With all the discussion about the City Park View Plane and its impact on development in Upper Downtown, I thought I would elaborate my position on this further.
I am not opposed to the City Park View Plane. I am not opposed to the height restrictions it imposes. What I am opposed to is the view plane’s western boundary. Here is a map (courtesy of DenverGov.org) of the City Park View Plane:
The view plane extends all the way to the alley between Lincoln and Sherman, yet the view plane is intended to protect the view of the mountains and the skyline from City Park. If that is the case, then I argue that Sherman Street is way too close to the skyline to be the western edge of the view plane. In fact, Lincoln and Sherman streets are located within the skyline! With our most iconic tower, the Wells Fargo (Cash Register) building located between those two streets, how could anyone argue otherwise?
Here’s a graphic I put together to show the view plane’s western boundary from a different perspective:
A more reasonable western boundary to the view plane would be Pennsylvania Street, or perhaps Washington Street. That would allow high-rise development to occur along Lincoln, Sherman, Grant, and Logan, which is appropriate given the location and existing conditions, with the view plane then taking effect to allow the skyline to taper down as it heads east into the Uptown district.
The point of the City Park View Plane is to prevent a building from blocking the view of the Downtown skyline with the mountain backdrop, as viewed from the Museum of Nature and Science. Certainly, a tall building built along, say, York Street would block that view and should be prohibited for that reason. But how close to Downtown do you get before a building no longer blocks the view of the skyline, but becomes part of it? Sherman Street is definitely too close; plus, given all the nasty surface parking lots in that area, the last thing we need to do is to discourage development.
I urge the City planning office, Planning Board, and City Council to consider shifting the City Park View Plane’s western boundary to the east by at least two or three blocks.