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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyDecember 29, 20173min651

After beating the federal government in court last fall, a local homeless coalition has submitted an application to take ownership of a 59-acre parcel near the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood.

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless won the court battle in late September after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) declared a 59-acre Lakewood parcel near the Denver Federal Center suitable for use by the homeless.

On Tuesday, the coalition filed the ownership application with the Department of Health and Human Services, according to the Lakewood Sentinel. Now, the clock starts ticking, with HHS allowed 10 days to review the application; if approved, the homeless coalition has 45 days to submit a full plan, the paper reports.

The U.S. General Services Administration  — the government’s landlord — had planned to sell the land in an auction in July but instead found itself in a federal court, which halted the auction, after the homeless coalition filed a formal objection. The coalition argued letting the sale proceed as planned effectively would sidestep a 1987 law that requires the agency to make the land available for serving the homeless.

The Lakewood Sentinel noted while plans are still being crafted, the homeless coalition is considering temporary homeless housing options on the site, which could include FEMA-style trailers. Furthemore, the coalition is eyeying 500 to 600 permanent affordable housing units on the site sometime down the road.

Some Lakewood officials like Councilwoman Ramey Johnson are concerned about the coalition’s plans for the site.

“Because of all the build-out we’ve seen in the city, it would’ve been nice if it could’ve been turned into a park or open space,” the Sentinel wrote quoting Councilmember Ramey Johnson. “Whatever it becomes, it needs to be something everyone has buy in on.”


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyDecember 13, 20172min568

With development at the forefront in Lakewood, the city wants to field as much resident feedback as possible.

As many large cities already do, Lakewood is turning to the digital world to inform residents about city government, solicit comments and gauge the community on hot topics like development, the Lakewood Sentinel reports.

As the Sentinel’s Clarke Reader notes, the city’s turnout during the fall election was disappointing, spurring city leaders to explore how to get residents more involved in the process. The idea being, those who can’t make an evening City Council meeting can educate themselves with the details online.

After claiming victory in her bid for reelection to the Ward 5 seat on Lakewood’s city council, during an election season where the most debated topic was development in the city, Karen Harrison spoke about the need for people to get involved in the process to ensure their input is heard.

“We had dismal turnout to some of our open houses on changes to the zoning ordinance,” she said at the time. “People should go to our planning commission meetings, where they can hear some of these important topics discussed, and provide their feedback.”

The city is looking at options like LakewoodTogether.com, where interested parties can find “videos, links to documents and plans, and places for resident comments and feedback.”

The city is vetting its zoning ordinance and wants to begin posting plans to LakewoodSpeaks.org as part of the city’s new approach.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoySeptember 11, 20173min739

The opening salvo in the court fray over a Lakewood ballot initiative aimed at curtailing city growth turned into a six-hour marathon hearing late last week.

The Lakewood Sentinel’s Clarke Reader detailed the second day of administrative hearings which dragged on over half a dozen hours on Thursday and took testimony from 44 “petitioners, circulators and notaries, about the process leading to getting enough signatures to put the initiative before city council or on the ballot in November.”

The court battle started after citizens group Lakewood Neighborhood Partnerships (LNP) canvassed the city, gathering petition signatures in support of a 1 percent annual limit on residential growth. The group’s proposal would also establish a permit system, requiring City Council approval for all projects of 40 units or more while lifting permit requirements for redevelopment of existing units in “blighted or distressed areas.”

The group submitted the required number of petition signatures to the city, and the City Council was set to consider pushing the initiative to the ballot but had to delay action due to a legal challenge.

That formal protest was from Lakewood resident and Vice Chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party Steve Dorman, contending the ballot initiative lacks an “adequate description.”

On Thursday, counsel for both sides — Dennis Polk for Dorman and former Secretary of State Scott Gessler for LNP board members — gave arguments centered on the validity of petition signatures, Reader reported. Polk argued that signatures were not submitted in accordance with city election law.

His point was that the bulk of the circulators’ affidavits were not signed and submitted under oath. Since the affidavits did not include language stating the circulators took an oath when they turned in the signatures, those petitions and signatures are not valid.

Countering that argument, Gessler argued that the act of signing was an affirmation of the validity of signatures, and that not making customers swear an official oath is common practice for notaries.