Referred Questions 2M and 2N results: zoning and protest petition rules likely to be updated

Denverites are deciding whether to change how zoning variances work and who gets to protest zoning decisions.
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The South Platte River and downtown Denver, viewed from a northeast angle. Dec. 3, 2021.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Denver voters appear to be enthusiastically in favor of updating 100-year-old zoning rules by widely supporting Referred Question 2M and Referred Question 2N.

Regarding  Referred Question 2M, 73.5% are in favor. If passed, the measure would strike several pages from the city charter about the Board of Adjustment, the group that hears zoning complaints and requests for exceptions to zoning code. This would not get rid of the Board of Adjustment.

That's because the body is also established in Denver zoning code. But if Council ever wanted to change who's in charge of these decisions, it could do so without a vote of the people.

This measure will also expand the reasons people can request zoning variances. Those might include allowing variances to increase affordability or preserve trees -- two reasons for variances that are not currently allowed.

Regarding  Referred Question 2N, nearly 68.5% are in favor. This would limit which property owners can participate in rezoning protest petitions.Property owners who live outside of Denver are currently allowed to participate in protest petitions against rezonings in the city. Those petitions can force City Council to need a supermajority to approve rezonings. If Referred Question 2N passes, only Denverites will be allowed to participate in such protest petitions.

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