The city of Lakewood's 2019 was dominated by headlines pertaining to elections, lawsuits, new Lakewood City Council ordinances, 50th birthdays, a government shutdown and more. With the new calendar …
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The city of Lakewood's 2019 was dominated by headlines pertaining to elections, lawsuits, new Lakewood City Council ordinances, 50th birthdays, a government shutdown and more. With the new calendar year in its early days, it's a great time to reflect on the past year and remember the events that defined 2019.
Take a trip down memory lane and relive what happened in Lakewood this past year.
Lakewood says goodbye to Joe
The city of Lakewood said goodbye to Joe Margotte when he passed away on Nov. 22, 2019. Margotte was 88, and he was the owner of the Chicago Style Beef and Dogs restaurant in Lakewood. Outside of the restaurant, Margotte was a Lakewood advocate. He participated in the West Colfax Community Association, was a member of the Green Mountain Community Association and was the first donor to the nonprofit that became the 40 West Arts District.
Lakewood City Council goes to work
As always, it was a busy year for Lakewood City Council, and 2019 resulted in some ordinances designed to do good being passed.
In January of 2019, Lakewood City Council unanimously voted in favor of a new tobacco licensing system. The ordinance requires retailers who sell non-cigarette tobacco products to have to pay a licensing fee. Products like e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snus, pipe tobacco, cigars and cigarillos fall under the category of non-cigarette products. The clerk age to sell tobacco products was raised to 18 under the new ordinance, and non-cigarette tobacco products are required to be put behind counters in Lakewood retail stores. One in four Colorado youth under the age of 18 were able to purchase an electronic vapor product, according to a 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado survey.
Other 2019 ventures for Lakewood City Council included the passing of a new licensing program for hotels and motels. As of March 2019, half of the homicides in Lakewood since 2015 have occurred in motels. To combat the problem, Lakewood City Council approved a licensing program that requires hotels and motels to obtain a one-year renewable city license. The licensing program is designed to create a relationship between the city and lodging facilities to improve business practices, provide direct contact with Lakewood Police and to improve safety and security. There are 44 hotels and motels in Lakewood.
West Metro settles with former firefighters
Tim O'Hayre, a former firefighter for West Metro Fire, and Ruth Brienza, the wife of another former West Metro Fire fighter, filed a lawsuit against the district in 2018, alleging that the Executive Committee of IAFF Local 1309, a union for current West Metro Fire employees, and the district gave funds from a health trust to its current employees while the trust was being closed down. The lawsuit reached a settlement in May of 2019 and resulted in West Metro Fire agreeing to pay 70 retired firefighters and their dependents $1.2 million.
Anniversaries in Lakewood
2019 marked a significant moment for the city of Lakewood — a 50th anniversary.
Lakewood was on June 24, 1969 when residents voted 8,478 to 3,371 to become a city. Celebrations honoring the milestone were celebrated all of 2019 throughout Lakewood, including a new public art piece honoring the anniversary, popup parties, celebrations and “Lakewood: A 20th Century Journey,” an exhibit at the Lakewood Heritage Center that celebrates Lakewood's incorporation.
Other entities that celebrated an anniversary in 2019 include the Action Center, a human-services nonprofit that turned 50, and Jeffco Public Health, who celebrated a 60th anniversary in 2019.
Growth ordinance finally reaches voters — and passes
After a near two-year process of working to get the measure on ballot, the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative was passed in July of 2019.
The Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative limits new home construction to 1% of the city's housing stock and requires Lakewood City Council to hold a public hearing and vote to approve residential projects with 40 units or more. In 2017 supporters of the measured gathered enough signatures for it to be considered by Lakewood City Council.
Lakewood resident Steve Dorman protested the initiative in court, alleging it violated constitutional rights, property owners in Lakewood and would hurt future Lakewood City Council's municipal powers. Toward the end of 2018, a Jefferson County judge ruled against his claims. City code had prohibited City Council from moving the initiative any further while it was under protest, but at the beginning of 2019, Council voted to change that rule — paving the way for the measure to go to Lakewood voters.
Final election results show 52.6% of residents voted in favor of the measure, while 47.4% voted against it.
City elections close out 2019
Lakewood's 2019 elections were headlined by a mayoral rematch between Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul and Lakewood City Councilmember Ramey Johnson.
Paul beat out Johnson 54.7% to 45.3% in the November 2019 election. Lakewood City Councilmember Charley Able held onto his position by beating out Kyra deGruy 50.4% to 49.6% while Anita Springsteen defeated Henry Hollender 56.6% to 43.4% for the Ward 3 Lakewood City Council seat. Lakewood City Councilmember Barb Franks was reelected for her Ward 4 seat when she beat out Christopher Arlen 68% to 32%. Dana Gutwein will continue to represent Ward 5 on City Council after she beat Chad Gardner 64.4% to 35.6%. Lakewood City Councilmember Sharon Vincent was the only candidate to run for the Ward 2 race.
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