Ruby Hill-Godsman January 2016 Meeting Notes

Neighbors gather for a presentation from Colorado Public Radio during a Ruby Hill-Godsman Neihgborhood Association meeting.

Present

Officers: Sharona Thompson, Ruby Hill President; Scott Bolt, Godsman President

Members: ~50 neighbors and guests

Also Present:

  • Mara Owen, president of Overland Park Neighborhood Association (OPNA)
  • Maggie Thompson, aide to District 7 City Councilman Jolon Clark
  • Jay Morein, Chief Operating Officer for Denver Human Services
  • Jesse Granger,‎ Public Relations Manager for Denver Human Services
  • Jenny Gentry, Senior Vice President of Finance & Administration at Colorado Public Radio (CPR)
  • Olga Garcia, Manager of Community Relations for Denver Health
  • Jim Bershof, Principal at Oz Architecture
  • Lauren Cameron, Public Relations Manager at CPR
  • Curt Upton, Senior City Planner for the City of Denver
  • Bruce O’Donnell, President at Starboard Realty Group
  • Steve Charbonneau, Executive Director of Community Mediation Concepts

Discussed

  • Opened with introductions.
  • Olga Garcia from the Southwest Family Health Center spoke about the new urgent care and primary care health center that is opening in April. It is located on S. Federal Blvd. between Arkansas and Louisiana Avenues.
    • The 45,000 square foot clinic is Denver Health’s ninth clinic and will be the “jewel of the network”.
    • Denver Health’s mission is about level one care for all, and to provide affordable, accessible health care. No one will be turned away for lack of insurance.
    • There will be an open house, though no date has been set. There will also be tours scheduled.
    • The clinic will provide primary care services such as immunizations, pediatrics, women’s care, men’s care. Unlike other clinics, the Southwest Family Health Center will also have ophthalmology (vision), podiatry, radiology, and other specialties. It will have extended hours and an urgent care center.
    • There will be an accessible community room, primarily used to educate community, through courses and accessible programming.
    • There will be Vietnamese and Latino “community navigators” as well as 143 full-time staff. Jobs are available! They want to hire from the community. Visit the Denver Health website Careers page for open positions. Denver Health will be hosting overviews of their online application process in local recreation centers and libraries in the neighborhood. We will add the next overview to our events list when we learn of it. [ed. note: two events have been added 1/30/16]
    • There is a Denver Health enrollment van that neighbors can visit for help signing up for Medicaid and Medicare. It is stationed across the street from the new clinic in the Lowes Mercado shopping center once a week. Check the January calendar with the dates it will be available and numbers you can call for appointments.
    • The Southwest Family Health Center’s pharmacy will open in July. Until then, they are working to put in place agreements with nearby King Soopers and Walgreens for prescription fulfillment.
    • There are also school-based clinics where Denver Health employees work with school nurses to provide healthcare such as immunizations to local children.
  • Jesse Granger from the Communications Department of Denver Human Services (DHS) and Jay Morein, COO from Denver Human Services spoke next to inform neighbors of their resources for reporting child abuse and neglect.
    • After a child death from abuse this summer, the Denver Mayor made a call to action to DHS and their visit is part of increasing awareness in the community.
    • Few reports are coming from people other than those who are mandated to report abuse and neglect (doctors, teachers, etc).
    • The community can observe behaviors and report them to DHS to prevent abuse. The number to call is 1-844-CO4KIDS.
    • 96% of fatalities from abuse and neglect are children under the age of five.
    • Mr. Morein asked neighbors questions from a survey DHS is conducting. A paper copy of the survey was handed out and can also be found online.
    • Q&A followed, with neighbors asking questions about the definition of neglect, who to call if abuse is witnessed (911 if in progress, 1-844-CO-4-KIDS if suspected), the process DHS goes through when a complaint is received, multi-cultural/multi-language resources, etc.
    • Find contact information, services, and learn more at the DHS website.
  • Mara Owen, president of Overland Park Neighborhood Association and Sharona provided background on the process undertaken with Colorado Public Radio (CPR) beginning last summer, in which CPR came to various neighborhood associations to discuss their ideas about what to do with the land they own off Jewell Ave. near Ruby Hill Park. A sub-committee of neighbors (members present in the audience were asked to raise their hands) has been working together to discuss possibilities for a new CPR headquarters located on the property. The process is a new and novel one the City is piloting in which no applications or paperwork is submitted and no design work is begun until CPR has gathered input from neighbors about what they would and would not want.
  • Jenny Gentry, Senior Vice President of Finance & Administration at CPR outlined the work done with the sub-committee thus far.
    • This started because CPR’s current 36,000 square foot space in Centennial is no longer working for them. They began looking at the property they own in Ruby Hill.
    • Other than the desire to have a building, parking, and a tower, they have no pre-conceived plans for the space. They do not want to spend money on planning, development, or design, without understanding if it is something that can be done and if they can work with the community to meet the community’s needs as well as their own.
    • CPR is looking to create a plan that has predictability for the neighborhood so we know what to expect, and flexibility for CPR so they can use it.
    • If CPR determines they can get to the zoning process, they would need to fundraise money for three to four years. If each step of the process goes well, they would love to break ground for their 50th anniversary in 2020.
