Zoning Ordinance Amendments - Housing & Mixed-Use
It has been discovered that a critical definition (student living units) was left out of the 2012 City of Lakewood Code which in its’ absence scrambles the context and intent of Ordinance 0-2003-17 vetted and placed into law, June of 2003.
The city memorandum concerning this issue is fundamentally flawed. It reads “ The tenants and neighbors allege that CCU is illegally expanding operations into a residential neighborhood, because 'student living units” are not permitted in residential zone” . The definition of “student living units” was surreptitiously removed from the city ordinance. A CORA request shows no record of any pro or con consideration of its’ removal. Thinking it may have been a clerical error that it was never codified I spoke with city staff. I was assured by city staff that it was not clerical. Yet, not one document can be provided through the CORA process showing any series of actions, at all, taken to achieve its’ termination. The Ordinance 0-2003-17 this MLCA neighborhood worked hard to pass was simply erased by a single unidentified person. The Ordinance 0-2003-17 went through the complete legal process and was properly vetted.
The following statement is acknowledged, “ The tenants and neighbors allege that CCU is illegally expanding operations into a residential neighborhood, because “Colleges/Universities” uses are not permitted in residential zone”.
The definition of Student Living Units according to the Ordinance 0-2003-17 is: A dwelling unit that is owned or controlled by a College and University and inhabited by students who are related or unrelated.
To resolve this problem, Ordinance 0-2003-17 should be translated/codified into the 2012 rewritten code in its’ entirety preserving its’ meaning, context and fundamental truth it so clearly conveys in its’ original form.03/29/2018 10:27 am
Whereas, It has been discovered that a critical definition (student living units) was left out of the 2012 City of Lakewood Code, and not one document can be provided through the CORA process showing any series of actions taken to achieve its termination, Ordinance 0-2003-17 must be translated/codified into the 2012 rewritten code in its’ entirety preserving its meaning, context and fundamental truth it so clearly conveys in its original form.03/29/2018 10:27 am
Per the Planning Commissions guidelines to solicit neighborhood feedback, please don't degrade our neighborhoods by allowing CCU to use homes purchased adjacent to the campus for student housing. This effectively makes our neighborhoods 'transient' with high turnover residents that don't have a vested interest in maintaining the quality of our neighborhoods. PLEASE ENFORCE THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF THE CITY ORDINANACE placed into affect June 2003. re: these homes .
Our neighborhoods are aware that a critical definition (student living units) was left out of the 2012 City of Lakewood Code which in its’ absence scrambles the context and intent of Ordinance 0-2003-17 vetted and placed into law, June of 2003.
The city zoning memorandum reads “ The tenants and neighbors allege that CCU is illegally expanding operations into a residential neighborhood, because 'student living units” are not permitted in residential zone” . The definition of “student living units” was surreptitiously removed from the city ordinance.
In reviewing my earlier comment I opened the attachment of the 2003 Ordinance that I reference only to notice certain phrases have been redacted including the definition of student living units ! How can this be in a pdf. file?
I am uploading another file and hopefully this one will be posted as written.
Open “Attachment” below03/29/2018 1:57 pm
Because the definition of "student living units" has been eliminated, it is difficult to explain how CCU's ownership of the duplexes on the east side of S. Cody Ct. has a different impact than private or corporate ownership. But I am going to try to explain. I lived on the west side of S. Cody Ct. For 18 yrs. until the university bought the duplex and moved me to my present residence across the street. In March 2017 I was told my lease would not be renewed. Although I had been and continue to be an exemplary tenant I was being asked to leave to provide housing solely to CCU students ( does this not imply university use and discriminate against everyone else?). Through a year of difficult negotiations I have signed a lease which will extend my tenancy for up to 2 yrs. I am fighting to preserve my neighborhood. Through a zoning change CCU was permitted to turn the duplexes on the west side of the street from R2 to multiuse, so why can't zoning be used to keep the east side of the street R2 prohibiting "student living units" and preventing another expansion of CCU's campus boundaries.03/30/2018 12:02 pm
I want to plainly state, if the wording currently does not support the restriction of CCU to use R-2 zoning for student housing, I simply ask that you add it. CCU has plenty of property currently zoned for student housing and while it may not be cost effective, they can remove some of their current structures and replace with taller structures. Thank you.04/02/2018 8:55 am
Here is my comment that I have also submitted to City Council and the Mayor. It is my comment to the Planning Commission also.
