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Denver's Historic Tennyson Street Feeling Growing Pains As Debate Over Development Continues

DENVER (CBS4)- As more homes and businesses are scrapped along Denver's historic Tennyson Street, the district's new councilwoman says she's working on a plan that will hopefully ease some of the growing pains. When Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval took office in July, she knew part of her mission was to do something about the rapid development on Tennyson.

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It's the neighborhood where she grew up and now raises her own family.

"When the Denver zoning code was updated in 2010 it changed the density along Tennyson and so now we have seen the removal of single family housing and replacement with a lot of slot home housing, is what we call them, and much more density," said Sandoval.

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Sandoval said the zoning laws currently mean developers could turn all of Tennyson Street into apartments if they wanted to and currently, that's the direction things appear to be going.

"They can turn it all into residential, which I think is an unintended consequence of that zone district- in my personal opinion," Sandovol continued, "as retail, you pay higher property tax than you do as a residential."

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Sandoval said as a result, the corridor that once thrived on retail is now forcing many businesses out.

"From 44th north to 46th, a lot of the retail has been wiped out and so what I've been working on with the Regis Berkley United Neighbors, which is the registered neighborhood organization for this area, is what's called an active street use overlay, which would require retail or active street use along the Tennyson corridor."

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Sandoval says in order for her plan to be adopted, it still has to go through the city approval process which could take four to six months.

In the meantime, she plans to host a handful of town hall meetings to gather public input on her proposal.

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Sandoval said she plans to nail down official dates in the near future and will send letters to residents directly impacted by the growth.

"At least there's something that I'm working on and some type of plan that I'm implementing," she said.

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Sandoval is the only council member with a full-time planner on staff to help her work on this very issue. While her plan is months from being potentially adopted, other council members have expressed interest in applying it to their districts.

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