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Lakewood voters will decide whether to cap new housing growth

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- How much new housing is too much? That's a question Lakewood voters will answer July 2 with a special mail-in ballot that's more than two years in the making.

The ballot will ask voters whether new housing permits should be limited to 1 percent of existing homes each year.

Cathy Kentner is a Lakewood teacher behind the measure, which she calls the "Strategic Growth Initiative."

"There's nothing here that's affordable for a teacher like myself," she said. "Growth without oversight is not sustainable."

Kentner says the focus needs to be shifted away from dense luxury apartments and back to single family homes and townhomes.

"If we leave all of the decisions up to the developer that's only interested in making money, we'll never see the type of community that's for all of us," Kentner said.

Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul is against the measure, which he says could have serious consequences.

"We all share these concerns, and some of them are very valid," he said. "But the reaction is not to have a fear-based reaction that could really damage our great city by enacting something that could have tremendous, unintended consequences."

Paul said developers have already started backing out of projects, citing the uncertainty of being able to get permits in future years.

"We had a project pull out this week that was in one of our targeted areas near the light rail, and the project developer said there's just too much uncertainty, and we can't go forward at this time," Paul said.

Paul said the proposal is unnecessary.

"This is one person's vision for growth, which is concerning to me. I think there's a better way to handle it," the mayor said.

Paul says the city will likely hold a series of public hearings on the ballot in the coming weeks.

Those ballots will be mailed out in mid-June and need to be returned to the city clerk by July 2.

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