Dogged by legal challenges, an initiative geared toward curbing growth in Lakewood will not appear on the fall ballot after all.
Just over two weeks ago, it appeared voters would weigh in on the initiative — which would establish a 1 percent annual cap on residential growth and require City Council approval for all projects of 40 units or more — via the November ballot. Mid-September, Lakewood City Clerk Margy Greer dismissed legal challenges to the initiative brought forth by Lakewood resident and Jefferson County Republican Party Vice Chairman Steve Dorman.
But last week, Dorman filed a legal dispute to Greer’s ruling in Jefferson County District Court, further delaying the initiative from moving to the ballot, the Lakewood Sentinel reports.
Perhaps a metaphor for metro Denver’s struggle with ubiquitous growth, the fray over the initiative has proved enduring.
Frustrated by delays, the authors of the initiative, the Lakewood Neighborhood Partnerships (LNP), said the city is being stifled by big-money developers, while Dorman labeled the measure ill-advised, the Sentinel reports:
“The question will not be on the ballot as the city cannot proceed with this ill-advised measure,” Dorman said. “The proponents have 21 days to respond, after which time an initial hearing will be held, which would most likely set a trial date several months out.”
In response, Cathy Kentner, a board member of Lakewood Neighborhood Partnerships, the group that organized the initiative, said the City could file a response and have the appeal thrown out expeditiously.
“For years the community voice in Lakewood has been stifled by developers with big money. This summer people banded together and turned in an initiative which would restore neighborhood voice to large development projects,” said Kentner, who is co-petitioner with Anita Springsteen and Heather Wenger. “Big money has sued the City Clerk just to keep Lakewood from voting on this measure in November.”
Over the summer, the growth initiative’s organizers submitted the required number of petition signatures to push the issue to the ballot, or have the City Council enact it through ordinance, however Lakewood can’t vote on the initiative since it has been legally challenged.