Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative passes

The measure limits home construction to one percent and requires City Council to approve residential projects with 40 units, or more


After a long process, supporters of the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative have something to smile about.

The initiative, known as Question 200, passed by slightly more than a 5 percent margin. The measure will limit new home construction to one percent and will require Lakewood City Council to hold a public hearing and vote to approve residential projects with 40 units, or more. The initiative will go into effect immediately, according to Stacie Oulton, a spokesperson for the city.

Election results show nearly 53 percent of votes are in favor of the measure while 47 percent are against it. More than 35 percent of ballots were returned with 35,684 people voting as of July 8. The very last day for oversea and military ballots, and ballots with some problem with their signatures to be counted was July 10, which might change the vote totals by some small amount.

“From the beginning this has been a volunteer grassroots effort. From the beginning to the end, we did what we could and reached out to the community,” said Cathy Kentner, the proponent of the initiative. “The passion of the community and the community’s concern over development and seeing how its neighborhoods developed came through with the results. This is about giving everybody their voice, and I am really confident because of the passion of our community on both sides of the issue, that this will leave us stronger.”

Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul said he is glad the election process is over and is looking ahead.

“It’s time for us to continue to work and have some community healing. The people have cast their voices, and that’s important, and we’ll honor that and continue to work on this and other issues facing the city,” Paul told the Lakewood Sentinel.

In the summer of 2017 supporters of the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative gathered more than 6,000 verified signatures in support of the measure.

However, before the measure could reach City Council, Lakewood resident Steve Dorman protested the initiative in court. He alleged the measure violated constitutional rights, property owners in Lakewood and that it would limit future Lakewood City Council’s municipal powers. Toward the end of last year, a Jefferson County judge ruled against his claims.

City code prohibited Council from moving the initiative any further while it was under protest. At the beginning of the year, Council voted to change that rule, to ensure the growth ordinance could go before city voters.

“Three to five percent either direction is what I thought would happen,” said Dorman of the vote.

Bill Furman, a Lakewood resident, believes the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative won’t solve problems that supporters of the measure are concerned about like traffic, open space and growth.

“It’s not surprising people have genuine concerns. I think they are just going to find that (the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative) doesn’t solve those concerns,” said Furman.

Lakewood resident Rhonda Peters is happy the measure passed, but she said the vote was only the beginning. She said it’s imperative that residents participate in public hearings regarding residential projects.
“This measure helped to limit growth and it brings in citizen oversight, but if the citizens don’t show up and don’t participate, then we’re just going to have business as usual,” she said.


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