Money usually talks but not yesterday in Lakewood

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Those opposing the growth cap proposed for Lakewood development raised $451,000, while the group that raised about $18,000 won the day, some 53% to 47%.

There are still votes to count, but Lakewood residents are now going to learn what it means to only allow 1% of the total number of residential units to be built in any one year. Large multi-family projects will need to be reviewed by the Lakewood City Council.

This concept is not new: Boulder voted in a growth cap in the 1970s, and modified it later, and Golden approved a growth limit in the 1990s. And there are (again) rumblings to pursue a growth cap along the Front Range, called Initiative 109.

From today’s Denver Post’s coverage of the Lakewood election includes the more global possibilities: “A ballot measure for a more widespread housing cap effort — which would impose a 1 percent cap on new homes throughout metro Denver for 2021 and 2022 — is moving its way through the Colorado Secretary of State’s elections division. A title board review hearing for Initiative 109, Limits on Local Housing Growth, is scheduled for Wednesday. If approved, signature gathering could begin to get Initiative 109 on to the November ballot. An effort to get a similar measure on to the ballot last year failed when the signature-gathering effort sputtered before it ever started.”

From today’s expansive coverage (and the photo above) by Denverite, the person who is behind this new venture is Daniel Hayes, who last year proposed “a 1 percent cap for at least two years for not just Lakewood but all of Jefferson County as well as Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Larimer and Weld. Hayes helped Golden put similar limits in place in the ’90s, and Boulder also has longstanding curbs on growth. Hayes claimed taking such a step across a wider region would mean higher wages, keep housing prices stable by discouraging people from moving to Colorado, and discourage unauthorized immigrants who work in the construction industry. Hayes’s proposal never made it to the ballot because he waited too long to start gathering petition signatures.”

Unauthorized immigrants? Really? Oh, I get it. Stable prices, like expensive? Sure.

I do not live in Lakewood, but it’s not as if Lakewood has a wall between it and other municipalities. I understand that over-the-top development has its issues (hey, I live in Denver), but to me it seems that there is some sort of equation that has gone out of whack.

In a perfect (or understandable) world, more residences built would offer more “affordable” housing – not so many luxury apartments, the super big thing in Denver. But land now is so much more expensive, and labor is more expensive (and difficult to find), and developers want profits, and materials are more expensive, so cheapening them brings the cost down, but the buildings look cheesy.

For the money donated from civic booster groups, contractors, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, etc., the outcome must be a strange conclusion. But how it shakes out is still to be seen. At the end of the day, people still need a roof over their head.

Below are links to Lakewood’s election coverage byDenverite  and The Denver Post, along with a Denveritestory about the fact that Denver is no longer taking new bids this year for organizations providing housing projects (so much for tiny homes). Oh, and a link to a Post story about the last time this Front Range cap popped up.

Lakewood voters approve a 1 percent cap on growth

Denver Economic Development & Opportunity will not accept new bids this year for housing projects


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