Cherry Creek zoning proposal aims to enhance sustainability, pedestrian experience

DENVER — A zoning committee compiled to analyze the development of Cherry Creek’s mixed-use district released its recommendations for new, custom zoning to city planners Wednesday.

After eight months of examining and conversing about how to improve the multi-functional nature of Cherry Creek’s mixed-use district — this encompasses the area bordered by University Boulevard, Steele Street, 3rd Avenue and 1st Avenue — the Cherry Creek Technical Task Force presented its new neighborhood development proposal to be considered by the Denver Planning Board and Denver City Council.

According to a release from the City and County of Denver’s Community Planning and Development Department, the recommendations are based on the task force’s aspirations  to maintain the character of the Cherry Creek neighborhood while facilitating opportunities for growth in residential and business ventures. The task force also crafted the new zoning plan in the hopes to improve the neighborhood’s pedestrian experience.

“These recommendations create a great path forward, balancing the need for reinvestment with the desire to retain and enhance what we all love about Cherry Creek,” said District 10 councilwoman Jeanne Robb. “The task force members are dedicated to what’s best for Cherry Creek, and together they devoted hundreds of hours to this project.”

Some of the task force’s key zoning recommendations included:

  • Building heights that transition down from 2nd Avenue to 3rd Avenue, respecting adjacent neighborhoods and retaining sunlight on 3rd Avenue.
  • Parking requirements comparable to other “urban centers” in the city, but adjusted to Cherry Creek’s needs as a regional shopping district.
  • Buildings are required to have active storefronts, ground-floor transparency and setbacks to improve pedestrian experience.
  • Incentives for providing publicly accessible open space.
  • Incentives and exemptions for small lots to encourage reinvestment in small lots and buildings.
  • Allowing a more diverse mix of uses, including hotels and limited outdoor sales.

The new plan came on the heels of the Cherry Creek Area Plan, which was created in 2012 in response to the neighborhood not being included in the city of Denver’s 2010 updated zoning codes, stated the release from the city of Denver. More than 1,000 residents, business owners and other local stakeholders contributed to the area plan, which called for new zoning in Cherry Creek’s mixed-use district.

A summary of the task force’s recommendations was released by Denver’s Community Planning and Development Department at DenverGov.org/CherryCreek.

Planners said the public can now offer comments and ask questions before the plan heads the Denver Planning Board and Denver City Council for formal consideration. They added that they will post an official draft of the code in the weeks to comes.