BIG problems with sanctioned camps...details matter!
Results of the BOA hearings
The Board of Adjustment (BOA), who are appointed by the Mayor, denied the appeals for both
1) the revised Determination
2) the site-specific permit of Park Hill United Methodist Church
Four votes were needed to uphold the appeals; both votes were 3-2. Voting for the appeals: Keavney, Elder, Schultz; voting against the appeals: Young, Burkhart.
Board had moments of intellectual honesty
Board members unanimously agreed that Zoning Administrator Tina Axelrad did not adequately consider health and safety impacts. Video here.
"The CVC drug policy violates state and federal law with regard to drugs in proximity to schools and daycares.” Jim Keaveny, Chairman
"This [site] was a foregone conclusion...and the process was adapted to check the boxes and get this thing [permit] issued. Looking at the review and final decision…so many things are outside the normal box and it feels to me…the due diligence is just not there. The Zoning Code…is written for the protection of everybody and it seems to me that they whipped through the process and checked boxes instead of taking time to evaluate the health, safety, and welfare of the pre-school on-site, the neighboring properties, and even the occupants of the camp itself.” Penny Elder, Vice Chairman
"This should have been legislated. This should be a listed use. So now we’re all in this position to swim in ambiguity and decide whether the Zoning Administrator erred or not. I think there should be more rule making behind it and that’s not our job. I have concerns about health and safety; it should be in the Determination, not permit specific.” Charlie Young, Board Member
“We’re being told in the previous hearing that we’ve already voted the other way and it set a precedent. [Permits] are per location and…I don’t feel that they followed the checklist, especially at this location with a school. Just because they say they put the plans in place doesn’t mean the plans are necessarily protecting the school or the surrounding neighbors.” Frank Schultz, Board Member
"One thing I thought was missing...the children’s center belongs to the church. The church didn’t seem to do much except that they wanted something else on their property. The City does not have to work with the neighborhood – that’s not what you have to do for a zoning permit, so it wasn’t the City’s fault, but I would like to have seen more information coming from the church.” Nancy Burkhart, Board Member
SOS sites | coming to YOUR neighborhood soon
On July 26, Mayor Hancock doubled down on SOS camps in his State of the City address, "More tiny home villages, more safe outdoors spaces, and even safe parking spaces."
Housing first = sites/tents/parking provided at no cost
Harm reduction = syringes, sharps containers, tourniquets, cookers, Narcan provided; privacy for drug use in individual tents
Low barrier = no drug test, no breathalyzer, no treatment or sobriety required
7 out of 10 homeless people suffer from addiction to drugs/alcohol and/or mental illness
Services are not required as a condition of residency
“The process Ms. Axelrad and the Colorado Village Collaborative used to create and permit this use as a use-by-right anywhere in the City has been deeply flawed. Had it not been for this small group of appellants, this overreach never would have been exposed. Until the City takes this issue up legislatively in a process that ensures accountability to Denver’s voters and taxpayers, the legitimacy of sanctioned campsites should always be questioned." Sarah Baker, attorney for the Appellants
Read full article HERE.