Authorizing Allocations for 533 Van Gordon Street
Comments & Feedback
the proposal to allow 533 Van Gordon Street to exceed the 40-unit limit (established by the Strategic Growth Initiative (SGI) / Question 200) as set forth in Section 14.27 will be the first time this cornerstone of the citizens' initiative is considered. As such, this first action will establish precedence for subsequent requests. Therefore, it is critical this process be fully and correctly followed.
As also noted last week, the proposed resolution on the July 27, 2020 meeting agenda was not properly noticed to the public. City code requires this process include a proper “public hearing” as defined in Section 188.8.131.52.
It was discovered the required (184.108.40.206.2) notice of public hearing in the city’s “publication of record” at least 10 days prior to the hearing was NOT satisfied. There was NO notice in the Denver Post (City’s publication of record). Nor were there any public meeting notices on the City website’s public notice page.
Furthermore a mailing to property owners is required to be postmarked at least 14 days prior but not more than 30 days prior to the hearing date. The actual date of the mailing was listed as July 14 which was 13 days prior to the July 27 hearing date.
Council’s appropriate reaction to this discovery was to not take any action at the July 27, 2020 City Council meeting. The next step is to schedule a public hearing at a future date in which the proper public notification procedures can be followed. These include: (1) posting signs on the property at least 14 days prior to hearing, (2) notice in publication of record at least 10 days prior, AND (3) a mailing to property owners postmarked at least 14 days but not more than 30 days prior to hearing.
At this point, it is NOT clear WHEN these legal requirements are going to be met. At this time (as of August 3), there is no legal notice of a public hearing. As noted above, the July 27 City Council regular meeting did NOT satisfy the requirements for a proper and legal public hearing.
There continues to be NO notice on the City’s website public notice page. The July 31, 2020 public email blast from Ron Ritschard called UPDATE: What’s ahead for Lakewood City Council does NOT make any reference to a public hearing on 533 Van Gordon. However, it does give notice of a public hearing to vacate a portion of the W. Yale Ave. public right of way. (see attachments below)
Furthermore, the July 27 sign posting is outdated, the mailing was originally insufficient and is now irrelevant and there has NEVER been a notice in the publication of record (Denver Post).
On the other hand, the August 10, 2020 City Council agenda as listed on the City’s website on July 31, 2020 lists a continuation of resolution of 2020-23. It does NOT list it as a public hearing in accordance to the requirements of 14.27.040B.
The August 10, 2020, Council meeting packet merely repeats the inadequate and insufficient staff memo included in the July 27 meeting package. The public hearing notice requirements for this important item still have NOT been satisfied.08/03/2020 3:57 pm
The key elements of the City Code are:
(1.) Council must make a “finding” of unmet community “need”,
(2.) Council must first hold a “public hearing”,
(3.) The public hearing requires “notice to the public – pursuant to the provisions of Section 220.127.116.11”:
a.) Posting signs on the property at least 14 days prior to hearing,
b.) Notice in the publication of record (Denver Post) at least 10 days prior to hearing,
c.) Notice to property owners in the vicinity – POSTMARKED at least 14 days prior but not more than 30 days prior to hearing.
I.) Public notice of the required public hearing.
To date no sufficient public notice for a public hearing (either July 27 or August 10) has been made – all three requirements of Section 18.104.22.168 have not been satisfied (previous efforts to satisfy the first and third requirements were inadequate, and the second requirement was not even attempted).
II.) Satisfying an “unmet community need”
A.) Applicant’s presentation – the applicant submitted a five minute video that spent four minutes saying they are really swell people and one minute saying this location offers them good sales opportunities. Essentially nothing on why the project would be of any value to the community. Nor any explanation as to why a smaller, more compatible project would not be valuable to the community.
B.) The proposal is incompatible with the surrounding neighborhoods. It is denser than even the infamous Beacon 85 everyone agrees was a mistake.
