Big money being spent to defeat Lakewood ballot measure restricting development

LAKEWOOD, CO -- While it might not feel like it, it is election season in Lakewood, Colorado.

Ballots are being mailed out this week for a special election on July 2.

Initiative 200  seeks to limit development in the city -- capping new housing projects at 1 percent of the city's current housing stock.

The measure applies to new apartments, condos, and single family homes. Projects over 40 units would need to go in front of city council.

"What we are doing now is not working," Cathy Kentner, an organizer who is spearheading the special election, said. Kentner said the goal is cut down on luxury apartments which she feels is over saturating the city -- leading to rising rents and mortgages.

"We have seen unprecedented growth in the last four years and it's unhealthy growth," Kentner said.

"We are overbuilding in the luxury apartment market," Kentner added.

But not everyone sees it that way.

According to recent campaign finance reports, over $200,000 has been donated by the National Association of Realtors to defeat the measure.

The Colorado Association of Realtors donated $25,000.

Associated General Contractors of Colorado also donated $25,000.

"As REALTORS, it’s our job to ensure housing remains as attainable as possible. Question 200 is shortsighted policy that will increase the price of housing by driving up property taxes and mortgage payments. Growth is an issue, but 200’s unintended consequences will hurt existing and future homeowners” – LaDawn Sperling, Denver Metro Association of REALTORS member and Lakewood resident, said.

"There are a lot of different groups which have concerns about question 200," Tom Quinn, an opponent with Keep Lakewood Lakewood said.

Quinn fears that Lakewood would be set back if voters allow other cities along the Front Range to capitalize on development. Quinn also says a lower housing supply will result in rising prices.

"Look at Golden and look at Boulder," Quinn said.

"Basic supply and demand you place an artificial constraint on the housing supply you are going to increase the price of housing," Quinn said.

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