Councilwoman Kniech celebrates the passage of a zoning code update that will expand access to fresh, healthy foods with members of Mayor Hancock's Sustainable Food Policy Council and other community members.
In this Issue
Welcome from Councilwoman Kniech
Special Announcement: Public Hearing for IHO revisions
We Mean Business: Fresh Produce and Cottage Food Sales
Bottom Line: Denver Preschool Program
Find Us on the Web
Follow Robin Kniech, Denver City Council At-Large
Follow us on Twitter @KniechAtLarge
In the Media
The Denver Post
What can Denver do when a hot housing market hurts?
Denver City Council oks cottage food rules
The Denver Business Journal
Denver residential community gardens given go-ahead to sell produce
Trading greens for greenbacks now legal in Denver - with a "cottage foods" permit
Greater Park Hill News
Affordable Homeownership Keeps Denver Vibrant
Life on Capitol Hill
Capturing a Slice of the Future for Working Families
The North Denver Tribune
Denver diversity: inclusionary housing ordinances
Public Meeting: Colfax Corridor Connections
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Knights of Columbus Hall
1555 Grant Street
Public Meeting: Federal Boulevard Improvements
Thursday, August 14, 2014
5:30pm - 7:00pm
Barnum Recreation Center
360 Hooker Street
Public Meeting: RTD Fare Structure Study
Thursday, August 28, 2014
RTD Administrative Offices
1600 Blake Street, Rooms T& D
Denver Commission on Aging & Denver Office on Aging: Senior Resource Event
Thursday, September 18, 2014
10:00am - 2:00pm
Denver Art Museum and Denver Central Library
For more city events click here.
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Welcome from Councilwoman Kniech
Governing comes with great opportunities and great challenges. In partnership with the community, Council seized the opportunity to expand access to fresh food and adopted my changes to the Denver Zoning Code, creating a new home occupation for the sale of fresh produce and cottage foods. Touring urban vegetable gardens with the Mayor afterward was a highlight of my term, demonstrating how small changes can make big impacts for individuals or neighborhoods.
Working to mitigate the challenge of skyrocketing home prices and stagnant wages, I hope the Council will also seize the opportunity to update the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance this coming Monday, August 18. Please check out my piece in the Denver Post to read why these common sense changes are important, but also only one step in a bigger housing strategy.
By far, the summer’s greatest challenge has been the pattern of incidents arising from the Denver Sheriff’s Department and Jail. Protecting those in our custody, treating individuals fairly, and holding all employees to high standards with zero tolerance for inappropriate force are core values we as a city must adhere to. We have begun the hard process of taking responsibility for failures, but the true test will be in how we move beyond commitments on paper to actually ensuring that every policy is not only the right one, but followed uniformly. Our Independent Monitor is one of Denver’s best resources for accountability and best practices, so his perspective during the Administration’s review and recommendations will be key. My role will be to debate and consider any policy or resource requests as a member of the Council Safety and Well-being Committee that has oversight of the safety department agencies.
Councilwoman Robin Kniech
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Special Announcement: Public Hearing for Proposed Revisions to Inclusionary Housing Ordinance August 18
After two years of working with a broad stakeholder group representing many of the sectors with expertise on housing and development, the proposed revisions to Denver's Inclusionary Housing Ordinance (IHO) will come before Council on Monday, August 18, including a one hour courtesy public hearing. Guided by an economic study of Denver’s housing needs and best practices across the nation, the proposed revisions would recalibrate the developer requirements to help build more homes and work in closer partnership with developers on a range of flexible options for doing so. Visit my website for more information about the proposed revisions, and contact my office for any questions, comments, or to learn more about how you can support the ordinance revisions.
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We Mean Business: Council Overwhelmingly Supports Access to Fresh, Healthy Produce
On Monday July 14, 2014, City Council overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Fresh Produce and Cottage Food Sales Ordinance, amending the Denver Zoning Code to allow for the sale of raw, uncut fruits and vegetables and low-risk value-added “cottage foods” as a residential home occupation. The amendment, which brings Denver in compliance with the Colorado Cottage Food Act of 2012, expands access to fresh, healthy produce and supports Mayor Hancock’s citywide Sustainability Goal of increasing the amount of food that is locally produced. In addition to supporting the local economy, the amendment can help foster food security for Denver residents, particularly in low-income communities with little access to quality grocery stores.
