Push to curb housing growth has enough signatures for ballot
A proposed ordinance that would limit housing growth in Lakewood to no more than 1 percent of existing units a year has tentatively gained more than enough signatures before a Friday deadline to move forward, local officials said Monday.
Margy Greer, the city’s clerk, said 7,611 signatures were turned in for the initiative, well above the 5,165 needed from registered voters. Greer has the next 30 days to complete a review of the signatures to determine if they are valid to move forward.
Greer said if the signatures are sufficient, the initiative goes before the City Council on Aug. 28.
A “yes” vote by the council would put the measure into effect, and a “no” vote would put the proposal to a public vote Nov. 7, along with Jefferson County’s scheduled election.
The proposed ordinance would implement a system that limits permit requests for new dwelling units and would mandate that the Lakewood City Council vote to approve or reject projects of 40 or more housing units.
The proposal comes at a time when rents in the Denver area — especially in areas within and just beyond the city limits — are soaring and developers are working to keep up with the demand. A massive shortage of construction workers is making things worse.
Backers of the initiative — namely Lakewood Strategic Growth — say it’s meant to encourage redevelopment of Lakewood’s blights and distressed areas while preserving large, open-space parcels. They also want to ensure that the city’s growth — its population rose by nearly 12,000 to 154,393 from 2010 to 2016, according to a census estimate — doesn’t outpace its public facilities and urban services or degrade the Denver suburbs’ air and water quality.
“This is not a ‘no growth’ initiative,” Cathy Kentner, spokeswoman for Lakewood Strategic Growth, said in a statement.
But not everyone supports the proposal, including Lakewood Mayor Adams Paul, who said that it could “do great harm.”
“While we have these growing pains throughout the metro area, we are not out of wack,” he said. “To arbitrarily put a number (limiting housing growth) and this crazy system of allocations and approvals by city council — it just seems to be a broad-brush approach.”