Plan for 31 affordable housing units clears planning commission

Dev. would expand Mountain View Apartments on 24th Street

Posted 1/9/19

More affordable housing will likely be coming to Golden in the near future. Golden's Planning Commission on Jan. 2 approved a plan that will provide the community with 31 affordable housing units at …

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Plan for 31 affordable housing units clears planning commission

Dev. would expand Mountain View Apartments on 24th Street

Posted

More affordable housing will likely be coming to Golden in the near future.

Golden's Planning Commission on Jan. 2 approved a plan that will provide the community with 31 affordable housing units at 612 24th St. These will be in addition to the already-existing 20 affordable housing units at the Mountain View Apartments on the same property.

The applicant for the development is the Jefferson County Housing Authority (JCHA), a local organization that exists to address the housing needs of low-and-moderate income people and families.

“We feel Golden is an amazing community for our families,” said Lori Rosendahl, JCHA's executive director and CEO, noting that the authority has several affordable housing units in Golden.

This site in particular, added Julie Stern, JCHA's developer, is particularly attractive for affordable housing because it is in close proximity to public transit, grocery stores, trailheads and other necessary amenities such as doctors' offices.

Planning Commission took on three related issues pertaining to the affordable housing development. The first was the site plan, which only requires the commission's approval. The second was determining if the criteria are met for the early start allocations of annual housing growth — permission to build under the city's annual once-percent growth cap. The third was a partial closure of the alley that currently runs between 23rd and 24th streets to make room for more building, with remaining alley access from Jackson Street rather than 24th Street.

Planning Commission can only recommend to Golden City Council what to do on the second and third issues. The council is expected to decide on those issues at the scheduled meeting of Feb. 14.

The commission voted on all three with one vote. It passed six-to-one. Commissioner Don Cameron provided the `no' vote. He said he would have voted `yes' for both the early start allocations and the alley vacation, but he had issues with the site plan.

Site plan

The proposed development, 612 24th St., is about one acre.

The site is zoned Community Mixed Use Neighborhood Center (CMU-NC). This zoning requires a minimum of 25 percent commercial, however on June 6, 2018, Planning Commission approved a special use permit for the developer to build 100 percent residential.

It is proposed to be a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments for rent, and outdoor amenities include a playground and courtyard.

The rentals would be restricted to families who earn 60 percent or less of the Area Median Income. Priority will first be granted to Golden's current residents and workforce who qualify, followed by Jefferson County, and lastly, it would be opened up to others in the Denver-metro area, Rosendahl said.

Planning Commission had to consider a number of waivers for the development, as some of the plans do not meet the city's standards:

Trees — Planning Commission will allow the developer to replace trees in other parts of the community because of spacing issues on the property.

Setback on 24th Street — The front of the building facing 24th Street will be allowed a smaller setback requirement to accommodate a planned courtyard and play area.

Height of building on Jackson Street — The zoning of the proposed development allows for a maximum height of 30 feet, with the “possibility of obtaining a Tier 2 Bonus to allow a partial third floor of up to 40 feet, provided that the third floor is stepped back at least eight feet from the lower floors to reduce the impact at street level,” states city documents. The eight-foot stepback is already planned for the sides of the building facing Ford and 24th streets. However, the wood frame construction makes it difficult to meet the stepback requirement for the Jackson Street frontage.

Off-site parking —The development is 13 spaces shy of the required amount of parking. Therefore, JCHA is in communication with Jeffco Public Schools about an agreement to receive 13 parking spaces in the nearby Golden High School parking lot. This is allowable by code, with the spaces being within the 300-foot distance of the property. However, should the agreement not be finalized or if it expires by or prior to the issuance of a building permit, JCHA must either provide proof of a similar, alternative parking agreement or return to Planning Commission to request a variance of the parking requirement.

Many people expressed their concerns of safety, both in person during public comment on Jan. 2 and through letters addressing the Planning Commission, about the off-site parking. They pointed out that crossing both Jackson and Ford streets at 24th Street is already dangerous in current conditions.

“Cars are OK at stopping at the raised crosswalk in the traffic circle, but rarely stop for pedestrians at 24th Street,” wrote Golden resident Maren Olson in a letter addressed to Planning Commission. “I hope there will be additional traffic control measures at the 24th Street crosswalks as part of this plan.”

Golden resident Bethany Thomas spoke in favor of the project on Jan. 2, pointing out that through her work with the Salvation Army Golden Service Extension Unit at Calvary Church, she encounters families struggling with the cost of living on a weekly basis.

“We need more affordable housing in Golden,” she said. “There are so many families who are burdened … and can't meet all of their basic needs. I know many families whose rent is going up and they have to leave the community because they can no longer afford to live here.”

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