Adam McCoyAdam McCoyMarch 12, 20184min2024

It’s been the resounding message from city officials and vocal residents in Lakewood: A 59-acre site near the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood is a poor choice for a large-scale homeless facility.

The sentiment is also the upshot of a new guest commentary from Lakewood City Councilman Charley Able appearing in the Denver Post on Friday.

Earlier this month, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless revealed its preliminary plans for the Lakewood parcel, which could include a solar-powered campus with trailers, geodesic domes and tents as an initial build-out, eventually adding some 600 affordable and supportive housing units.

Lakewood officials have been vocal about their opposition and some residents expressed concerns about the campus attracting riffraff to the city, including one resident characterizing it as building a ghetto in the city.

In the commentary piece, Able notes while Lakewood agrees there is a need for homeless services, the city has a responsibility to the community as a whole. Sharing a sentiment from Councilwoman Ramey Johnson, he writes the city is working with CCH to find a “more appropriate setting.”

“The Lakewood City Council is united in opposing the coalition’s plans for the Federal Center site because 59 acres is too large a parcel for the coalition to properly develop and manage,” Able writes. “The concentration of housing for the homeless on the site could quickly strain resources such as police and fire protection as well as overwhelming nearby schools and services for others in need of a helping hand.”

“It also would nullify seven years of community input into our comprehensive plan,” Able continues.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) declared the Lakewood land suitable for use by the homeless after CCH took the federal government to court and won last fall. As part of the process of taking ownership of the site, CCH must provide its financing plans for the $120 million project to HUD by March 9.

Read Able’s full piece here.


Adam McCoyAdam McCoyFebruary 5, 20183min804

An advocacy group has been given the initial OK from the federal government for its plan to construct housing and provide services for those experiencing homelessness in Lakewood.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) approved an initial application from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless late last month, the Lakewood Sentinel reports. CCH noted in the application it will use the 59-acre site near the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood to house and provide services for the homeless. Next on the docket, CCH must provide its financing plans for the $120 million project by March 9.

While final plans aren’t yet concrete, a Denverite report noted how CCH hopes to open with low-income housing options on a scale the Denver area hasn’t seen before. The site will start out with some trailers and tents, but could eventually offer some 600 affordable and supportive housing units. The initial build out could include a solar-powered campus, with “trailers, geodesic domes and large, insulated tents on a large tract of federal land.”

The project has sparked a debate in Lakewood, with some neighbors wary, but as the Sentinel notes, the city has no power since the site is federally-owned land.

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.

CCH won the court battle in late September after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) declared the Lakewood land suitable for use by the homeless.

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.


Adam McCoyAdam McCoyDecember 13, 20172min599

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.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningSeptember 14, 20175min921

Two Lakewood Republicans are considering whether to challenge U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter's bid for a seventh term in the 7th Congressional District, Colorado Politics has learned. Jerry Natividad, who mounted a brief campaign last year for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Michael Bennet, and Mark Barrington, who has run for legislative and city council seats, both said they're thinking about running for the seat — particularly after Perlmutter said in April he was running for governor and wouldn't seek reelection, then dropped from the gubernatorial field in July and then declared in August he was back in the congressional race.


Adam McCoyAdam McCoySeptember 11, 20173min775

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.


Jeff HuntJeff HuntSeptember 7, 20175min720
Centennial Institute Director Jeff Hunt
Jeff Hunt

Conservatives believe that the most influential government should be local governments – not bureaucrats thousands of miles away in Washington, D.C. If you’re going to make decisions that affect our lives, you better look us in the eye.

That’s why we take local government so seriously. Because when people are working hard to make their lives better, the difference between success and failure can be a local government’s decision to stand in the way, or get out of the way.

Unfortunately, local government can make bad decisions just like Washington, D.C. bureaucrats can. If conservatives fail to challenge the culture of big government at the local level, these defeats in city halls and county courthouses will send a powerful message to lawmakers and bureaucrats in state legislatures and the nation’s capital. We must first look after our own backyards, even as we champion limited government at the federal and state level.

Therefore, I am opposing the anti-growth ballot measure in Lakewood this fall, and invite other conservatives to join the cause. This measure is bureaucratic in the extreme. It ignores basic economic principles, tramples property rights and promises to drive up taxes and living expenses for working families. It’s more than 4,800 words of red tape that authorizes even more red tape. It’s the opposite of limited government.

Dive into the details and you’ll find the measure caps residential growth at one percent per year. Why one percent? Why not a half percent, or one and a half percent or some other rate? Central planners and social engineers love setting arbitrary goals, but these made-up numbers should ring major alarm bells for everyone else.

Lakewood’s growth is the product of many different factors, including supply and demand for housing, employment opportunities in the region, and case-by-case permitting and zoning decisions by city officials. Imposing top-down, command-and-control limits on residential growth will throw the local economy out of balance, inviting all kinds of unintended consequences.

Consider transportation, for example: If people with jobs in Lakewood can’t afford to live here, how much worse will traffic get when they start commuting longer distances?

