Sunflower Market on Colfax inspires a food fight at Denver City Council

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Unlike so many Western towns, Denver has a wealth of wonderful neighborhoods close to the heart of the city. But with that wealth of neighborhoods comes a surfeit of NIMBY issues that often spill out of their immediate area and into City Hall -- as the fight over a new supermarket on Colfax will tonight.

Rosen Properties wants to put a Sunflower Market on a long-empty car lot on East Colfax Avenue between Monroe and Garfield streets, in the midst of a food desert. The South City Park Neighborhood Association voted 59 to 6 to support the rezoning amendment necessary to bring that project to fruition, so long as the developer follows a memorandum of understanding that, among other things, limits both construction hours and the hours and operation of the store once it's built.

Even so, a group of individuals has organized a legal challenge to the project -- and in order for it to get the necessary rezoning, it will need the support of at least ten out of the thirteen councilmembers, who'll be hearing arguments about the project tonight.

It could take considerably longer for a controversial project in northwest Denver to reach Denver City Council. The battle over the proposed RedPeak project has gotten so heated that two weeks ago, Denver City Councilwoman Susan Shepherd wound up calling the cops after she got in a shouting match with two constituents who came to her home. The ongoing neighborhood input has been key to the would-be developer making several changes to the original plans. But the opponents had wanted Shepherd to bring the entire project up before council, to ask for a moratorium -- or even ask councilmembers to rezone that area at 32nd and Lowell to make the development impossible. (That, too, would require the support of at least ten councilmembers.)

"Nothing is off the table yet," Sheperd told Westword last week -- but after her encounter with the cranky neighbors, she doesn't sound inclined to set that table with a rezoning request. "I'm continuing to try to nail down exactly how this is going to affect our neighborhood in terms of the traffic and parking in particular, and how we can best plan to mitigate those impacts."

With great neighborhoods come some great -- and seemingly endless -- neighborhood fights. Get additional details about the Sunflower Market project -- from the developer's view, at least -- at www.rosendevelopments.com.

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