Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport by dusk.

A two-decade roadmap for growth and development in Denver’s most undeveloped region got the OK from the Denver City Council Monday.

The Far Northeast Area Plan, unanimously approved by the council on Monday, will guide growth over 20 years in the city’s Montbello and Gateway-Green Valley Ranch neighborhoods, as well as the neighborhood adjacent to the Denver International Airport.

The plan is the first such framework to be adopted out of the city’s Neighborhood Planning Initiative, which provides a detailed vision down to the neighborhood level. The plans fit into the city’s larger master plan for growth in the city over the next two decades hashed out during the Denveright process. It’s the product of a more than two-year planning process alongside residents, said Councilman Chris Herndon, who represents parts of northeast Denver.

“I’m excited about the progress moving forward, but the work is not yet done,” Herndon said. “This is where people could say the hard work begins, now that the vision is in place.”

The plan for far northeast Denver largely spares existing residential areas from significant development, excluding any remaining undeveloped residential parcels, but still anticipates escalating growth in the region.

In contrast to the rest of Denver, the northeast section of the city still has a significant proportion of undeveloped land. Thought much of Montbello and Green Valley Ranch residential neighborhoods have experienced substantial development, the same isn’t true for the Gateway area and Denver International Airport neighborhoods.

Continued population and economic growth, a resulting demand for housing supply and the proximity to the airport will likely bolster the pace of development in the region, city officials say.

Throughout the region, the plan calls for new street networks; innovative mobility options, including first- and last-mile connections, walking, biking, and public transit; a “robust” parks system; and improved access to healthy, fresh food.

In Montbello, the neighborhood would become home to a grocery-anchored, mixed-use cultural hub and neighborhood walking loop through the city’s so-called “FreshLo” (Fresh and Local) Initiative.

The neighborhood has a sizable industrial manufacturing sector that the plan recommends preserving. But adjacent to the district, the plan calls for an “innovation/flex district,” allowing for redevelopment of industrial buildings for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The plan also calls for revitalization of commercial areas like Peoria Street and 45th Avenue Community Center, and the Chambers Road and Green Valley Ranch Boulevard Local Center, and softening the transitioning from the neighborhood's manufacturing district to residential areas.

Undeveloped portions of Peña Boulevard running through Denver’s Gateway-Green Valley Ranch neighborhood would be targeted for growth through the plan, paving the way for new retail shops and housing. And Tower Road would evolve into a destination area through a mix of retail and multi-unit residential structures.

Additionally, the plan would update subdivision regulations to allow for parks and schools as the community grows.

In the DIA neighborhood, which currently houses a population of just 1,700, the plan calls for the growth of commercial development on highly visible thoroughfares of Tower Road and 56th Avenue.

DIA would capitalize on its proximity to the airport and commuter rail for growth of new neighborhoods. The plan also targets new transit-oriented developments at 61st & Peña and a new A Line station at 72nd and Himalaya.

The plan also calls for the city to leverage the availability of undeveloped land in the neighborhood and pursue opportunities for the location of corporate headquarters in the area.

Denver’s East Central and East neighborhood plans are next on the docket and are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

CORRECTION: Councilman Chris Herndon's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.

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