Then there’s the matter of enforcement. The one-percent growth cap would be policed with a complex new system of building rights – or “allocations.” Without an allocation, it doesn’t matter if a property owner has a project meeting all the relevant zoning and permitting requirements. Their project, and their right to invest in their own property, will be denied.

In the end, of course, only the biggest property owners and developers can afford the lobbyists and lawyers needed to secure their allocations. Smaller businesses and property owners will be mostly shut out, forced to sell or partner with a handful of large and politically connected players in the real estate market.

This kind of cronyism is inevitable when governments try to ration goods and services. It always results in higher costs for the average consumer. The anti-growth ballot measure in Lakewood is no different.

By artificially restricting residential development, and limiting competition only to firms that can navigate the new allocation system, the ballot measure guarantees supply won’t keep pace with demand. This pressure will drive up property taxes, rents and mortgages to levels that many Lakewood families cannot afford.

As conservatives, we have a responsibility to defeat this ballot measure. But I also see an opportunity to show how the principles of limited government can help working families, seniors and other residents in Lakewood who may be forced out if the ballot measure passes.

Finally, we should recognize this ballot measure for what it really is: A throwback to the discredited “limits to growth” philosophy of the 1970s. That philosophy lives on today in elitist liberal enclaves like San Francisco and Boulder, but it’s wrong for the country. It certainly has no place in Lakewood.

Please, join the fight against the forces of big government in our own backyard and defeat the anti-growth ballot measure in Lakewood.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 28, 20175min236

ColoradoPolitics.com has reported before on a couple of ballot proposals to curb growth in Lakewood, the old, inner-ring Denver burb that has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years.

The pending Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative would among other things place a 1 percent annual growth limit on new residential construction. Meanwhile, a proposal by a Lakewood City Council member to ask voters in November to place a moratorium on new building permits has stalled after failing last month to get support from a council majority.

Critics of both efforts say they would undermine the city’s ongoing economic revitalization. Opponents of the ballot proposals include Mayor Adam Paul and most council members.

Such push-back from the status quo is duly noted by the authors of an anonymous blog covering Lakewood politics. LakewoodPols.com, which is sympathetic to the growth-control measures, offers some insights into the face-off defining local politics — pitting what the blog refers to as the “establishment” against “reformers.” Under the headline “Establishment Loss in 2017?” the blog sketches out potential scenarios in the November municipal election’s council races:

Five Council seats are up for election in November.  Two seats are open since the incumbents Scott Koop (W2) and David Wiechman (W4) are term-limited.  In Ward 3 Shakti is stepping down to run for the state house thus creating an open seat.   In the other two wards, incumbents will be running for a second term – Ramey Johnson (W1) and Karen Harrison (W5).

Of the five seats contested, two are currently held by reformers – Johnson and Wiechman.  If these two seats are held by independent candidates then the balance remains at 6-5 in favor of the establishment.  If the independents pick up one of the other three seats currently held by the establishment (Koop, Shakti and Harrison) then the balance of power could swing to a 5-6 vote in favor of the independents.

LakewoodPols also blogged last week on what it contends are “strange bedfellows” in the dust-up over growth — an alliance between left and right:

Reformer Ramey Johnson, supported by the Council independents, proposed a six-month moratorium on new building permits for large multi-family residential projects.  The liberals led by Max Tyler, supported by Tom Quinn, Gary Harty, et. al. opposed any slow down in the City’s current high-density growth program claiming even a temporary time-out might decrease the supply of new low-cost housing.

This time, the extreme left was joined by the extreme right, led by the out-of-state Koch Brothers lobbying group (Americans for Prosperity).  The right claimed slowing down growth could affect the property rights of the developers.  This strange alliance is the latest example of the extremes of politics (left and right) having a shared interest in keeping the political environment in constant turmoil.  This is not the first time the extremes have joined together to oppose the moderate middle ground’s efforts to fashion reasonable solutions that actually work.

An interesting take that certainly challenges conventional thinking: Moderates back growth control; growth is supported by the extremsts.


Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 24, 20175min234
A formal objection has been filed against a proposed initiative aimed at curtailing construction growth in Lakewood. Lakewood resident Steve Dorman says proponents would need to amend the city charter to accomplish limiting growth until a strategic plan can be developed. “I am calling on the proponents of this poorly crafted ballot measure to withdraw their petition […]

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Ernest LuningErnest LuningAugust 12, 20179min2169

After cutting a provocative path though Colorado’s political scene for half a decade, conservative spinmeister Jonathan Lockwood pulled up stakes and decamped for a strange land with strange customs, a place unaccustomed to his rapid-fire, unrelenting attacks on liberals and his take-no-prisoners approach to making a point — a place called Oregon.


Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 2, 201710min374
Efforts aimed at curtailing construction growth in Lakewood until a strategic plan can be developed are drawing political fire. The Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiative and a separate effort by a city council member to place a moratorium on growth have faced a backlash from the right-leaning Americans For Prosperity, and within the community. On Monday, […]

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