Updates with Community Planning and Development approving the off-site parking agreement.
Developers have secured enough parking spaces to proceed with a Five Points project that would provide homes within reach of Denverites who earn less than 30 percent of the area median income.
“Hallelujah,” said Eddie Woolfolk, who has been pursuing her Charity’s House Apartments project for years.
Woolfolk had been looking for a way ahead after the city’s Board of Adjustment for Zoning in July rejected a request to include a total of six parking spaces for residents and staff who will be providing services at Charity’s House. Under zoning rules, 22 spaces were required for the project’s planned 36 units. Oriana Sanchez, a Denver-based project manager for BlueLine Development, which is working with Woolfolk on Charity’s House, said Monday that a lease agreement had been struck for 17 off-site, off-street spaces with a private property owner. The spaces are within 1,500 feet of the site, at 3020, 3022 and 3026 Welton Street, near RTD’s light rail station stop at 30th Avenue and Downing Street.
Laura Swartz, spokeswoman for the city’s Community Planning and Development, said the city approved the off-site parking agreement Sept. 2. The project can now go ahead, without further review from the Board of Adjustment for Zoning.
Sanchez said the off-site parking would cost $7,000 a year under a lease that could be renewed indefinitely.
“It’s a decent chunk of money that will now have to be pulled out of operating expenses every year for parking that will never be used,” Sanchez said.
The developers had analyzed parking patterns for tenants in a total of 280 units in six existing projects in metro Denver that are similar to what is envisioned for Charity’s House. Sanchez said they determined that 6 percent of units had a tenant with a car.
Neighbors told members of the Board of Adjustment for Zoning that they believed more tenants than the developers estimate would have cars and would compete for scarce street parking. Austin Keithler, the board’s technical director, said the board members that voted against the parking variance request felt that the developers were asking too much and providing so few spaces that it would be “too impactful to the neighborhood.”
Lynne Bruning of the Welton Corridor Registered Neighborhood Organization had brought concerns to the board about the possibility of more people parking their cars on the streets. During the public comment period ahead of an August City Council meeting, Bruning raised another issue, calling for more details about people who have been incarcerated who may live at Charity’s House. Bruning also stressed the need for developers to reach out to communities.
Woolfolk said the parking issue had been a major hurdle for her project.
After the decision from the Board of Adjustment for Zoning, “I think a lot of people thought it was just dead,” Woolfolk said. “I thank God that we were able to find alternative parking.”
Houses that now sit on the site have been home to people who have been incarcerated who are in a transitional program Woolfolk has run. The last participants in that program have transferred to other transitional housing or to permanent housing. Woolfolk has been packing up her office in preparation for demolition she hopes will start in the fall.
Woolfolk envisions Charity’s House as a home for people who have experienced homelessness, are disabled or have been in prison. Each of the planned 36 one-bedroom apartments would be restricted to households that earn no more than 30 percent of area median income, which now is $19,500 a year for one person. The restrictions, which would be in place for at least 99 years, would mean one person living alone at Charity’s House would pay no more than $540 a month if the building were ready to rent today.