The controversial Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative, an anti-growth measure will be headed to voter’s ballots, but not this November. The initiative seeks to limit new home construction to one …
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The controversial Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative, an anti-growth measure will be headed to voter’s ballots, but not this November.
The initiative seeks to limit new home construction to one percent per year and requires the Lakewood City Council to approve projects with 40 units or more. It received over 7,600 signatures in 2017. Supporters of the initiative believe it is needed in the city, because they believe Lakewood is overcrowded and traffic is becoming worse, but others feel that it’ll do the city no good.
Jefferson County District Judge Diego Hunt ruled that Lakewood City Clerk Margy Greer properly carried out the initiative process and did everything to allow it to go to the voter’s ballot.
Greer verified that all of the signatures on the initiative were valid, and it almost went to Lakewood resident’s ballots last November. But Steve Dorman, vice chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, filed a challenge to the initiative, saying that the people who signed in support of it weren’t in the know of everything the initiative contains. Greer found in favor of the initiative, but Dorman stepped up to her ruling, saying the city couldn’t proceed any further with it.
Since the initiative was under protest by Dorman, Lakewood City Council wasn’t allowed to vote to send the issue to voters due to Lakewood’s Municipal Code.
“Ultimately what (Hunt’s ruling) means is that the city vigorously defended against the protester’s efforts to stop the initiative from going to the ballot. Our actions really protected the fundamental right of residents to have initiative. There are still unresolved issues that (Hunt) is asking for a trial date to be set for,” Stacie Oulton, Lakewood’s spokeswoman said.
Those remaining issues that Hunt is still seeking to resolve in court revolve around constitutional matters pertaining to the initiative. Since there still has to be a trial, the initiative is unlikely to be a part of this upcoming November ballot. However, there is still hope that voters can decide on the issue in a special election.
“(The Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative) is going to make Lakewood more expensive than it already is. I’m going to fight it in the courts, or the ballot box, one way, or another,” Dorman said in a brief statement to the Lakewood Sentinel.
Cathy Kentner, a board member of the Lakewood Neighborhood Partnership and the woman who has been largely responsible for getting the initiative off the ground, said she was frustrated that the initiative has to go to another trial.
“I believe the signature gathering process shows that this is something that the community wants. Now voters are further frustrated,” Kentner said.
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