Affordable housing project to go forward

Golden City Council approves street vacation and early start allocations

Posted 3/12/19

The Jefferson County Housing Authority (JCHA) exists to address the housing needs of low-and-moderate income people and families. “We really feel this project meets our mission,” said Lori …

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Affordable housing project to go forward

Golden City Council approves street vacation and early start allocations

Posted

The Jefferson County Housing Authority (JCHA) exists to address the housing needs of low-and-moderate income people and families.

“We really feel this project meets our mission,” said Lori Rosendahl, JCHA’s executive director and CEO.

The JCHA has proposed to build a 51-unit affordable housing development at 612 24th St.

Planning Commission approved the site plan on Jan. 2. On March 7, Golden City Council was tasked with voting on a partial alley vacation and early start allocations for the development to go forward.

The alley vacation entails closure of the alley that currently runs between 23rd and 24th streets to make room for more building, with remaining alley access from Jackson Street rather than 24th Street.

The early start allocations concerns determining if the criteria are met for the early start allocations of annual housing growth — permission to build under the city’s annual once-percent growth cap.

Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan recused herself from discussion and vote on both the issues because of conversations she had in September with the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) about Golden’s early start allocations for affordable housing projects.

The remaining six city councilmembers took the matters on with two votes.

The alley vacation passed five-to-one. Councilmember Rob Reed voted no.

“I’m having trouble finding where (the project) aligns with the comprehensive plan,” Reed said during discussion on the alley vacation. “This changes the neighborhood character in a way that the Golden Vision and central neighborhood plan cannot anticipate.”

Reed said he doesn’t see improved pedestrian accessibility no matter if the alley vacation happens, and that the project seems to be “cramming” more residential development into an area that is already dense with residential development.

“I fully support affordable housing,” Reed said, “but it has to fit the character of our community. And in this case, I don’t believe it does.”

The vote on the early start allocations passed unanimously.

The proposed development site is about one acre. Currently, it is the site of the Mountain View Apartments, which provides 20 affordable housing units. The new development will replace the Mountain View Apartments and will add 31 additional affordable housing units to the residence. The units are proposed to be a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments for rent, and the site plan includes outdoor amenities such as a playground and courtyard.

The site is zoned Community Mixed Use Neighborhood Center (CMU-NC). This zoning requires a minimum of 25 percent commercial, however on June 6, 2018, Planning Commission approved a special use permit for the developer to build 100 percent residential.

Prior to its approval of the site plan on Jan. 2, Planning Commission had to consider a number of waivers for the development. Some of these waivers included the number of trees, building setbacks and height of buildings.

One that concerned councilmembers on March 7 is the off-site parking — the development is 13 spaces shy of the requirement.

A site plan is valid for two years after approval, said Rick Muriby, Golden’s planning manager. There is a condition for the street vacation that the parking be met.

JCHA is in communication with Jeffco Public Schools about an agreement to use 13 parking spaces in the nearby Golden High School parking lot. This is allowable by code, with the spaces being within the 300-foot distance of the property.

As of March 7, JCHA is still in negotiations with Jeffco Public Schools, Rosendahl said. The school district is working on it internally, she said, and has not yet made an offer for the parking spaces.

Separate public hearings took place for the alley vacation and the early start allocations.

Two people spoke in opposition of the alley vacation, and one person spoke in favor of it. Only one person spoke on the early start allocations.

Per the early start allocations, Golden resident Debbie Bower said she believes it’s important to provide everybody an equal opportunity to live in Golden.

“In our community, we have dozens — hundreds — of examples of families and individuals who struggle to meet that median rent,” Bower said. She pointed out the sense of community and diversity represented in schools. “We want to see a community that has vibrancy … I’m hopeful we can make Golden a truly phenomenal place to live, a place to work, a place to be and call home.”

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