Growing pains in Lakewood

Residents discuss why they’re voting for the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative

Posted 6/4/19

When the Beacon85 Apartments opened up along 85 S. Union Blvd., Lakewood resident Alan Heald’s frustration grew. Heald, who has lived in the city since 2007, said the apartment complex sits where …

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Growing pains in Lakewood

Residents discuss why they’re voting for the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative

Posted

When the Beacon85 Apartments opened up along 85 S. Union Blvd., Lakewood resident Alan Heald’s frustration grew. Heald, who has lived in the city since 2007, said the apartment complex sits where three of some of his go-to restaurants used to be, and it created an “ominous feel of a concrete.”

“(The Beacon85 Apartments are) a short hop from my house. I have not talked to one person who likes it,” said Heald. “It doesn’t fit in the neighborhood there. There may be places that it works, but that was a bad decision.”

Heald has known Cathy Kentner, the woman who spearheaded the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative, for years, and him and others are planning on voting for the city to implement the ordinance in the upcoming July 2 special election.

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

Anita Springsteen, a City Council candidate for Ward 3, particularly cited the upcoming Novel White Fence Farm apartment complex as an example of growing pains in Lakewood. The project, which is replacing the long-standing White Fence Farm restaurant, will hold 260 units with construction scheduled for the end of the year. At a Feb. 4 community meeting, residents cited concerns about traffic and parking that they feel will become problems with Novel White Fence Farm.

“People express concerns about traffic, noise, parking, crime, congestion, safety, higher cost of living, lack of open space, lack of resources, and overall, a more chaotic and unsafe environment — but it all boils down to one thing. People feel they are losing their little town in the city that has always drawn a certain type of resident here, and they are sad,” said Springsteen.

Rhonda Peters has lived in Lakewood since 2011. She says one of her concerns is overcrowding in school classrooms. Peters also cited her morning commute on Kipling street as becoming difficult due to high traffic.

“Anybody who wants to see (development) done with more thoughtfulness… They paint this like we don’t want growth, or development — like we’re not inclusive,” said Peters. “This is so important, and it’s hard, because it’s neighbor against neighbor, and everyone cares about their community.”

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