After being first proposed in June 2017, the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative is now going to an election on July 2, there is at least one community group that is opposing its passage. Our …
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After being first proposed in June 2017, the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative is now going to an election on July 2, there is at least one community group that is opposing its passage.
Our Lakewood, a community group which advocated for the passing of the Lakewood TABOR vote, has opposed the initiative.
Trish Merkel has lived in Lakewood for nine years, and is a member of Our Lakewood as well as the president of the O’Kane Park Neighborhood Association. She said she understands the concerns about growth in Lakewood, but she doesn’t believe a residential growth cap is the way to address those concerns. She pointed to the challenges a growth cap has created in Golden and Boulder. The median rent price for an apartment is $1,597 in Golden and $1,903 in Boulder, according to the RentCafe website. In Lakewood, the average rent price for an apartment is $1,444.
“When (the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative) was first proposed, it was concerning to all of us that we would become a Boulder, or a type of Golden. Personally, I feel that it would impact development, new businesses from coming in, and it would increase cost of living in Lakewood,” said Merkel. “That would hurt the lower income families. People are already needing to move out of Lakewood, because they can’t afford to live here.”
Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul said he shares Our Lakewood’s stance against the initiative. Paul said the city has taken steps to address growth concerns in recent years, including purchasing more parkland and increasing fees on developers. Those fees go toward funding for parks and open space.
“I think what this initiative says is we’re building an exclusive community. We’re not Boulder, we’re not Golden,” said Paul. “It’s simple economics. You limit the supply, you have more demand. What’s that going to do to your prices? You have two communities who have done this who are two of the most expensive communities to live in.”
Paul said supporters of the initiative helped bring forward issues that the community is talking about.
“We reacted to a lot of those concerns, and we’re going to continue to do so in a process that is inclusive to the city and residents, rather than exclusive. At the end of the day, we all care about our community,” he said.
Steven Buckley, a six-year Lakewood resident, said he can understand why people support the initiative, and he doesn’t believe all residential growth is necessarily good. However, he worries that supporters of the initiative are misguided.
“(The Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative) would be devastating for affordability not just in Lakewood, but in the broader Denver community, because Lakewood is such a sizeable part of Metro Denver’s housing market. I think it will have a lot of negative consequences for people who will be priced out and possibly me one day,” Buckley said.
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