May 2014

 
Councilwoman Kniech, Mayor Hancock, Denver County Judge John Marcucci and formerly homeless Denver resident Sean Stevenson at the
Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community for homeless individuals Councilwoman Kniech first met Mr. Stevenson at Project Homeless Connect in the Fall of 2013.  He has been living at Ft. Lyons, working at the commissary, and maintaining his sobriety for more than five months.   

 

In this Issue

Welcome from Councilwoman Kniech

We Mean Business: Fresh Produce and Cottage Food Sales

Bottom Line: Multimodal and Affordable Housing Priorities for 2015 Budget

Sustainable City: Solid Waste Modernization

Urban Tapestry

City Snapshots

Find Us on the Web

www.denvergov.org/robinkniech

 Follow Robin Kniech, Denver City Council At-Large

 Follow us on Twitter @KniechAtLarge


In the Media

The Denver Post

Denver may OK front-yard sales of home-grown produce, eggs, and honey

Life on Capitol Hill: Council Corner

Healthful Foods, Neighbor to Neighbor

The North Denver Tribune

Fresh Produce and Cottage Food Sales Laws

Washington Park Profile

Making Fresh Food A Menu Staple In Every Zip Code

 

Upcoming Events

Mayor Hancock's "Cabinet in the Community" with special introduction from Councilwoman Robin Kniech 

Saturday, May 31st, 2014
9:00am - 11:00am
Merrill Middle School 
1551 S. Monroe Street              

Electronics Recycling Collection Event

Saturday, June 7th, 2014
9:00am - 1:00pm
Metech Recycling
500 W. 53rd Place

For more city events click here.  


Useful Numbers  

Police Non-Emergency: (720) 913-2000.

Denver Recycles: (720) 865-6900

Denver Channel 8: (720) 865-2308

Call 3-1-1 for:

Graffiti Removal

Non-Emergency & Info

Parking Management

Neighborhood Inspection Services

Noise Violations

Animal Control

Permits & Licenses

Spring: A Welcome from Councilwoman Kniech  

 

This weekend's grand opening of Denver Union Station took more than a decade of leadership from the city, state, region and RTD, as well as federal innovation and private sector development financing.  But the opening was also a personally moving moment for me, because so much of my own evolution as a leader involved the Union Station project.  I am proud of my early work with a coalition of community organizations to ensure fair wages for service workers, apprenticeship training, LEED standards, and yes, finally, affordable housing, would be a part of the finished product.  It was my appointment to the Denver Union Station Project Authority in late 2008 that really changed my life, though.  For the first time, I sat at a decision-making table as part of a team overseeing half a billion taxpayer dollars.  I learned the intricacies of transportation financing, the rhythm of a large infrastructure project, and the tensions of joining vision with reality.  Private development was as important to financing this project as construction apprentices and journeymen were to building it, proving that good outcomes can involve and benefit all these constituencies.  My part in this project was so very tiny, but its role in my life and in the future of this community is truly monumental.  The 2014 Union Station opening is just the beginning.  We have decades of new, future transportation investment and connections to plan for, and I look forward to working with similarly diverse constituencies, from low-wage commuters to regional transportation policy funders, at the drawing board that will write that future. 

Alongside multi-modal transportation, local food is another sustainability priority for 2014.  This spring, I am sponsoring my first-ever legislation coordinated with the season: a zoning amendment to allow sales of Fresh Produce and Cottage Foods as a home occupation.  I am thankful for the engaged communities who researched and developed this proposal, the best work at the City is done in partnerships like these. 

Dozens of partners, from market developers to affordable housing advocates and service providers, continue to provide valuable feedback on proposed revisions to the City's Inclusionary Housing Ordinance.  We announced a concept for the new ordinance in April, it will be run through an economic testing model in May, and based on those results we expect to have a proposed ordinance for consideration this summer.  While important as a policy tool, Inclusionary Housing is only one small aspect of the solutions we need to keep Denver affordable for a mix of families, which is why a city-wide plan and a permanent, annual, sustainable source of local funding for affordable housing are priorities for the 2015 budget 

Forward. Together.

  

 

Councilwoman Robin Kniech     

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We Mean Business: Fresh Produce and Cottage Food Sales

With spring in the air, a stroll through any Denver neighborhood on a weekend afternoon will find residents of all ages prepping or tending to their garden, pulling weeds or planting seeds.  A zoning code amendment I am proposing would allow residents to turn that hard work into a little extra income.  I am partnering with the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council, the LiveWell Denver Regional Collaborative, and my colleagues Councilmembers Shepherd and Brooks, to sponsor an amendment to the Denver Zoning Code which would allow the sale of raw, uncut fruits and vegetables and low-risk value-added “cottage foods” as a residential home occupation.  

