As Lakewood and other cities consider capping housing growth, a consortium of economic groups say there’s a bigger picture to consider, and it’s spelled out in a study released Wednesday.
The REMI Partnership — made up of the Common Sense Policy Roundtable, Colorado Concern, the Colorado Association of Realtors and Denver South Economic Development Partnership — released “Building Gated Cities” to look at the broader impacts of a 1 percent annuallimit on housing growth.
“Colorado is experiencing nearly unprecedented economic growth, but that growth does bring real challenges,” former state Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp, now the president and CEO of the business coalition Colorado Concern, said in a statement. “At the top of the list of challenges are the spiraling housing costs making it exceptionally difficult for many Coloradans to buy a home.
“There is no silver bullet to solve this challenge but our research shows that Boulder, Golden and San Francisco-style anti-growth laws and policies will drive the cost of housing even higher, putting the American Dream of homeownership out of reach for more and more Coloradans.”
Separately, growth-management proponents hope to get Initiative 4 on the ballot next year to give cities the clear authority to allow residents to vote on growth limits.
Such an effort was tried and failed in Lakewood to get on this November’s ballot.
Tyrone Adams, the CEO of the Colorado Association of Realtors, characterized the limit as a “negative impact” on Lakewood.
“The potential negative outcomes would include a reduced number of available homes to potential residents, increased housing and rental prices and slower economic growth,” he said. “In addition, there would be a ripple effect on businesses including higher rental rates for properties and increased obstacles to progress.”
The study found that the cap on housing is adverse to surveys from Lakewood residents that call for more affordable homes, access to public amenities and traffic relief.
By slowing the city’s rate of growth, a cap would “add additional pressure to the escalating cost of living, contribute to widening income inequality, increase congestion and urban sprawl, and reduce the local consumer base that draws in desirable retail options,” REMI stated.
Taxpayers have made huge investment in the West Rail Line commuter link to downtown and Golden, and it depends on growth near rail stops to help curb future traffic congestion, the study notes.
“The future of the Colorado economy and the economic well-being of our citizens depends on having a market that can respond to demand,” Kopp stated. “When proposed legislation restricts the ability to grow, voters and policymakers should be aware of the dire economic consequences.”
The REMI Partnership, founded in 2013, to do “independent, fact-based analysis” on the economic affects of public policy.