Eric Burtzlaff, PE
City of Denver Review Application BLITZ Announced
The City of Denver Community Planning and Development Department announced in an e-mail blast on Monday, 11/28 that the City will be starting their "Blitz". The reviewers/staff will be dedicating a vast majority of their time to processing and reviewing applications between November 28, 2022 and December 16, 2022. They are essentially using the time between the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays to 'hunker down' and get caught up on their reviews.
Per the e-mail, they will be using November 28 through December 2nd to process the nearly 400 applications in their 'intake' queue to tee up the City's commercial and multifamily review staff to tackle the newly processed applications. From December 5 through December 16, the City reviewers will blitz existing applications and the newly processed development applications.
The announcement notes that the ability to reach staff by e-mail or phone will be limited. Furthermore, it seems that reviewers/staff in each particular phase of the Blitz won't be responsive to e-mails/phone calls.
As long as I've been working with jurisdictions, I've never seen a strategy implemented like this, and I think its nearly impossible to say the impacts of going 'dark' for three weeks to inquiries from all outside consultants/developers/property owners.
For the sake of the Denver Development community, I really hope this Blitz results in a touchdown for future review and staff response times. I also hope it is a hard reset for the staff that have worked so hard to keep the ship afloat at Denver.
Bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for them.
Below is a copy of the e-mail sent to applicants with details:
Subject: Information about your Denver development application
PROJECT NUMBER - PROJECT NAME
You are receiving this email because you have submitted a development application to the City and County of Denver for review. We have received your submittal, and it is in line to be reviewed.
We are reaching out today to let you know that our team will be dedicating 100% of their time to processing and reviewing applications over the next few weeks. During this time, your ability to reach us by phone or email may be limited, but we believe the impact at reducing the city’s backlog of plans awaiting review will outweigh this inconvenience. We thank you in advance for your patience. Please read on to learn more about what this will entail.
November 28 – December 16: Application “Blitzes”
Currently, we have about 400 development applications in our “intake” queue. In order to assign these projects to specific reviewers, our intake staff first need to look at each application and ensure it is complete – that all necessary plans and documents were submitted with the application. From November 28-December 2, we are dedicating time for a “blitz” where staff will be hyper-focused on processing these development applications so reviews can begin. During this time, our intake staff will not be answering phone calls, emails, or attending meetings. They will spend 100% of their time processing applications. With the dedicated time and energetic momentum, we believe this intake team will be caught up by December 2.
Additionally, from December 5-16, the staff who review commercial and multifamily site development plans will not answer emails or phone calls so they can stay focused on reviewing ~160 concept and site development plans in the city’s backlog. Rest assured, you will receive email updates as your project is processed and reviews are completed. Through this blitz, we believe we will be able to review up to 40% of the concept and formal site development plans already submitted to the city.
Across our agency, we have hired over 100 people this year, which is beginning to have a positive impact on our ability to process the volume of permit and site development plan applications received this year. As new staff have joined the team, we have focused on training and are continuing to make our way through the backlog of projects awaiting reviews. All projects are being reviewed in the order they were received. If you have questions about review times, please visit the average plan review times dashboard.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Community Planning and Development