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S.R. DeBoer's Denver Property Gets Historic Designation

The historic designation for landscape architect Saco DeBoer's Denver estate was a prolonged battle that the Denver Post characterized as "sloppiness and confusion over the roles of ... the Denver Planning Board and the Landmark Preservation Commission."

After a four-hour hearing and 39 scheduled speakers, the Denver City Council voted 10-to-2 to designate a portion of the small south Denver property of landscape architect S.R. DeBoer as a historic district. DeBoer, who passed away in 1974, designed many of Denver’s boulevards, DeBoer Park and the Botanic Gardens.

The proposed amended district, which reduced the size of the historic district, was approved by all parties. This outcome, however, came after a year-long battle, primarily between the DeBoer heirs (his grandchildren) and the DeBoer Neighborhood Preservation Committee (DNPC). The original historic designation application was filed by a neighbor.

The DeBoer family website states: "The founding members of DNPC chose not to address their concerns with our family. Instead they chose to underhandedly seek historical designation in order to stifle our property rights and stop any possible development they thought was going to happen."

The family contends the DNPC successfully chased off a potential developer by their hostile behavior, even though the family never received a formal plan from the developer. In short, the family asserts the DNPC "purposely misleading the neighborhood into thinking things are happening that are not."

The episode "illustrated flaws in Denver’s ordinance, as well as sloppiness and confusion over the roles of two key city commissions: the Denver Planning Board and the Landmark Preservation Commission," wrote the Denver Post. The paper notes there was a failure to immediately notify the family of the filing of the application of historic designation, as required under Denver ordinance. According to the Denver Post, the Denver Planning Board has no authority in historic designation. Its job is to assure that land-use decisions conform to Denver’s Comprehensive Plan 2000, and to be an advisor to the Landmark Preservation Commission in its recommendations to the city council.

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October 17, 2019, 7:00 am PDT

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