Pro-growth or antigrowth? That was one of the questions that defined the Lakewood City Council elections in 2017.
Back in August, I wrote an article about the heated debate around a proposed Lakewood growth limit initiative. That debate only intensified in the final months leading up to the November 8 election day. In a few city council wards, the choice between candidates was as simple as pro-growth versus anti-growth.
Limiting growth is an especially hot button issue in areas like the Green Mountain, Lakewood neighborhood. Some have referred to Green Mountain as the the next Washington Park (referring to one of Denver’s consistently hottest sections of real estate), but the strategic growth initiative threatens to put a real chokehold on any future development plans.
Are Lakewood neighborhoods like Green Mountain going to face an uphill climb in the years ahead, or are they poised to grow and mature as quickly as the market dictates?
What the Elections Tell Us About the Future of Green Mountain Lakewood
In the 5th Ward race between Nancy Pallozzi and Karen Harrison, the growth initiative was the deciding factor, with the pro-growth candidate, Harrison, coming out on top.
“Everyone is still mad about development, and I thought I’d come out ahead of Karen because she’s been in favor of that,” Pallozzi said.
The Ward 2 election saw another victory for those opposing the effort to limit growth in Lakewood.
“Growth and infrastructure are the big issues, and we need to invest in infrastructure,” Jacob Labure, the Ward 2 winner, said. “The growth initiative is a blanket approach that some people want to apply everywhere, and I don’t think a blanket approach works.”
In the 4th Ward, newcomer and anti-growth backer, David Skilling, won a three-person race. After his victory, Skilling, who lives in Green Mountain, said he thought growth was the key factor in the outcome.
Challengers William Furman and LaDawn Sperling were both decidedly pro-growth. Furman, in particular, felt that progress was made despite the defeat:
“I feel like we changed the rhetoric and the language in the campaign, and I feel good about that,” he told reporters, referring to the initial divisiveness of the growth issue. “There are a lot of people who have a real positive outlook for Lakewood. I am planning to stay involved and protect the things worth protecting.”
Growth and Development in Green Mountain: An Open Question
The outcomes of several races were directly impacted by the debate around the rate of development in Lakewood, but there were no definitive answers. The only clear conclusion is that the discussion isn’t over yet.
Now the big question becomes: is everyone educated on the real impact of limiting growth? With the fever pitch of the campaign rhetoric, it’s safe to say that many Lakewood voters may been given some false impressions from both sides.
Here’s what we know for sure: neighborhoods like Green Mountain absolutely have the potential to grow into even more vibrant and enriching communities. It would be a real shame to waste that potential while also raising housing prices to the point of pricing out growing families and the elderly.
I am staunchly against limiting growth in Green Mountain and neighborhoods throughout Lakewood. In that, I agree with Lakewood Mayor, Adam Paul.
What’s your take on limiting growth? It’s an issue that will have a huge impact on Lakewood housing in the years ahead.