When someone initiates the process to rezone a property, it's usually because they own it and want to build something different on it. But in a rezoning case set to be heard by Golden's city council …
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When someone initiates the process to rezone a property, it's usually because they own it and want to build something different on it.
But in a rezoning case set to be heard by Golden's city council at the end of July, the city of Golden has turned that usual situation on its head: it's applied to rezone the Golden Hills mobile home park to keep it just the way it is.
So why rezone a mobile home park to keep it as a mobile home park?
A document provided to the city council ahead of the July 13 council meeting explains the two acre property on which the mobile home park sits is currently zoned R-2, a category that allows for single-family homes, duplexes and some multifamily structures containing up to four units. However, R-2 zoning does not actually allow mobile home parks.
According to the document, the city currently identifies the mobile home park as a non-conforming legal use of the property and would continue to do so. However, the property's current zoning means it could be developed into duplexes or multifamily homes in accordance with R-2 zoning regulations.
The effort to rezone that property is about ensuring that the property remains a mobile home park and is not redeveloped.
“The mobile home park has been a part of that community's fabric for some 70-plus years,” said Golden Planning Director Rick Muriby during a planning commission discussion of the rezoning in June. “This is an effort to ensure that is allowed to stay in place and doesn't get redeveloped into some other primary use.”
The importance of the mobile home park has become heightened in recent years as housing prices in Golden have increased dramatically, leaving Golden's two mobile home parks as a source of affordable housing in a city where such housing is increasingly hard to find.
In a letter of support for the rezoning submitted to the city, the board of directors of Golden United wrote in a letter to the council that mobile home parks are the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in Golden.
The letter read “About 8% of the housing units in the City of Golden are mobile homes and it is essential that our city preserve this existing housing resource. Mobile home parks provide homes for seniors on fixed incomes, families, veterans, and many others.”
The letter goes on to state that “economic diversity is key to an inclusive community.”
Golden United is a local organization that lists “advancing solutions for maintaining affordable housing consistent with Golden's character” as one of its goals.
Several residents have also sent letters of support for the rezoning.
“As you know, the park has been operating for a long time, and it would be very disappointing if this property were developed as many of the R2 properties are in the area,” wrote resident Jeremy Dobish.
If the rezoning application is approved by the council, the property will be rezoned to Planned Urban Development, a customizable zoning category. The specifications that would govern the PUD, including regulations governing heights, setbacks and other aspects, would match what currently exists at the property. The city chose to create a PUD rather than adopt the city's existing mobile home park zoning classification because the mobile home park does not match all of that's zoning's requirements.
While the city initiated the rezoning process, it is joined on the application by the park's owner, Blue Sky Communities, LLC. According to the city document, the park is currently under contract to be sold to another buyer. However, both the new buyer and Blue Sky support rezoning the property to exclude the possibility of redevelopment.
According to the city, the park consists of 39 residential units.
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