Denver Department of Transportation working to enforce right-of-way blocking fencing and rocks – CBS Denver
DENVER (CBS4)– Take a drive around Denver, and you might think the city is under construction.
“Fences are pretty unsightly, but so is a tent block,” said Chris Nielsen, who lives downtown.
The tents he refers to housed Denver’s homeless population, now they’ve been replaced with bright orange fences, giant boulders, jagged rocks and metal containers.
“When the fences are up, there’s a lot more activity in the neighborhood, like me walking my dog,” he said.
While this can be an effective deterrent, the city says it’s not allowed.
“What we issue are permits for the purpose of re-growing vegetation and that doesn’t mean it’s an appropriate tool to discourage people from camping, we don’t issue permits to do that,” Nick Williams from the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI).
At the last consultative meeting, Williams told attendees the complaints were pouring in. A DOTI spokesperson shared some of those complaints with CBS4.
One resident says “larger-than-life fences blocking public space. It is unpleasant, unnecessary and dangerous. Another speaks of “theft of the public right of way and access to nature in the city”.
But limited staff means limited enforcement. DOTI has 16 right-of-way inspectors who oversee street occupancy permits issued in Denver for work performed on the public right-of-way.
More than 10,000 street occupancy permits have been issued so far in 2022. Williams says they are working on how best to meet the response.
“What this means is that in the next few months as we continue to staff this group of staff, we have finally started to make progress. With staffing, this will become more of a priority,” said Williams.
While residents CBS4 spoke to say they support reopening the space, they say it should come with a plan to help those forced to live on the streets.
“I really wish we could take care of them so our neighborhood doesn’t have to worry.
A DOTI spokesperson says that currently, when responding to complaints, if inspectors find no significant safety issues to address, it is often classified as “no visible violation” which some residents also raise issues with, and the city at the consultative meeting. said they were going to address.