North Metro Denver Citizen’s Summit – a new Perspective on the I-70 East Project

Hotel Oxford Denver, April 25 2014

A video of the event and more information will be available soon.

Urban Meet Up in Boulder 11|15|13 – the Event in Pictures

North Metro Denver Citizen’s Summit

April 25 2014, 1:00-5:00pm, Oxford Hotel Grand Ballroom,

Join us for a presentation and discussion with CNUs John O. Norquist and Peter Swift.

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See how communities all over America start to remove highways within cities to reconnect and revitalize their neighborhoods.
Learn more about CNUs Highways to Boulevards Initiative and see how this idea could be applied to the I-70 corridor in North Denver.
Hear from citizens and local experts why a Boulevard Alternative might be feasible and why it should be considered in the SDEIS (Supplemental draft EIS).

The event is free, join any time between 1:00 and 5:00pm.
Seating is limited so please RSVP to secure a seat. For this and more information contact Frank Sullivan (303-321 4130) or send an email to thesummit@unitenorthmetrodenver.com

 

“The Art of Street Design” City event in Boulder with CNU past president Victor Dover

City of Boulder Community Event “The Art of Street Design”
Presentation and Community Discussion with Victor Dover

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WHEN: Wednesday March 26, 5:30-7:30pm

WHERE: Chautauqua, Ggrand Assembly Hall, 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder

WHAT: Victor Dover, coauthor of the new book, “Street Design,” will be presenting proven strategies to create safe, walkable streets in Boulder. Victor will describe how street design can shape enduring cities that people really love; Discussion regarding City of Boulder North Boulder Subcommunity Plan update, Envision East Arapahoe plan, Sustainable Streets and Centers project, Access Management and Parking Strategy, and Transportation Master Plan update.

WHO: Victor was national chair of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) from 2010 –2012 and was the founding chair of the CNU Florida Chapter, the first of its kind. He is cofounder of Dover, Kohl & Partners Town Planning in Coral Gables, Florida and is an international expert on how to shape enduring places that people really love.  An urban designer and the coauthor of  the new book Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns (January 2014), Dover has 25 years’ experience across five continents revitalizing historic downtowns, restoring healthy neighborhoods and creating walkable communities. He has designed 150 neighborhoods, urban revitalization programs, and regional plans including Plan El Paso, hailed as “America’s Best Smart Growth Plan.” Dover is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners and served as the U.S. national chair of the Congress for the New Urbanism from 2010 – 2012. In 1994, he worked in Boulder on the North Broadway Plan for North Boulder.

MORE INFORMATION: The event is free, no RSVP required. For more information please go to the Boulder calendar.

ABOUT THE BOOK: “Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns” (January 2014) by Victor Dover and John Massengale with foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales shows how to create great streets where people want to be. That begins with walkable streets where people feel comfortable, safe, and charmed by their surroundings. Through hundreds of examples of streets old, new and retrofitted, Street Design shows how good street design can unlock value, improve life and reknit neighborhoods.

38th Avenue :: Wheat Ridge’s Main Street – A Transformation in Progress

1401 cnu event wr38-reschedule

Join us for this event on Friday, Feb 27th at Colorado Plus!

Wheat Ridge’s Main Street – A Transformation in Progress

Wheat Ridge's Main Street - A Transformation in Progress

Click on the flyer to register

Attached For-Sale Housing and Urbanism in Colorado – Construction defects litigation and laws

By Tim Van Meter, Architect & Urban Designer

As we know very well, housing density and diversity is critical to the implementation of urbanism. Successful, placed based urbanism demands a mix of housing typologies, tenures and affordability. Housing construction largely stopped in 2009 during the latest recession. Also around this time in 2010, HB 10-1394 [Construction Defect Regulation], was passed [of course with good intent], apparently allowing for broad interruptions for construction defects in favor of HOA Associations. With the recent economic recovery, rental housing has bounced back to near to previous levels of development activity, but attached for-sale housing is all most none existent. This lack of attached for sale housing, severely limits housing typology and affordability, in addition to the mix of uses required for for the successful implementation of urbanism.

DRCOG’s findings on the impact of Construction Defect Litigation was recently released. The downward trend in attached-housing construction in Colorado is well-known and discussed often within the region’s development, construction, insurance, finance, legal,  and now design and urbanism communities. In recent years, builders, developers and insurers in particular have striven to bring greater awareness to local governments and lawmakers regarding the impact that construction defect lawsuits have on the developers/ builders’ ability to introduce desirable, affordable, yet cost-efficient attached-housing options, such as condominiums and townhomes, into the marketplace. DRCOG has been aware of the builders’ and insurers’ plight, largely because of the impact that the scarcity of affordable attached-housing has had on their respective communities. DRCOG ‘s report Denver Metro Area Housing Diversity Study, investigated the factors contributing to the recent (downward) attached-housing development trends and conditions.  The Study evaluated factors including changing financing and insurance requirements for builders and homebuyers, the impacts of foreclosures, changes in prospective homebuyer demographics, economic conditions which limit options for prospective homebuyers, and the costs and risks associated with construction defect regulations and lawsuits. Despite the efforts of special interests from the Regulations sponsors and supporters, the negative impact of construction defect regulations and lawsuits on Colorado’s housing market is significant. In this regard, the DRCOG Study found that:

•           There is a belief within the development community that the probability of being sued is nearly 100 percent for attached residential for-sale projects involving an HOA.

•           The costs of litigation, including retaining experts to evaluate defects, and legal costs associated with the builders’ insurance companies seeking to recover costs from contractors, are a deterrent to future development.

•           All of the national homebuilders interviewed indicated they have no plans for building attached for-sale housing in Colorado—where the risk of being sued is “just not worth it. At least one insurer interviewed opined that insurance premiums are 25 to 45 percent higher in Colorado than other states for comparable products.

•           The number of subcontractors and development team members willing and/or able to work on attached for-sale housing has diminished.

•           Developers are estimated to need to pay an average of $15,000 of additional cost per unit due to construction defects (i.e., the eminent threat of a lawsuit for same).

I encourage urbanists in Colorado to read the DRCOG Study and to become more in-tune with the real risks and concerns brought on by rampant construction defect litigation in Colorado. Based on the DRCOG Study’s findings, we can’t afford not to.

For more information, CLICK HERE for the full Denver Metro Area Housing Diversity Study for Denver Region Council of Governments (Oct 29, 2013)

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