Let me begin with a simple question: Would you want to wake up one morning and find out that a University or college owned or controlled a house next door or across the street from your home, and that you would be subjected to that institution continually filling that house with an ever changing, transient group of college students, indefinitely into the future? If a non-institutional owner decides to rent a property to college students, that would be their right and a business decision. However, they may very well decide not to rent to students on a continuing basis in the future. The University/College, on the other hand, would have an ongoing interest in a perpetual "use", accommodating the institution's student housing needs.
The zoning changes that were made in 2003, were intended to protect neighborhoods from institutional uses and encroachment into low density residential zones.
During the passage and administration of subsequent zoning revisions since 2003 it seems that
the critical definition of "student living units" has been removed by staff, without any intentional policy decision by past Councils. The elimination of this language has caused less clarity and has undermined the intent of zoning which prohibits University/College uses in specified zones.
The current staff recommendations to the Planning Commission and ultimately to Council, ignore the facts and intent of the zoning that should have been in effect continuously for the past 15 years.
We are asking that the Council exert their political responsibility and power to protect our neighborhoods and the integrity of the decision making process that must be the result of policy decisions by elected officials and not those of city staff. Language in the zoning code regarding student housing must be restored and the intent of the Council passed ordinance from 2003 must be upheld.
Thank you for your consideration of this letter and all the extensive detailed information that I and others have provided on this issue recently and during the past 12 months.
Mid-Lakewood Civic Association
Ordinance 0-2003-17 be properly placed into the 2012 rewritten code in its’ entirety preserving its’ meaning, context and fundamental truth it so clearly conveys in its’ original form.04/03/2018 12:30 pm
My comments are in regards to the Mixed Use section of the zoning code. I support the changes being made to the language adding clarifications about a mixed-use project allowed to have one use in a building within the zone and appreciate that staff is using the Union corridor as a case study to determine the best proportions of mixed uses within the overall zone. Vertical mixed use is a unique and small portion of the market (development market, construction expertise and sales market), and if each building was required to be vertically mixed use, I believe we would see an increase in run-down and/or blighted properties due to lack of interest in redevelopment, or floundering and/or vacant commercial spaces on the lower levels.
However, I agree with some resident’s objections to the multi-family project within the Mixed Use zones not having to comply with the amenity/open space standards defined in a standard residential zone for a multi-family project. I think that Staff and the Commission should consider adding a note within the Mixed Use Zone language that if the project is to develop with residential units, it must ALSO meet a certain amount of outdoor amenity or open space (plazas, pool decks, rooftop decks, fenced dog areas, courtyards, etc.).
In addition, I believe that a portion of the Mixed Use section of the code (not up for review), is creating vacant and/or undevelopable parcels of land in certain areas of the city. Specifically, the small lots within the M-G-T and M-C-T zones (lots with ANY dimension under about 150-200 feet (street frontage specifically), especially those interior to the block). In theory, the Transit context creates an urban and pedestrian-friendly streetscape, which is the ultimate urban planning goal, and one I support. In practice however, this works best when entire blocks or large areas are redeveloped together. Small, individually owned lots, specifically along Colfax, Wadsworth, Union and Sheridan within the boundaries of the Transit zone cannot redevelop individually due to the scale of the sites, especially if they do not have alley or rear site access. The build-to percentage, multi-story requirement and parking requirements create expensive, awkwardly shaped small buildings with required elevator shafts and hallways that result in spaces that are too small (depth or overall size) to rent or sustain themselves. The requirements of the Transit zone section are not realistic for development on small lots, limiting landowner options and prevents the urban design goals of the City from being met.
Any portion of the Zoning Code being revised, now or later, specifically those requiring quantitative standards be met, should to be re-evaluated regarding the language’s applicability to smaller lots under a certain size or condition.
Ordinance 0-2003-17 should be properly placed into the 2012 rewritten code in its entirety preserving the meaning, context and fundamental truth it so clearly conveys in its original form.04/03/2018 4:56 pm
Ordinance 0-2003-17, as originally written, was discussed at length in 2003, determined prudent, and signed into law. The removal of "student living" in its definition without a red-lined copy for Council to review puts CCU at an advantage over the neighbors. Not only does it open the door for encroachment by CCU, as an institution, into a residential neighborhood, but it diminishes the work of the community dating back to 2003 to already resolve this problem.