    • Neighbors from the sub-committee have provided input on parking placement (away from homes on the west side of the property), parking lot materials for drainage, lighting, and on zoning uses amongst other things.
    • One of the neighbors bordering the property measured the 80 foot setback and concluded that the distance from the end of his yard to the building envelope was actually pretty far.
    • The current tower with its guy wires might be prioritized for replacement with an upgraded self-supporting tower.
    • CPR would make sure the path leading to the bus stop on Florida and to the park would be paved and well lit. They are also working with Denver Parks and Recreation to discuss shared parking and access.
    • CPR intends to build capacity and room for growth—the building can be a maximum of two stories (as dictated by zoning requirements) and they are considering a maximum of 100,000 square feet, although they have not gone as far as a needs study at this point.
    • Neighbors asked Ms. Gentry questions about lighting (will be dictated by zoning requirements), traffic (will be low-impact due to variable working hours of staff), safety (will be greater than existing due to occupancy of property), access (will be from Jewell but details still to be determined), and upkeep (property will be maintained).
  • Curt Upton, Senior City Planner for the City of Denver spoke about how he’s been involved in drafting a customized planned unit development (PUD) zoning district for the property with CPR and neighbors from the sub-committee.
    • The PUD contains two components: 1) Design Standards that dictate access, building height, setbacks, lighting, and placement (but not architectural style); and 2) Uses that restrict certain things the neighborhood would find disruptive as well as that ensure the site is flexible enough to be useful in the future.
    • The site is currently zoned Residential/Office. Neighbors have been involved in a discussion of what uses would be appropriate in this location, both for CPR and for the future if CPR ever sells the property. A working draft of these uses green-lights Allowed Uses (like office, single-unit residential, urban garden, community center, etc.), yellow-lights Allowed Only with Additional Review Uses (like multi-unit dwellings, education, retail sales, etc.), and red-lights Not Allowed Uses (like corrections facilities, mining, adult businesses, waste related services, etc).
    • Yellow-lit uses would require the City to either notify the neighborhood association and hold a public hearing, or would just have limitations attached—an example given was if CPR would like to have a gift shop (retail sales) it might be limited in size based on the PUD, while if a developer wanted to build a multi-unit dwelling, it might be required to first hold public hearings.
    • Neighbors are encouraged to voice feedback now in the open environment of the sub-committee rather than after applications are filed and the public hearing process is begun. Use our private comment form to ask questions, request more information, or provide feedback of any kind.
    • Neighbors are also encouraged to think long term and cautioned against zoning that is too customized, which, in other areas has led to buildings and property left vacant because developers can’t do anything with them.
    • Neighbors asked Mr. Upton and Ms. Gentry questions about the transmission dishes (should not provide interference), subletting space (CPR has no plans for this), how to provide input on future multi-unit dwelling possibilities (contact Sharona, comment publicly below, or use our private comment form).
  • A vote was taken of neighbors present of whether to provide CPR with a formal letter of support from the neighborhood. The vote passed unanimously. As a result of this, CPR will file an application with the city and a formal process will be started. CPR emphasized that this will still entail plenty of conversation with the community and work from the sub-committee, and neighbors are encouraged to continue to provide input.
  • Mara from OPNA talked about the Evans Bridge mural, which is helping to make the Evans Bridge more pedestrian-friendly. An Athmar Park artist designed the mural and the community (including neighbors from Ruby-Hill Godsman) volunteered to paint by numbers during Phase I, which is now complete. Phase II is being planned and neighbors can sign up to help here. OPNA also petitioned the City for new pedestrian signals at the bridge, which were installed this past weekend and include a countdown timer.
  • Scott spoke about the I-25/Broadway redevelopment (by Broadway Station Partners) and encouraged neighbors to have a Ruby Hill-Godsman presence at the public meetings. 3,000 units are going into that area, and Scott’s three main areas of concern are: 1) Why isn’t RTD involved, 2) What are the plans for parking and congestion in that area, and 3) How are we going to get a bridge to connect the east side and west side? These areas remain unresolved. Scott met with other neighborhoods and together they requested a 45-day continuance to push a hearing on this before the City Council to April.
  • Neighbors voted to have the I-25/Broadway developers come back and present next month.
  • Scott then reminded neighbors about the meeting next week where Levitt Pavilion will be on hand to show what they think the amphitheater will look like. This will be a chance for neighbors from the seven surrounding neighborhoods to ask questions regarding parking, security, noise, and anything else. An officer liaison from the District 4 Police will be on hand as well as they are interested in the subject of security for the amphitheater. The meeting start time has been changed to 6:45 pm and will take place in the Godsman Elementary School cafeteria. Enter from the Arkansas side; there will be signs directing neighbors to the cafeteria.

For speakers requesting corrections to any of the above information, or for neighbors requesting more information, please use our contact form.

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