DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 12: Older Five Points buildings are sandwiched between newer, contemporary condominium complexes along Welton Street across from the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library on February 12, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo By Kathryn Scott)

A coalition of Denver’s neighborhood associations has released suggestions for an updated city ordinance that would provide better notice to and clarify the participation of neighborhood groups in city policymaking.

In order to provide transparency and disclosure in hearings,” a 12-member committee formed by Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation wrote, “the committee recommends that a description of an RNO’s outreach and position-taking be included in RNO testimony at hearings.”

Denver enacted its ordinance establishing registered neighborhood organizations in 1979. In January of this year, INC’s committee began a series of meetings, including with Councilman Paul Kashmann and a representative of the mayor’s office, to recommend changes.

The existing RNO ordinance is essentially sound and has served the residents of Denver, its neighborhoods and the city government well for 45 years,” the committee concluded, while acknowledging there were tweaks that could better promote equity and transparency.

Among the suggestions, the INC committee favored allowing RNOs to register and organize at any time, with renewals taking place at two eligible times of the year. Community Planning and Development should, the committee reported, develop an online platform to archive notices sent to RNOs for the public to search and retrieve. Those notifications should include curb-cut applications, social consumption tasting rooms, and landmark demolition applications, among others.

“Almost all RNOs are and have for many years been eager to find ways to be more inclusive and diverse in their membership, leadership and participation to better reflect the diversity of the residents of their neighborhoods, including age, ethnicity, renter/owner housing situation and income levels,” the committee observed. “We believe that RNOs’ inclusivity will be made more transparent, and improvement encouraged, by the requirement for the RNO position sheet checklist” that the committee developed, asking organizations about the nature of the meetings where RNOs decided on their positions.

Finally, the committee advised that RNOs use outdoor bulletin boards in common public spaces to disseminate information, potentially in conjunction with the city librarian.

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