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Growth cap ordinance hits legal challenge

Initiative was scheduled to go before council on Aug. 28


Due to a challenge by Lakewood resident Steve Dorman, city council did not discuss a controversial measure to place a 1 percent annual limit on residential growth and return decisions on large multifamily projects to city council during its meeting on Aug. 28.

Council was set to vote on approving the measure, or place it on the ballot in November, but City Clerk Margy Greer, explained council cannot act on a measure when there’s a pending protest or appeal.

A Thursday, Sept. 31 hearing in Lakewood Municipal Court has been scheduled for Dorman’s challenge.

According the complaint by Dorman, vice chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, the ordinance is too complicated and wouldn’t do what it set out to. He also said people who signed the petition weren’t made fully aware of the contents of the measure.

“The proposed ordinance is an absolute train wreck. It is 14 pages and 4,800 words of convoluted nonsense that will kill jobs, make housing for families and seniors totally unaffordable, and make it impossible for anyone without a lawyer or lobbyist to build a home or a business,” he said. “If the no-growth crowd wants to make it impossible for future city councils to allow more than 1 percent growth, they would need to amend the city charter, not an ordinance.”

The Lakewood Neighborhood Partnerships submitted more than 7,500 signatures from community members on July 28, and Greer verified the signatures were sufficient to move it to the ballot.

As part of the initiative, annual city growth would be capped at 1 percent, and projects with 40 or more units would require approval from city council at a public hearing.

It was unclear at press time whether the court challenge would create a timing problem for the city to place the ordinance on the November ballot.

“For the past four years, decisions about large projects have been left to the city planning director, an administrator who has routinely approved high-density, high-profile, high-end apartments with as many as 300 units.” Kentner said in a statement. “Returning these decisions to city council would allow the community voices to be heard again.”


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