More on Scrape Offs
Kudos to councilwoman Jeane Robbe for setting up this committee. However even though the scrape offs will continue, I DON’T see addressed issues regarding the NEW homes replacing the small bungalows: i.e. height of home and distance from property lines. These aspects tend to harm neighbors the most, when a brand new home is built too tall in relation to the other older homes, rather than low and flat.
“Scrape-off” scuffles tackled
By George Merritt
Denver Post Staff Writer
The Denver City Council on Monday tried to solve the neighborhood clashes over housing demolitions that pit preservationists against property-rights advocates.
The council unanimously passed a bill to let neighbors know if a potentially significant home or building is up for demolition. But the bill also provides property owners the ability to get a certificate clearing a structure for demolition for up to five years.
The bill, developed out of a series of meetings with stakeholders, is an attempt at appeasing both sides of the so called “scrape-off” issue that has split many city neighborhoods.
Peter Park, Denver’s manager of community planning and development, said the new system “defined a more certain process” for everyone involved.
And historic-preservation consultant Lisa Purdy said the plan would help “avoid some of the ‘hostile designations”‘ – where neighbors try to have a home or building designated as historic over the objections of the property owner.
Housing demolitions have become a major issue for several Denver neighborhoods as developers increasingly answer market desires for larger homes in the city. In 2005, scrape-offs increased by 77 percent.
Councilwoman Jeanne Robb convened the panel representing historians, preservationists, real-estate agents and developers, among others, to find solutions.
The plan they devised is twofold:
Any application for demolition will now go through a three-tiered review process. If the structure is deemed to be a candidate for landmark designation, the application will be posted and neighbors notified.
The plan also creates a certification process to rule out a property as a potential historic structure that is good for five years. The certificate effectively allows property owners clearance for demolition if they so choose.
Dave Burrell, a local historian, told the council he was concerned about the demolition process. He said significant homes would be cleared for demolition because the initial steps do not go far enough.