Lakewood growth

Residences and businesses mix in close proximity in Lakewood's Belmar development off Wadsworth Boulevard.

A new study supported by a metro Denver business partnership says Lakewood's July 2 ballot question to limit growth to 1% a year will lead to higher property taxes to pay for city services.

“The research speaks for itself,” said Elizabeth Peetz, vice president of government Affairs for the Colorado Association of Realtors, in a statement Monday.

Ballot Question 200, a citizen-initiated ordinance to be voted on in a special election, says: "Shall the City of Lakewood limit residential growth to no more than 1% percent per year by implementing a permit allocation system for new dwelling units, and by requiring City Council approval of allocations for projects of 40 or more units?"

Read the full proposed ordinance by clicking here.

The REMI Partnership, the research arm of the Common Sense Policy Roundtable, compiled the report called “Building Gated Cities – Policy Brief Understanding the Impacts of 1% Growth in Lakewood.” The report can be found by clicking here.

The study looked at the effects of similar growth caps in Boulder and Golden. Given the $409,200 median home price in Lakewood, the REMI Partnership forecast that the 1% cap could raise property taxes as much as $790 a year if limiting the supply raised home prices as much as 30%.

Cathy Kentner, a teacher who is heading up the pro-Initiative 200 group called the Lakewood Strategic Growth Initiatiative, doesn't buy into the logic of the study, pointing to the existing struggles of local governments to pay for growth.

"I think without this initiative we're already paying more," she told Colorado Politics. "And without it we'll pay a lot more."

She added, "The existing policy [on growth] is what is causing the crisis."

Besides raising home prices (and consequently home prices) by limiting the supply, the partnership also said a growth cap could "drastically" affect Lakewood's transportation and other infrastructure costs, as housing costs continue to outpace income growth.

“Understandably, residents are frustrated with population increases in Lakewood and around the state,” said Mike Kopp, president and CEO of Colorado Concern. “Growth caps are not the answer. Limiting growth will only exacerbate problems with traffic, infrastructure, and affordable housing.”

The Common Sense Policy Roundtable's members are Colorado Concern, the Colorado Association of Realtors, the Colorado Bankers Association and the Denver South Economic Development Partnership.

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