Who is Influencing the Group Living Amendment?
CPD fails to disclose Washington consultant
Community Planning and Development failed to disclose the full extent of the Group Living Code Amendment, or those who have been paid to influence it, in the "public" process.
Safe and Sound Denver helped reveal the lack of disclosure of Chapter 59 exempt areas; an out-of-state contract has also been uncovered.
A Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request was made to Community Planning and Development (CPD) for contracts related to the Group Living Zoning Code Amendment. CPD produced a contract and two amendments.
A request was also made to the City Clerk, custodian of City contracts. They produced a contract and three amendments.
The contract with Athena Group, LLC and Meagan Picard revealed the Washington state entity and non-Denver resident were paid to influence Denver policy and code, at a cost to Denver taxpayers of $45,097.
Ms. Picard provided protocols for meetings and process, including how decisions were made; communications and public involvement in the process; and the approach to drafting the zoning updates. She was the facilitator of in-person and ZOOM meetings and produced all meeting summaries.
The first sentences in the first paragraph of the original contract's Exhibit A confirms the real priorities of the Group Living Amendment:
"A 2008 moratorium on new Community Corrections Facilities will expire in May of 2018. A public discussion of the current regulations is needed to identify any changes before the Community Corrections Facilities moratorium expires.
Concurrently, other City and nonprofit organization efforts to address homelessness have highlighted other possible shortcomings in related sections of the Denver Zoning Code pertaining to shelter and group living uses."
CPD community presentations emphasized the household definition and number of unrelated/per household.
The larger priorities of this Amendment -- allowing community corrections and homeless shelters in every single-family neighborhood -- were obscured from the public process.
No mention was made of the Athena Group Contract in public presentations or presentations to City Council's Land, Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. This is another example of the lack of transparency of the Group Living Amendment that undermines the public process and the public trust.
City administration, staff, and elected officials are working
to make Denver more like Seattle and other “peer cities.”
Is this what Denverites want?
The Athena Group, LLC
Max amount $26,648
Term: 12/31/2018 (no change)
Hours 222 (+42)
Max amount $33,242 (+$6594)
Term: 12/31/2019 (+ 1 year)
Hours 237 (+15)
Max amount $35,597 (+2355)
Term: no end date
Hours 282 (+45)
Max amount $45,097 (+9500)
Contract to date: 2 yrs, 3 months and beyond | Hours increased 56% | Contract amount increased 69%