III.) Staff report
City Planning Department staff cites the 2017 City of Lakewood Housing Study as proof of an “unmet community need”. Staff states this housing study claims employment growth is strong and housing growth is not proportional to employment growth.
The 2017 “housing study” staff cited is outdated and invalid. The report was “delivered” to Council in August 2017 – three (3) years ago. The report is purported to cover data up to 2015 – five (5) years ago. In addition, there is a natural time lap between when data occurs and when it gets recorded. With all these delays the data (even if it were accurate) would be at least seven (7) years old.
The City’s zoning rules were changed in 2013 – seven (7) years ago. Therefore, this report does NOT factor in the effects of the zoning changes made seven years ago.
In addition, the time period purportedly used in the “housing study” was right after the completion of St. Anthony Hospital in June 2011 which resulted in an explosion of employment growth in the Union Blvd. corridor area. However, employment growth has been relatively stable since that major event.
Currently there is no accounting of the impact of declining employment in west Lakewood. In 2015, the strip shopping center along Union Blvd (with Kobe An restaurant, etc.) closed and was replaced with Beacon 85’s 343 additional apartments in 2017. Proposed for the near future is the conversion of the government offices at 66 S. Van Gordon into 343 more apartments.
The 2017 “housing study” stated: “Lakewood employment grew 15,900 between 2001 and 2016” This would correspond to the addition of St. Anthony Hospital in 2011 and the associated medical offices located adjacent to the hospital. Since then employment has grown at a more modest pace.
Lakewood’s Economic Development Office (**City of Lakewood Economic Development Office, State of Colorado Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages and Annual Employers Survey) estimates the City’s employment base as follows during the past several years:
2014 - 72,110
2015 - 74,610
2016 - 73,450
2017 - 74,045
2018 - 76,200
2019 - 74,700
While there have been some fluctuations over the past six years overall employment has grown about 2,590 or about three and half percent (3.5%).
The 2017 “housing study” states Lakewood’s housing stock increased by only 5,100 units between 2000 and 2015.
Since then there has been a tremendous increase in housing development in Lakewood and the metro area. For the entire Denver metro area, 3,487 new apartments were added in the 4th quarter of 2019.
The AAMD (Apartment Association of Metro Denver) Rent and Vacancy Study for 4th Quarter 2019 stated –
Jefferson County inventory of apartments was 42,271 units at the beginning of 2014. At the end of 2019 the inventory of apartments in Jeffco was 50,562 units. This constitutes an increase in apartment inventory of 8,291 units over a six year period. This is nearly a 20% increase overall or an average of over 3% per year.
At the city level, the development boom after the 2013 zoning changes can be seen in the number of building permits issued in recent years.
2013 - 1,912
2014 - 2,166
2015 - 2,315
2016 - 2,291
2017 - 2,893
2018 - 2,564
2019 - 1,841
2020 - 887 (through 8/5/2020)
16,869 building permits issued since passage of the 2013 zoning code change.
Lakewood Economic Development Dept. website’s 2020 Community Profile states: Total housing units – 69,000
Assuming the city’s data is correct and there were nearly 17,000 building permits issued since 2013 then compared to the total housing stock of about 69,000 units, it would appear nearly one-quarter (25%) of our housing stock was built since the zoning changes.
While there have been some fluctuations over the past six years overall employment in Lakewood has grown about 2,590 or about three and half percent (3.5%). However, housing supply has increased dramatically with nearly 17,000 building permits issued since the 2013 zoning change.
It does appear clear the growth in housing supply (about 17,000 units) has increased far faster than employment growth (about 2,590).
This reality is the exact opposite of the “conclusion” drawn by the 2017 “housing study” and cited by city staff as justification for satisfying a “unmet community need”. Without a pressing “need” there is no “finding” that can justify an exemption to the SGI/200 limit on large developments.08/07/2020 5:26 pm
Ask City Staff a Question
Ask Applicant a Question
Your Question has been submitted.