relating to planning and zoning. Jenny encouraged anyone so inclined to provide input to the neighborhood planning initiative.
YMCA – Jenny provided an update on the redevelopment of the Schlessman/University Hills YMCA. She informed the Community that the redevelopment involved a land swap with a developer whereby more vertical development to possibly include retail/residential would be permitted in exchange for development of an improved and more modern YMCA facility. A discussion, including discussion of the impact on surrounding property, ensued. Pursuant to the discussion it was noted that the property is technically not part of the Community but nonetheless the YMCA is an asset important to the Community.
Safer Streets Initiative – Jenny described the ongoing Safer Streets Initiative covering Buchtel Road east of University to Colorado Station and including Evans and Colorado Blvd. She informed the Community, to the disappointment thereof, that the cross of Evans at Birch and Evans was no longer part of the study. A brief discussion of the deficiencies of the crossing and the difficult access to Colorado Station from the south ensued. Jenny encouraged Community members to complete the ongoing (Ending in late November) survey relating to the Safer Streets Initiative. University Safer Streets
Jenny informed the Community that a Community Clean Up day was being proposed by a Community member and that information would be forthcoming, with an expected date scheduled in February.
Jenny informed the Community that the Board was seeking developer updates for ongoing projects within the Community and was looking to get developer participation at upcoming meetings of the Community.
Next Meeting - It was determined that the next meeting of the Board would be January 18, 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.