outside of the civic center cultural complex at night. directional sign showing parking location

Golden Triangle Zoning & Design project update

Council District 10 and CPD are nearing the end of the process to update Golden Triangle's zoning and design standards and guidelines. Learn more about the key outcomes of this project.

Project summary

Starting in early 2019, Community Planning and Development began working with area residents, business owners, and neighborhood representatives to create new zoning and design standards for Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood. CPD has been evaluating all relevant zoning aspects including building form, height, uses, and street-level design characteristics to implement the recommendations of the Golden Triangle Neighborhood Plan.

The project includes updating design standards and guidelines to address more qualitative design aspects recommended by the plan, along with design review by the recently enabled Downtown Design Advisory Board.

The Golden Triangle (the Civic Center statistical area) is located on the southern end of downtown Denver, bound by Speer Boulevard, Colfax Avenue, and Lincoln Street. It is home to the Civic Center Park, Denver Art Museum, the Denver Public Library’s Central Branch, and several historic landmarks. The Golden Triangle offers a unique, culturally-rich mix of uses, history, and character.

What is zoning?

Zoning is a set of rules that govern the uses, size, and basic design characteristics of development allowed on private property.

For example, zoning establishes quantitative rules about how tall a building can be, how far the building must be set back from the property line, and what uses are allowed within the building.

All land parcels within the City and County of Denver are designated by specific zone districts and the rules for each are defined in the Denver Zoning Code. The zoning that applies to most of the neighborhood is named Downtown–Golden Triangle, or D-GT.

What are design guidelines?

Design guidelines apply more qualitative guidance for the design of buildings and their immediate surroundings.

Because zoning tends to be inflexible and applies the same basic rules across wide areas, design guidelines are sometimes used as a supplemental tool to guide a case-by-case review of the architectural details of proposed projects. The Golden Triangle currently has design guidelines.

Why is this needed?

The D-GT zone district was last revised in 1994 and the design guidelines were last updated in 2002, so a key recommendation in the Golden Triangle Neighborhood Plan was to update the rules to better align with current neighborhood goals and priorities.

In 2014, neighborhood stakeholders collaborated with City staff and City Council to create and adopt the Golden Triangle Neighborhood Plan. The Neighborhood Plan established a vision for the future and described strategies to support an Eclectic, Connected, Creative, and Livable Golden Triangle.

What is the purpose?

The Golden Triangle Neighborhood Plan includes many recommendations and strategies to improve the design quality, mixed-use activity, and pedestrian experience within the Golden Triangle.

The proposed changes are intended to:

  • Encourage an eclectic mix of land uses, building sizes, and development types
  • Promote a broad range of housing opportunities
  • Reduce the physical and visual impacts of large parking structures
  • Support the protection/reuse of existing buildings
  • Ensure an improved pedestrian experience through thoughtful building design, highly active ground floor uses, and outdoor public gathering spaces

Project timeline

GT Zoning and Design updated project timeline anticipates drafting and public review in Q1 of 2021 and the adoption process in Q2 of 2021.
GT Zoning & Design updated project timeline

Due to COVID-19, the project timeline was delayed by multiple months. We are now incredibly close to the finish line, which will require plan adoption by City Council. We anticipate the next opportunity for public review will happen soon (early Spring 2021), and we want constituents ready when that opportunity arises. The adoption process should take place in Q2 of this year, and Council District 10 will sponsor the legislation.

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