The passage of the Fresh Produce and Cottage Food Sales Ordinance was a truly democratic venture. The amendment was sponsored by Councilwoman Robin Kniech, with Councilmembers Susan Shepherd and Albus Brooks as co-sponsors, and was developed under the leadership of the Mayor’s Sustainable Food Policy Council and the support of the LiveWell Denver Regional Collaborative.
The ordinance went into effect on Friday July 18, 2014. Information about the permitting process, rules and regulations, the 2012 Cottage Foods Act and more can be found here.
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The Bottom Line: Denver Preschool Program Ensures Our Youngest Are Ready to Learn
Research shows that high-quality preschool has a powerful effect on student readiness to learn. That’s why Denver has led the way nationally with a program devoted to making sure our youngest students have access to preschool.
Denver voters approved the Denver Preschool Program in 2006, committing a sales tax of 12-cents on a $100 purchase to provide affordable preschool for any family in Denver with a 4-year-old. Parents receive a tuition credit, which is scaled to household income and the quality of school attended. More than half of participating families served earn less than $30,000 a year. Since 2007, 31,816 children have attended preschool through the program—one of the highest enrollment levels in the nation.
To ensure that our children have high-quality preschool experiences, the Denver Preschool Program also invests in training and programs for pre-schools, and there is a certification process in place so neighborhood preschools are meeting the educational needs of young students. When DPP started, only 52 preschools were rated for quality--today, more than 252 preschools are quality rated. An independent study last year showed 64 percent of third-graders who participated in the DPP posted advanced or proficient reading scores, compared to 58 percent of non-DPP students.
On Monday, August 11th, City Council voted overwhelmingly to refer the reauthorization and expansion of the Denver Preschool Program to the November 2014 ballot. The ballot measure includes a 3-cents on $100 increase to the existing tax to help keep pace with rising tuition costs, to return to providing summer programing that had been cut, and provide more options for households seeking full- and extended-day preschool programs. I voted in favor of referring the Preschool measure to the ballot because it is a success story in providing more access to quality early education preparing children for school, and the entire Denver community benefits.
For enrollment information visit http://www.dpp.org/
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More than 100 community members came to discuss the proposed revisions to Denver's Inclusionary Housing Ordinance at a public meeting in July. An overwhelming majority of respondents to a feedback survey (87%) expressed support for having a policy that supports workforce housing, as well as supported the whole package of proposed changes to the IHO (65%).
See the full results of their feedback here.
A special thanks to one of our youngest advocates for healthy food access, and congratulations to Saffron Spurlock for getting one of the first permits to sell fresh produce and cottage foods in Denver!
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► RTD seeking public input on fare structure study of bus and light rail fare policies
The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is reaching out for public input in identifying challenges with the agency’s fare structure. The public engagement process is part of RTD’s fare study to evaluate current fare policies and determine the best way to meet transit customers’ needs as the system continues to grow. While the current study is focusing on fare structure, fare pricing will be addressed at a later date. Share your feedback about RTD's fare system and products, including what works, what doesn't and suggestions for improvement online, by phone at (303) 299-3273, or at one of the upcoming public meetings. Six meetings will be held throughout the metro area between August 13-28. Find more details on meeting location and times here.
► Get the whole family out to support Xcel Energy's Day of Service September 6
Looking for a way to give back to the community and get the whole family involved? Sign up for one of nearly 60 volunteer opportunities through Xcel Energy’s Day of Service on Sept. 6, 2014. Over 2,000 volunteers from across the state will come together to give back and honor the anniversary of 9/11. With volunteer opportunities across Metro Denver ranging from gardening at an elementary school, painting a senior center, or working on trail building, there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy. Find more details and sign up to volunteer here.
► Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs Seeking Candidates
The Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs is seeking candidates. The mission of the Commission on Cultural Affairs is to enhance Denver’s quality of life and economic vitality through premier public venues, art and entertainment opportunities. The Commission meets monthly the first Tuesday of each month from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. at various cultural organizations across the city. Find more information at the Denver Arts & Venue website. The deadline to apply is Friday, August 29, 2014.
► Denver Parks and Recreation Takes Services Online
As of July, Denver's Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) has converted to a new “online service center” to give customers online benefits and the convenience of doing business from home. Whether you have a membership or visit pass, just drop in for a day, register for a class or reserve a facility, everyone must have an account. Read more at the DPR website and find the dates when you can stop in at one of the recreation centers, take a photo, and get your new key tag. Avoid the lines and create your account today!
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