On May 22nd, the Denver City Council approved an extension of the implementation deadlines in the Expanding Housing Affordability (the EHA) ordinance. The Denver City Council approved the EHA on June 6, 2022 to increase access to affordable housing within the City. The policy includes a requirement for all residential developments greater than 10 units to create affordable housing units within new projects, or pay a fee in-lieu of the required affordable units. The EHA also increases linkage fees for certain projects, and it creates zoning and financial incentives to encourage the construction of affordable units. Projects that were already in the City’s review cycle at the time the EHA became effective were provided additional time to finish permitting without triggering the new requirements. The EHA includes deadlines for these pending projects to obtain approvals under the prior affordable housing requirements.
The Denver City Council approved the first extension to the EHA implementation deadlines on November 21, 2022 for projects that required only building permits. On May 22nd, the City Council approved extensions that apply to projects that are subject to a Site Development Plan (SDP). All extensions apply only to projects that had concept review applications under review as of June 30, 2022. Originally, the EHA required that projects subject to SDP must obtain an approved SDP by August 30, 2023 in order to be regulated under the affordable housing regulations that were in effect prior to the adoption of the EHA. The new deadline for SDP approval for these projects has been extended to May 17, 2024. In addition, if the project has obtained review comments by May 17, 2024 that require a fourth round or more of SDP review, the SDP approval deadline is extended to August 31, 2024. For projects that are subject to Large Development Review (LDR) or subdivision, the original deadline of December 31, 2023 to obtain SDP approval has been extended to September 13, 2024. If a project subject to LDR or subdivision has obtained review comments by September 13, 2024 that require a fourth round or more of SDP review, the approval deadline for SDP is December 31, 2024.
City Council voted 12-1 to approve the extensions described above. The dissenting vote was cast by Council Member CdeBaca. Staff from Community Planning & Development recommended the extensions to address the substantial increase in project submittals received by the City, which the City has been unable to review in a timely fashion. An analysis conducted by the City documented delays in completing reviews, as well as many projects requiring four or more review cycles. Staff simultaneously proposed additional proactive steps to reduce the review backlog. These steps include weekly workload reviews to ensure project coordinators have a manageable caseload, continuing to utilize ‘blitz review’ weeks, adding more comment analysis for projects taking three or more review cycles, and piloting additional measures for Affordable Housing Review Team (AHRT) projects.
If you would like more information about the EHA and the extensions approved by City Council, we encourage you to reach out to the FGMC Land Use & Real Estate team.