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Welcome to the

Highland Neighborhood

The Planning and Community Development Committee Highland United Neighbors, Inc. (HUNI)
Denver, Colorado

Welcome to the Highland Neighborhood!

We welcome you to the Highland area and look forward to working together to create a successful outcome for both you and the community at large.
We have put this Good Neighbor booklet together to provide you with some history of the neighborhood and the basic guiding principles that drive our thought process related to building good community. Also you will find an outline of what the community desires and expects from anyone wishing to change the face of our neighborhood. Whether its a variance for fence height or a 60-unit housing project, we are excited to help you through the process. Highland is a much-loved neighborhood of independent thinkers close to Downtown Denver. We have worked for years to help shape development and to protect the unique character of the neighborhood. We strive for compatibility amidst our diverse community.

West 38th Ave.

Federal Blvd.

W. 35th Ave. Pecos St. Zuni St.

W. 32nd Ave.



W. 29th Ave.



Bl vd .

Highland Neighborhood Boundaries

Who are we?

We are the PCD Committee. The Planning and Community Development Committee is an outgrowth of the original Quality of Environment (QOE) Committee of HUNIs predecessor organization, Highland Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. Beginning in 1983, the PCD Committee helped direct efforts to revitalize the declining Highland Neighborhood through planning and actual development projects. The committee helped guide the 1986 renovation of the Weir Building and the conversion of a junkyard/ gas station, at 32nd and Zuni, into the Asbury Rowhouses. Committee members were instrumental in the writing and adoption of the 1986 Highland Neighborhood Plan. (If you dont have a copy you should obtain one from the Denver Planning Office.) Today, the PCD Committee is focused on helping shape development and redevelopment in the Highland Neighborhood through review and discussion of proposed projects and through participation in neighborhood and city-wide planning efforts. The PCD Committee is an all volunteer committee authorized by the HUNI Board of Directors to represent the organization in all planning and zoning matters that affect Highland. Over the years, PCD has developed techniques and working methods for practicing urban design that have proven to be successful for both developers and neighbors. While every request/project is unique and presents new challenges, certain fundamentals have demonstrated sustained value over time. With a steady influx of new development into the neighborhood we saw the need to provide some basic tools that would help developers navigate the process of developing in Highland.

In our review of any change proposed in our community we strive to understand the impact of physical design on the health and stability of our community. Historically, to protect the residential uses in the neighborhood and support the reuse of existing commercial buildings, we have opposed up zoning and conversion of residential properties to commercial uses. We endeavor to avoid setting precedents that could negatively impact the neighborhood in the future. We return, often, to built projects to assess what has worked and what has not. We use that information in an ongoing way to renew our design principles. For that reason this is not just a reference manual, it is also a work in progress.

What does the PCD Committee do?

The PCD Committee conducts the following activities:

Reviews requests for zoning changes Reviews requests for zoning variances Provides courtesy reviews of Use-by-Right projects Reviews proposed alley and street vacations Reviews proposed special use permits and business use exceptions Assists neighbors and applicants through the citys review process Conducts and initiates pro-active planning processes Represents neighborhood interests in citywide planning processes Encourages input from neighbors.

The PCD Committee does NOT deal with liquor license issues. HUNI does have a Good Neighbor Committee that reviews liquor license issues.

What makes Highland special?

DiversityHighland is diverse in its people, with all income levels, all ethnic backgrounds, all ages, all religions, all orientations, and all political persuasions represented. Since its founding, Highland has been home to immigrants who have all contributed to the neighborhoods cultural and physical development. Today Highland remains one of the centers of Denvers Hispanic community, where children from different socioeconomic backgrounds learn both English and Spanish it its schools. HeterogeneityHighlands physical characteristics can only be described as heterogeneous. Every architectural style and vintage from the 1870s to today is represented. Buildings vary in placement and arrangement, and the juxtapositions create the surprises on every block that give Highland a unique look. Pedestrian orientationdetached sidewalks with tree lawns and street trees are the dominant feature of the public realm in Highland. Restored historic flagstone sidewalks are characteristic throughout most of the neighborhood. Alleys provide auto and service access to most homes and businesses, and also add to the unique social character of each block. Several blocks in Highland have Carriage Lots within them which create unique opportunities for the community and development. Building entrancesmost buildings and homes have entrances facing the street. Even deeply set back alley houses have front doors facing the street. Front porches are important features of most homes and multi-family buildings. Individual entrances and porches are common on rowhouse and terrace multi-family buildings. Artsfor several decades Highland has been one of the centers of Denvers arts community, with many artists, authors, and musicians residing here, and with many galleries, coffeehouses, and other performance spaces present. Highland is host to the Citys first Arts District at West 37th Avenue and Navajo St.

