LAKEWOOD - No matter where anyone looks these days around the Denver metro area, it seems that more and more people are moving in.
That's why one group in Lakewood wants to put the brakes on.
"It will control the flow of our growth and give the community a voice in some of these large projects that are going in," Cathy Kentner said.
Kentner is a board member with Lakewood Neighborhood Partnerships, the group pushing a petition drive called the Strategic Growth Initiative. The proposal would force the city council to approve apartment buildings being constructed as well place an overall cap on residential growth in Lakewood at one percent per year.
"Our infrastructure just cannot keep up with it. Our streets, our storm water and then things the city doesn't have control over, the schools," Kentner said. "And, make sure we keep open spaces for people."
But Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul says the city already manages growth through plans made over a period of years and decades. He says growth must be tailored to different needs around the city.
"We're gonna take a blanket approach to it and shut it down?" Paul said. "That's just too general."
He calls the one percent cap an arbitrary number.
"I'm looking for quality versus a number. We want to make sure the growth that we're seeing is good growth and smart growth. So, I think it's somewhere in the middle," Paul said.
Kentner says the city should work to provide more affordable ownership opportunities like townhomes.
"That's always been the most in demand in Lakewood and least in supply," Kentner said.
Paul believes that basic rule of economics will actually housing prices worse if a cap is placed on building new homes.
"When you have more demand and less supply, what happens? You see those prices rise," Paul said. "I think a better approach is to all come together and say what do we need to adjust?"
Lakewood Neighborhood Partnerships has until July 28 to gather 5,200 valid voter signatures to place its proposal on the ballot for a vote. Kentner is confident in getting enough signatures and winning the vote.
"It's not about eliminating or reducing growth," Kentner said. "It's about doing it responsibly."
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