Judge dismisses case against Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative

Initiative will be presented to City Council on Jan. 14

Posted 12/27/18

After months of delays, the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative appears to be heading in the direction of Lakewood voters after it passed a recent legal challenge. Jefferson County Judge Diego Hunt …

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Judge dismisses case against Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative

Initiative will be presented to City Council on Jan. 14

Posted

After months of delays, the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative appears to be heading in the direction of Lakewood voters after it passed a recent legal challenge.

Jefferson County Judge Diego Hunt ruled on Dec. 26 to dismiss all of Steve Dorman's claims after Cathy Kentner, the proponent of the initiative, and the city of Lakewood filed a motion to dismiss the case on Oct. 5. Dorman, who was protesting the initiative, alleged that it would've violated constitutional matters, harmed property owners in Lakewood and limited future Lakewood City Council's municipal powers.

If implemented, the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative would limit new home construction to one percent per year, and would require Lakewood City Council to hold a public hearing and vote to approve residential projects with 40 units, or more.

According to Lakewood's Municipal Code, an initiative cannot be approved by the city council or put to a citywide vote while it is under legal protest.

“The next step, as per city code, is for the ordinance to be presented to city council at the next regular meeting. The city council will then decide if they will adopt (the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative), or refer it to the voters,” said Kit Lammers, communications manager for Lakewood. The next regular Lakewood City Council meeting is Jan. 14.

Kentner and other growth initiative supporters began gathering signatures in June 2017 with hopes of having it reach voters in that year. Lakewood City Clerk Margy Greer verified enough of the initiative signatures were valid to put the issue on the November 2017 ballot. But Dorman filed a protest, alleging that signature gathers for the initiative had not been properly sworn — something that Hunt ruled against in August.

“Judge Hunt rejected the concerted efforts of special interest groups who put their profits above our community's values and the character of our beloved neighborhoods,” Kentner stated on Hunt's recent ruling.

Dorman said he is not walking away from his recent complaints over the initiative and his concerns about constitutional manners, harm to Lakewood property owners and limits to future City Council's municipal powers.

“I still believe in the principals involved," Dorman said, adding that he and his attorney believe the latest court ruling can be appealed.

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