The desire of the community to remain residential, single-family homes has not changed in 15 years and that has been clear by the participation in ensuring Ordinance 0-2003-17 is enforced.04/10/2018 10:38 am
As a follow up to my previous comment, since the CCU invasion began in 2012 on S. Cody Ct. 75% of the
homes (includes both sides of the street) are university owned. The west side of the street has already been incorporated into the CCU campus. Now the school would like to solely house students in the duplexes on the east side of the street. The homes on the south side of Cedar were demolished to be replaced by a parking lot. This impact differs greatly from the one privately owned large duplex on our block which only rents to students. Even a private corporation or real estate trust would not have the same impact as this university. Students, though excellent neighbors, are a transient population that changes every 9 months. The sense of community is not enhanced by short term residents. Additionally, Table 17.4.1 of the Lakewood Zoning Ordinance dated Jan. 26, 2015 prohibits university and college use in an R2 zone. If this ordinance is ignored, only 2 duplexes will remain student free. As history has taught us CCU's presence on our street doesn't just change a neighborhood, it eradicates it.
As I will be unable to speak on Wednesday, this is a follow up comment which seeks to summarize the University/College student housing zoning issue:
1. In 2003 the Planning Commission and City Council determined and passed an Ordinance that University student living housing shall be prohibited in low density residential zoning. Single family homes and duplexes shall not become small dormitories, theme homes or exclusive student living units owned or controlled by a University.
2.Subsequent zoning revisions never specifically addressed or considered the concept of reversing that ordinance.
3.Nonetheless, City staff has seen fit to remove a key definition re: student living units and promote an opinion that residential zoning cannot prohibit University uses.
4.Staff emphasizes specious arguments about Fair housing and a declaration that institutional use and impact on a neighborhood is no different than a non-institutional entity. These arguments contradict the ordinance passed in 2003.
5.Please make the proper recommendation to City Council, advising support of any necessary code clarifications to make clear the original intent of the 2003 Ordinance that was passed to protect our neighborhoods from the negative impacts of University student housing.
President, MidLakewood Civic Assn.
Dear Planning Commission Members,
I wish to begin my comments today by saying Thank You for your clear focus at the last Planing Commission Study Session on April 9,2018. It was critical that you clarified the fact that zoning is by parcel, not by neighborhood or area.
I found it troubling but not surprising that the Planning Director attempted several times to use his ‘neighborhood’ approach to evaluating uses on MES zoned parcels as a way to defend granting developers the right to build 100% apartments on a MES zoned parcel, which violates both the letter and the spirit of the Zoning Ordinance.
Maintaining the focus provided by City Council in the task before you is vital to moving forward with City Council’s directive, as is avoiding sidetracks that attempt to modify, not clarify the Code.
In addition to the flawed ‘neighborhood’ sidetrack it now appears that Planning Staff is continuing in its efforts to re-write the Zoning Ordinance. The Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance suggested by Assistant Planning Director Paul Rice are along the same line as the Planning Director’s suggested revisions to code. Both are intended to change the meaning of established Zoning Ordinance language, not clarify it.
In the latest proposal Staff is following up with the Director’s intent to re-write the Ordinance not to clarify existing language but to create a new zoning designation.
Just as with the proposed re-write of the MES definition to eliminate the word ‘ancillary’, the Planning Department’s suggestions of a new zoning designation R-1-0 is an aspirational suggestion clearly meant to make it easier for Developers to build whatever they want on a parcel and to reduce setbacks in order to allow saturation building.
Reducing and even eliminating open space requirements to benefit developers is certainly not within the scope of clarifying the Ordinance. This type of discussion might be OK in a future context of the next Zoning Ordinance re-write, but it certainly is not appropriate for discussion in the current Development Dialogue.
I urge you to table all discussion and action on the Planning Department’s suggested new R-1-0 classification.
I further suggest that the Planning Department’s request to incorporate clarification of MES into the aspirational ‘Complete Neighborhood Plan’ process be tabled as well. As I have previously pointed out, the current Zoning Ordinance does not contain a neighborhood approach. In essence, THERE IS NO COMPLETE NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN PROCESS IN THE ZONING ORDINANCE. This, like the R-1-0 concept, should be considered in future discussions not as a part of the current task.
