Denver Council weighs moratorium on garden court housing; Cherry Creek development caught in middle

Residents worry development won't fit in
Posted at 9:46 PM, Jul 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 00:50:23-04

DENVER, Colo. -- A plan to turn a Cherry Creek greenhouse into apartments is sitting in limbo. The Denver City Council is weighing a temporary one-year moratorium on garden court townhomes.

The garden court style is essentially townhomes with a space, or garden, area in between. Several city councilors are concerned developers are misinterpreting the original zoning intentions.

"They're basically now creating apartment buildings separating them by 15 foot gaps and renting those units out and that's how they're manipulating this form," said Rafael Espinoza, Denver City Councilman.

According to the city, there are at least five pending proposals that fall within the garden court category.

The greenhouse site in Cherry Creek is located in a residential area at Second and Garfield. The property has been in Paula Newberry-Arnold's family since 1947. She said she is waiting to hear the city council's decision before moving forward.

"There was no plans to change the zoning when we started this, we were doing exactly what we were allowed to do," said Newberry-Arnold.

Plans submitted to the city call for 30 apartments with 36 parking spaces. Newberry-Arnold points out she would've liked to build condos or townhomes, but said it would've been too expensive due to construction defect laws.

Residents have collected approximately 500 signatures on a petition against the project. They're concerned about the amount of people that would be concentrated in the area, and a lack of parking.

"It's really not compatible with the surrounding neighborhood," said Bob Vogel, President of the Cherry Creek Neighborhood Association.

Just a couple blocks away at First and Harrison, a garden court apartment building recently went up.

City officials tell Denver7 they've been aware of the concerns regarding garden court style housing and plan to take a closer look at zoning code currently on the books.

Council sent the proposed moratorium back to committee for further discussion.