By allowing direct neighbor to neighbor sales, we can improve access to affordable, fresh food for families across the City, and most importantly, for low and moderate-income communities struggling with access to healthy produce.  At the same time, direct sale of home grown fruits and vegetables can provide opportunities for a family to earn extra income, and contribute to Mayor Hancock’s goal of increasing the amount of Denver’s food that is locally sourced.  On May 7, 2014, the Amendment was approved by the Planning Board and is on a schedule for a public hearing and final consideration from the City Council on June 16.  Learn more about the proposed zoning amendment and other ways to promote a sustainable, healthy Denver

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Bottom Line: Multimodal and Affordable Housing Priorities for 2015 Budget

Each spring, City Council comes together for an annual retreat to discuss funding, programs, and priorities for the following budget year.  While the thirteen members bring diverse backgrounds and unique visions for Denver, Council found common goals again this year on some very important issues.  The top priority for 2014 was once again multi-modal transportation planning, safety, and infrastructure, including exploration of how we might provide the more localized transit services we need within Denver, safety for bikes and pedestrians, and managing parking and density. 

Affordable housing initiatives also ranked very highly again this year.  Specific priorities include developing a citywide housing plan, finding a sustainable source of funding for preserving and building mixed-income housing, and creating a 24 hour rest and resource center for the homeless.  These housing goals are responsive to feedback from our 2013 citizen survey which found that “quality affordable housing” ranked as the least satisfactory characteristic in the City, lower even than parking.   Read more about specific budget proposals to support affordable housing and the full list of Council budget priorities.

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Sustainable City: Solid Waste Modernization

A summer filled with weekend barbeques and fresh vegetables from the garden sometimes leaves us with more waste than usual.  But where should it all go?  About 75% of what we throw away is actually “good stuff” that can be recycled or composted instead of thrown in the trash, but Denver’s rate of doing so is less than half the national average.  Over the past two years I have worked with my colleagues and city departments to speed the pace of modernizing our solid waste collection system and expanding recycling and composting programs.  With urging from Councilwoman Robb and I, the Mayor’s Office and Public Works created a Solid Waste Master Plan Implementation Task Force to get a plan on paper.  With broad input from experts, stakeholders, and neighborhood representatives, the Task Force is responsible for making recommendations on how best to implement our existing Master Plan, modernize Denver’s solid waste system, increase “diversion” from the landfill, and also how best to educate residents on using waste programs more effectively.  Click here to read more, including updates on the progress.

 

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Urban Tapestry

Councilwoman Kniech reading to preschoolers at Valdez Elementary School.

Councilwoman Kniech alongside Representatives Crisanta Duran and Max Tyler at a press conference announcing new programs to expand charging stations for electric vehicles.  

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City Snapshots

  9th Annual Kaiser Permanente Colfax Marathon hits Denver streets

Have you seen one of the many “26.2” stickers plastered to car windows and water bottles throughout Denver?  The 9th Annual Kaiser Permanente Colfax Marathon (which is 26.2 miles but also includes relays and shorter races) will talk place on Sunday, May 18th and if you haven’t been breaking in your sneakers all spring to train for the race, you can still sign up to volunteer or come and cheer on this year’s brave participants!  

 Free Benefit Concert to Save Historic Cranmer Park Sundial Plaza

Come enjoy a free concert on Sunday, June 8th from 4:00-8:00pm in Cramer Park to raise awareness for the planned restoration of the park’s iconic sundial.  As a focal point of Cramer Park, the historic sundial and spectacular mountain views draw large numbers of visitors annually, but many years of wear and tear have caused significant damage to the plaza.  The concert will feature local musicians including Petals of Spain, Joe Sampson, and Jen Korte and the Dirty Femmes, all covering famous songs about the sun.  Find more details here.  

► Denver Community Corrections Board Seeking Candidates

The Denver Community Corrections Board is seeking candidates.  The mission of the Denver Community Corrections Board is to ensure public safety, safeguard the rights of Denver residents and provide for the needs of offenders who will be supervised in the program.  The Community Corrections Board meets the third Wednesday of each month from 7:30–8:30am.  The deadline to apply is May 15, 2014.   

► Denver Unveils First Cultural Plan in 25 years

Denver has unveiled its first cultural plan in 25 years, IMAGING 2020.  Denver’s Cultural plan provides a strategic vision for the city’s arts, culture and creativity, and sets a bold agenda to achieve those goals over the next seven years.  The plan aims to support Denver Public Schools’ arts education strategic plan, increase the visibility of local artist and creative talents, and even addresses the need for affordable housing for artists.  Visit Denver Arts and Venues to learn more about IMAGINE 2020.  

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 ©2011 Robin Kniech, Denver City Council, At-Large, 1437 Bannock Street, Room 488, Denver, CO 80202. Email: kniechatlarge@denvergov.org. Phone: (720) 337-7712. Fax: (720) 865-9540.

Council Aides: Feven Netsanet (Feven.Netsanet@denvergov.org) & Laura Brudzynski (laura.brudzynski@denvergov.org).
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