DENVER’S MAYORAL RACE Focus on the city’s future

Hancock differs from challengers on best vision for Denver

KEY DATES

  • April 15: Planning board votes on parks plan.
  • April 22: Council holds public hearing and votes on comprehensive and Blueprint plans.
  • May 20: Council holds public hearing and votes on parks plan.

The debate over what Denver’s future should look like is coming into sharper focus as the city’s May election approaches, with Mayor Michael Hancock’s challengers proposing new restrictions on construction and development.

On Wednesday, Penfield Tate’s campaign called for the city to freeze new construction requests until the election has passed. In a statement to The Denver Post, he said there “should be a moratorium on approving any new permits immediately.”

Meanwhile, candidate Jamie Giellis has proposed strict new limits to the rezoning process that many developers use.

Giellis’ and Tate’s proposals arrive just as Hancock is seeking approval for Denveright, a lengthy set of plans for the city’s next 20 years.

Those long-term documents are due for approval by the Denver City Council in the coming months, just as Election Day approaches. Hancock’s best-funded challengers, including Lisa Calderón, all have demanded a delay in approval of the plans.

The administration has defended the plans, saying they’re the result of a years-long process that began in 2015 and involved hundreds of public meetings.

Tate’s permitting moratorium would freeze new construction, potentially including projects that are allowed by law but haven’t received administrative approvals.

“I think some of us are fearful that there will be a rush to the register, to get your project done, when you know it’s going to be held up to more scrutiny come July,” Tate explained in an interview.

He clarified that he’s not asking for a freeze on permits for fences and other small-scale projects, but it would include some projects that are already allowed “by right” under city law. “If it’s any sort of development or any sort of project that’s seeking some kind of waiver or variance, whether by right or not, that ought to be held up,” he said.

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