DENVER (CBS4) – A new measure passed Denver City Council allowing new affordable housing units to be built without parking lots. Residents in neighborhoods that would be impacted by the change -- including Montclair, Hale, Mayfair, East Colfax and Park Hill -- are speaking out. Many are part of a group called "Denver East Neighborhood First."
"I expected this was going to happen. I was disappointed," said Shane Sutherland. He's lived in Park Hill for decades.
"I'm not anti-affordable housing. I'm actually part of the affordable housing committee," Sutherland told CBS4's Mekialaya White.
He says for months he's aided in developing a plan for the community. However, when council members approved the plan on Monday night, they left out something crucial: the residents it would impact.
"I think they should've had a community meeting or two, or brought it up in the steering committee," he said. "A lot of my opposition is to Amendment 0424 ... that would reduce parking requirements if someone builds more affordable housing."
Sutherland and some other residents there say cars are crammed in those neighborhoods. They're worried the decision will crowd an already sparse parking scene.
The issue was debated by city leaders as well. Councilmembers like Amanda Sandoval, whose district includes part of Colfax, have said the city needs to be focused on housing people, not cars. Under the plan, affordable housing units must be near a public transit center.
Sutherland says that's still not enough.
"[The people affected] are teachers, firefighters, police officers, in these categories. Working people that are going to have cars. This idea that they're not going to have cars is a nonstarter," says Sutherland.
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