Proposed Senior Housing Exception to the 1% Growth Limit

As you may know, Golden is governed by a 1% annual limit on residential growth. The process (found at Chapter 18.70 of the Municipal Code) is structured so that at the beginning of every year we calculate the number of available building permits and then – more or less – issue them through the year until we run out. The limit affects actual building permits, not the plats and subdivisions, such that City Council may approve projects with more units than can be built in that year. When that happens, the builders have to wait until the next year (or possibly longer) until the pool of available permits is replenished. In this way we are guaranteed – unless we use the exception I describe below – that we won’t build new residential units at a rate faster than the 1% limit.

The 1% growth ordinance gives Council the ability to grant exceptions to these limits to provide for senior housing, and we’ve received a request to grant just such an exception. The owners of Clear Creek Commons at Washington and 11th are planning to convert up to twelve of their two-bedroom units into one-bedroom units and studios. Because all the units are leased to qualifying senior citizens, this exception would be permissible under the 1% growth ordinance but requires Council approval.

There is a second major issue involved in this Clear Creek Commons request, and that is their proposal to amend the development plan to allow some of these new units to be built without kitchens. Their argument is that residents of these new, small units will be able to use the building’s meal service (to be provided out of the former Café Touche space) and can rely on a small refrigerator and microwave for any other needs. I confess I’m skeptical that this is a good idea but I’m happy to hear their presentation and any other public comments on whether this is appropriate.

On March 9, City Council will hold the first hearing on the proposed growth limit exemption, and on April 13 we are scheduled to hold a hearing on both the proposed exemption and the proposed changes to the development plan.

I welcome your thoughts on whether we should approve this.


2 Responses to “Proposed Senior Housing Exception to the 1% Growth Limit”

  1. beverly Freese Says:

    It’s ridiculous that some of the units are not to have kitchens – unless there are some units that will have assisted living quarters. To my understanding this is not an assisted living project.
    It sounds like they just want more units so they can make more money. I don’t even see any garden area or outside grounds for the seniors to enjoy (somewhere to plant a garden, play horseshoes, enjoy company). It’s criminal not to have an outdoor area they can consider as part of their property, – much less to live independent lives without being forced to spend more money for food in a restaurant.
    To approve this would be folly for the greedy.

  2. goldenvoices Says:

    To my understanding, as well, it isn’t assisted living. Aside from the legal issues, I confess I’m a bit torn between my interest in ensuring that the units provide for a high quality of life for the residents and my feeling that so long as Clear Creek Commons is entirely open about what they are selling it’s up to potential buyers to decide if it meets their needs. I do feel like the city has an obligation to require that residential units meet some minimum standards for health and safety, but I also don’t want to presume that I know what other people’s needs are. I’m not quite sure where that line should be drawn.

    I am very interested to hear their arguments about why this is a reasonable proposal, and I encourage you and anyone else interested in the project to come to the City Council meeting on April 13th, hear the proposal, and offer your thoughts.

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