Frequently Asked Questions Related to the Diagnostic Phase of the Code Rewrite Tasks
Q. Can I leave comments related to the diagnostic report?
A. Yes, please see the comment tab to the right of this one. Any comments provided, will be delivered to City Council on May 21st.
Q. What is the difference between the Code Audit Report (aka Diagnostic) and the Code Rewrite?
A. The audit of the zoning code is a deep-dive analysis by our consultant team into the current state of our regulations. The consultants shall provide a report at the end of this process (diagnostic report) that outlines the main issues of the code that need to be rewritten. These ‘issues’ are specifically tailored to the agreed upon sections of Title 18 provided in the signed contract between the consultants and the City of Golden. The issues will be evaluated and rewrite tasks will be agreed upon once the diagnostic report has been reviewed by City Council. The rewrite phase will trigger once an agreed upon scope of work (tasks) have been decided.
Q. What process did the consultants utilize to analyze the Zoning Code?
A. The consultants broke their analysis into three major areas of study:
- Critical reading – This process included a deep-dive analysis into the zoning code’s content, processes, and formatting. In addition to this, the consultants also analyzed our policy documents (GV 2030, Comprehensive Plan, and Neighborhood Plans). As you know, our policy documents identify the aspirations of the community for future development of the City. If our zoning code (regulatory document) is not able to produce the type of development advocated for in our policy documents, then a realignment must occur in the rewrite process.
- A survey of the city’s physical environment – The consultants analyzed the current physical environment in the City and compared it to the aspirations outlined in our policy documents. For instance, what exactly does “small-town character” mean? This step in the audit helped our consultants contextualize our policy goals to the realities of what is currently built in the community. In addition, the consultants determined if the current zoning code (regulatory document) is capable of regenerating the types of developments that the community of Golden holds dear to heart.
- Critical listening – This process included some small surveys on Guiding Golden and interviews with stakeholders at the onset of 2020. These conversations helped inform the consultants on deficiencies associated with the zoning code from individuals with direct, hand-on experience. This included Golden residents familiar with land use hearings and other aspects of the zoning code, members of Planning Commission and City Council, developers, architects and other land use professionals who use the code. Finally, City staff across several departments that use or are impacted by the zoning code, also provided input.
Q. I heard that there was a stakeholder interview process during the Code Audit Phase. What did that consist of?
A. The primary purpose of this task was to hear from those who use the code daily or those who have gone through a planning review process recently. To be able to reach and interview a fair representation of the community at large, an invitation to those who were interested in talking to the project team was posted on Guiding Golden. The project team interviewed residents, developers, architects, neighborhood groups and others, as well as Planning and Public Works staff, the City Attorney, Planning Commission, and City Council on January 14, 15, and 21, 2020. These Stakeholders were able to share their pinions about the strengths and weaknesses of particular parts of the code, and of the review process.
Ultimately, these opinions factored into the consultant's research and is reflected in the Diagnostic Report. A summary of those interviews is also provided in the appendix.
Q. I filled out a survey on Guiding Golden and/or participated in an in-person interview at the City offices to answer questions about the zoning code, was that information included in the report.
A. Yes, it was. During the audit process the consultants reached out to a select groups of individuals from various aspects of the community. This included residents, developers, housing advocates, and other users of the code who understand our code and its zoning processes. At the onset of this year, the consultants interviewed several of these individuals to gather additional information regarding deficiencies with the code. However, it should be noted that this information was used to supplement the consultant team’s own professional analysis.
Q. Will there be more opportunity to participate in this project once it enters the rewrite phase?
A. Yes! On May 21st the consultant team and City Council will outline the public participation process for the zoning code rewrite. Once that information is fully determined, this Guiding Golden page will be updated.
Q. The consultant’s report doesn’t outline issues for all the various sections of the zoning code, why is that?
A. The consultants were tasked to identify what they feel are the main defects in the zoning code. Certain subsections in particular have significant issues with their substance (e.g. the actual laws they promote). Other sections may have been flagged for minor issues with their substance and outlined as tasks internal staff can address without the need of consultants.
Q. What is the Zoning Rewrite Task Force (ZRTF)?
A. During the contract negotiations for the Zoning Audit and Rewrite, City Council requested that a working group be formed with individuals who have first-hand experience with the code. This group comprises Golden residents, members of the development community, architects, representatives from Council and Planning Commission, and other users of the code. It is anticipated that this group will meet with the consultants on a monthly basis during the rewrite phase to discuss potential rewrite tasks and updates.
Q. Were the ZRTF members vetted by City Council?
Q. Is the ZRTF a decision making body?
A. No, the ZRTF’s main function is to provide informed opinions and suggestions to the consultants and staff with regard to identifying issues with the current zoning code, developing tasks in preparation for rewriting the code, and (later) reviewing draft code language in advance of the public process. All decisions related to the update or rewrite of the Zoning Code are City Council’s alone, and involve a public process.
Q. What is the process for deciding what goes into the rewrite of the code once the audit is complete?
A. A City Council study session will be held on May 21st to discuss the findings of the audit process (diagnostic report). The goal of that meeting will be to produce a list of tasks for the rewrite process formed from the findings of the report and the priorities identified in the scope of the project that was agreed to last October, 2019.
Consultation has concluded