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Changing the Demolition vs. Designation Paradigm

In a Sept. 30, 2019 meeting, Denver City Council unanimously approved updates to the city’s landmark preservation ordinance, also known as Chapter 30 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code. The updates, which will greatly improve the landmark process with more inclusion and creative problem-solving, include:

  • Shifting the way time is spent during a demolition review process to focus more on collaborative solutions between community members seeking to save buildings and property owners, rather than requiring a push for designation right at the beginning – which creates a “pressure cooker” environment.
  • Adjustments to the designation criteria to be more inclusive of culturally significant resources so that our landmarks and historic districts reflect the full range of Denver’s heritage.

Historic Denver sat on the city-convened, year-long task force that included preservationists, property owners, developers, real estate professionals, and neighborhood residents. The task force had hearty and robust conversations aimed at achieving three goals: outline a better process for rare contentious designations that arise from the demolition review process (such as the Tom’s Diner situation), increase the tools and incentives necessary to proactively encourage designation, and seek opportunities to foster greater diversity among landmarks and historic districts.

Read more about the ordinance changes recommended by the Task Force here.