As with Mr. Parker, Mr. Rice points out on page 3 of his Memorandum dated April 18, 2018, “Complete Neighborhood Plan - Details of the Planning Process are forth coming….”. In other words he is asking you to consider modifications to the Zoning Ordinance that have not even been written and are thus not part of what the public and Council approved in 2012. The goal set for you is to clarify the 2012 Zoning Ordinance, not re-write it.
It is my hope that you will demonstrate the same clarity and vision with the approach taken by Mr. Rice as you did with the approach taken by Mr. Parker, and separate aspirational suggestions from the task of clarifying the Ordinance.
Alan Heald04/17/2018 3:22 pm
The apartments on Ohio and the Beacon are a perfect example of the recent abuses perpetrated by the developers when it comes to the Mixed Use Zoning. Sadder still, the planning department lets them do it despite numerous citizens pleading, imploring and suggesting sensible alternatives. Instead of sensible, truly mixed use, development, the neighborhoods get saddled with higher-density residential units, while the schools are stressed, the infrastructure can’t support it and there is not public transit to speak of.
During a recent planning commission meeting, the planning department has taken to using the term “creativity” in an attempt to divert the attention away from “high density”. True “creativity” would be developing in a manner that promotes a good mixture of commercial, parks, public transit and some residential units. What Lakewood is starting to head towards is the worst of both worlds – losing its characters as a “sleepy” suburb with larger lots and not getting true mixed use development.
During the recent engagements with citizens, not a single one has voiced any appreciations for the seemingly deliberate taking of the city’s character or the taking of the quality of life this area has been knows for until recently. This is what is going on – a taking of the quality of life, a taking of the economic potential of this city. Because once the developers get their way and push through primarily residential developments, the rest of us will be left with diminished infrastructure, more traffic, higher fees and taxes to support it all going forward. In the meantime, some of the land being misused under the guise of “mixed development” could’ve truly provided a commercial opportunity for the citizens living here now and those who might live here in the future. Or that land could’ve been used as a park. Or, or, or.
However, it would seem that short term profit for a few rains supreme over the common good of the many. We implore the city council to put in much stricter (and clearly defined) zoning rules when it comes to Mixed (emphasis “Mixed”) Use Development.04/17/2018 3:25 pm
Comments on Paul Rice’s memo dated April 18, 2018 to the Planning Commission regarding Amendments and Follow Up Items to the Housing and Mixed Use:
R-1-0 Varying Lot Residential:
Sounds like another ploy to cram more high density development in and ignoring current citizens’ quality of life.
Incentivize Mixed Use Developments:
Why are we providing incentives to the developer for mixed use when these incentives (modifications to open space or setbacks, reduced fees, increased heights, reduction in parking requirements, cash incentives) further reduce current and future citizen’s quality of life? We should be looking at ways to incentivize healthy redevelopment in areas of need (Colfax for instance).
None of the MES zoning concerns were addressed, rather an offer to address them in the new improved “Complete Neighborhood Plan” process. Council delegated the Planning Commission with the task to clarify the zoning ordinance, not rewrite it and introduce new concepts.
I've been a MLCA resident for 20 yrs. We're raising our kids here (16 & 14) and place a high value on both the community and quality of the neighborhood. My daughter and I were out bike riding this past weekend and were amazed by the growth and change on the CCU campus (especially the soccer field conversion to a parking lot). Anyway, I'm echoing the concerns of my fellow neighbors in requesting the board to please restore the following to the R-2 Zoning Ordinance:
The definition of Student Living Units according to the Ordinance 0-2003-17 is: A dwelling unit that is owned or controlled by a College and University and inhabited by students who are related or unrelated.
0-2003-17 - The following statement is acknowledged, “ The tenants and neighbors allege that CCU is illegally expanding operations into a residential neighborhood, because “Colleges/Universities” uses are not permitted in residential zone”.
To resolve this problem, Ordinance 0-2003-17 should be translated/codified into the 2012 rewritten code in its’ entirety preserving its’ meaning, context and fundamental truth it so clearly conveys in its’ original form.
Preserve what is great about Lakewood!