What makes Highland special? continued

The variety of street grids, block layouts, and topography all add to the complexity and charm of the neighborhood. Uses are mixed through much of the neighborhood, with commercial uses generally distributed to nodes along a number of streets rather than being distributed continuously along a single main street. Historic Districts, both local (Potter Highlands, Stonemans Row, Old Highland Business District) and national (Scottish Village), individual Landmarks, and historic buildings and areas eligible for historic designation all contribute to Highlands character.

Guiding Principles for Building in Highland

Renovation and sensitive expansions of historic buildings are preferred over demolition and replacement. New buildings should respond to their surroundings. Attention should be paid to scale, proportion, roof slopes, fenestration patterns and proportions, entry locations, percentage of glass to solid materials, and materials. The use of quality materials help new buildings fit into their context. Architectural styles for new buildings can reflect their time. Sophisticated design of high quality is preferred over poorly designed imitations of historic architecture. Bulk and height of new buildings should respond sensitively to the scale of neighboring buildings. Expression of individual units can help new multifamily buildings fit in better. Entrances should face the street. Individual entrances for first floor units are encouraged to promote a pedestrian scale and pedestrian character along the street. Porches or canopies at entries are encouraged to provide weather protection and places where neighbors can greet one another. Parking should be accessed from alleys wherever possible. Parking should not occupy the front of lots at grade level, but rather should be screened from the street by residential or commercial uses. In larger buildings, underground parking is encouraged. Where alley access is unavailable, curb cuts should be limited to the absolute minimum width and number needed, to maintain the pedestrian orientation of the street and avoid a wall of garage doors. Existing flagstone sidewalks should be protected and repaired rather than be replaced with concrete. Existing trees in the right-of-way and front setback areas should be saved and protected. New trees should be planted in the park strip. A broad range of housing types and price levels are desired. Change has been continuous throughout Highlands history. But the scale of change has been incremental and related to the size of surrounding buildings and parcels. As Highland becomes more dense, new buildings should maintain and enrich the scale and fine grain of the surrounding neighborhood.

As you start a project in Highland

During the construction process!

Talk to us! We are open minded and eager to provide guidance, offer suggestions, and provide constructive criticism. While our meetings are open to the public, we use discretion when discussing projects at the early stages of development. Initial meetings can serve to clarify what options are available for a given project and reduce time spent on directions unlikely to receive city approval. Contact us to obtain a place on our monthly agenda so that you can gain the counsel of the entire committee. We discourage preliminary meetings with individual members of the committee due to time constraints for the volunteers and because brainstorming by the committee members often results in a more complete discussion of options and opportunities. Talk to the City of Denver Planning staff and city staff in other departments to understand zoning regulations, process questions, and other requirements. Talk to the immediate neighbors. Let them know what you are considering and hear their concerns. Where unique and/or unusual conditions exist (and there are a lot of them in Highland), we will consider exceptions to the standard rules and strive for creative solutions to create successful outcomes for all involved.

Be considerate of others! City Ordinance does not permit construction to begin any earlier then 7am and no work is allowed after 9pm. If you have a dumpster on the street, clean around the dumpster nightly to prevent small children from harming themselves while walking in the area. Secure all sites with construction fencing and maintain fencing throughout the project. Meet your neighbors and check in with them regularly throughout the construction process. Post your site with emergency contact information. Post your site prior to demolition at least two weeks in advance. Notify neighbors of any potential interruption of service, water, electrical

To reach HUNIs Planning and Community Development Committee, contact Chairperson Tim Boers at 303-499-7795 days, 303-433-5068 evenings and weekends, or via e-mail at

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