Sample Letter of Concern
Dear Board of Adjustment for Zoning Appeals:
I’m reaching out to you today to share my concerns with the plan for the development project presented by Alliance Residential for 18th and Marion. To begin, this project would add pressure onto neighborhood parking (which is already stressed in the neighborhood), and hamper the flow of Metro Caring’s loading operations in the alley. More importantly, the size and density of the project is tone deaf to the history of the vibrant, mixed income community on which these lots are situated. The project as proposed includes zero affordable units and skews toward studios, one and two bedrooms (rather than family units).
As a [volunteer, participant, staff, board member] of Metro Caring, the current development plan impacts our community in a variety of ways. I am passionate about the mission of Metro Caring, because we are ending hunger at its root by building community, providing tools to thrive, and nourishing our neighbors with our healthy food market. Annually, Metro Caring relies on that alley and neighborhood parking to accommodate over 60,000 visits from participants, and 7,000 volunteer shifts. On average, we receive 54,600 pounds of food per week and distribute from dozens of trucks that travel through the alley daily to make that all happen.
Further, half of Denver’s renters, regardless of income level are rent-burdened (paying over a third of their monthly income on rent). When residents spend more than they can afford to keep a roof over their heads, they have to come to Metro Caring to put food on the table. These days, over 75 percent of households who come through our doors are working – often two or three jobs – to try and make ends meet. The recent government shutdown showcased the upsetting reality that far too many Americans are one or two paychecks away from hunger and homelessness, and unable to weather even temporary financial hardship without relying on services like those provided at Metro Caring. This isn’t because they don’t work hard or that they spend too much on the fancy cable. It’s often the case because their housing costs too much.
Denver simply doesn’t need more luxury apartments; there’s a glut on this type of housing already. We need housing for families, and for the middle class and low-wage earners. We heard from our Denver Public School teachers this week that they can’t afford to live in the city they teach our children in. We heard stories of teachers in their forties forced to live with roommates and take on second jobs after hours in order to live in Denver City limits. If our teachers, nurses, and firefighters can’t afford to live in Denver, how can we expect our auto mechanics and retail workers to afford housing here? I am deeply concerned that the addition of two eight-story buildings of luxury apartments will accelerate the displacement underway in our city, forever changing the character of our community.
In the Denver Metro Area, there is a deficit of 61,066 affordable units for people living at or below 30 percent of Area Medium Income (AMI), and an 86,640 deficit for people living at or below 50 percent AMI, while 5.8% of apartments ran vacant in Denver as of the 4th quarter of 2018. This speaks to the need not for more high-end studios but for housing for average residents at a range of attainable rental rates.
Thank you for your time-