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Limited Parking Fuels 'Micro-Apartment' Zoning Proposal Debate

DENVER (CBS4) - The Denver City Council will discuss a zoning proposal that centers on parking after controversy spiked in one neighborhood over two "micro-apartment" buildings.

The complex is being built near 16th and Humboldt Street in the City Park West neighborhood close to several health centers. Many people living claim this is not a good location for the complex.

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While residents lost an appeal to stop construction, they still fought the city on the parking issues the apartments would create. The apartments consist of 100 units averaging 350 square feet. Under what some consider a zoning loophole, the complex doesn't have to include parking.

The President of the Humboldt Street Neighborhood Association told CBS4 last fall that the neighborhood has limited street parking, but the city approved a permit for the apartments under a city zoning code that doesn't require a builder to provide parking on lots that are smaller than 6,250 square feet.

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According to the Denverite, the issue is the small lot parking exemption, a component of Denver's zoning code that allowed developers in certain mixed-use zones to skip the parking when they develop lots that are 6,250 square feet or smaller.

There's a moratorium in place on using that exemption and last month the city council voted to advance a proposal that would require parking after the first two stories for projects close to transit and after the first story for those further out.

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"We just don't believe that this particular project, with the level of density and impact it is going to have particularly in that fragile population, is really a good idea," Bill Vanderlan, President of the Humboldt Street Neighborhood Association told CBS4.

The City plans to hear public comment and if the vote is passed, it would require developers to provide parking for all residents.

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Those in favor of the project said the style of apartments are the future of Denver, especially with the city's rapid growth and high living costs, adding there is plenty of public transportation nearby. Vanderlan told CBS4 he and several of his neighbors are not necessarily against adding apartments to the area, but they are not fans of the lack of parking.

Construction of the project could begin before the end of the year.

Those wishing to speak at Monday's city council meeting must sign up before the meeting begins at 5:30 p.m.

Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015. She is currently the morning show reporter, which means she is always on the go, covering a wide variety of breaking local news and important local events. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary

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