I’m concerned about the proposed development at 533 Van Gordon, one of the first developments of over 40 units that is coming under the Strategic Growth Initiative. Because it’s big and these are the initial months under the SGI, 533 Van Gordon will set precedents. I fear these precedents do not serve the Lakewood citizens who voted for the SGI. I also think this developer’s application (initially denied) has had a mysterious fluctuation of unit numbers which has only become publicly known as 232 in recent weeks. The whole process has been slipped until the good citizens are crazy-busy with holiday planning.
This project’s need hasn’t been proven. Using a 2015 housing survey is an easy way to cheat – many, many units have already been built on Green Mountain since 2015, yet many, many jobs have been lost! We are nearly overrun with apartments on Green Mountain, and infrastructure such as roads is already inadequate. Housing is a drain on city resources, but commercial development more than pays for itself. Lakewood doesn’t have the jobs for all these new apartments, but Denver probably does. Approval of this intensive development pleases the developer, pleases Denver (where more housing is readily available for big-city commutes on light rail), but absolutely ignores the pleas of Lakewood residents who have begged for years to halt the building of yet more apartments in the Union Corridor.
All requirements of the SGI don’t just get thrown out the window when December approaches and there are still some unused allocations. The City’s oversight of all necessary notifications and comment opportunities has been inadequate. The total unit allocations kept shifting – when 300+ was denied, citizens heard about a much lower number, which eventually became 232. How many times does the developer get to come back with his plan? Does he plan to bank these units and go for the rest in 2021? Banking units in the surplus pool is not supposed to happen.
Once City Council and the Planning Department get cozy with developers, making exceptions and ignoring very specific requirements and notifications, such disregard of the City’s residents will become “the way it’s done” despite all the hopes and intents of Lakewood citizens in voting for the SGI.
Please do not approve the 232 allocations for development for 533 Van Gordon St.
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