I am opposed to SB 23-213
I am writing to raise concerns about Senate Bill 23-213. I am opposed to SB 23-213, along with the rest of City Council, because zoning is a local issue and should be a matter of local control with local input. Local governments are best suited to address the needs of their communities, not the state. Local governments will take into account first responder coverage, bus stop locations, and traffic issues. Local elected officials answer to their constituents and can be removed by their constituents, in contrast to state bureaucrats. The result of SB 23-213 would be to allow fourplexes on every residential lot in Cherry Hills Village and other communities along the Front Range, and allow dense mixed-income housing of a minimum of 60 residential units per acre on lots within a half mile of all transit stations. I have contacted my state legislators to express my vehement opposition to this bill and urge all other property owners to do the same. You can find more information about City Council’s views at www.cherryhillsvillage.com/StateLandUse.
Cherry Hills Village City Council
The price of neglect
Like many, I read with interest recent articles in The Villager Newspaper addressing the State Senate’s Land Use Bill (SB23-213) proposing housing reforms. Reforms that they say are intended to make housing more available, affordable and with lower climate impact. Given the current cost of housing in Colorado and the ongoing climate crisis, such changes are certainly desirable if they can be rationally and fairly achieved. It is apparent that this State legislation, if passed as currently proposed, flies in the face of local control of land use. For this reason alone it will be difficult to pass, and to implement if it is passed. While I don’t think the outcome is likely to be as dire as some say, there is probably a better way forward.
Of particular interest to me is what the State Bill might do to encourage mixed-use development (retail, office and residential) around light rail transit stations. This is an issue in Greenwood Village where the City Council has made it all but impossible to implement a mixed use development around Orchard Station. Similarly the development around Arapahoe Station (also in Greenwood Village) is devoid of any residential units in the city and has no remaining retail, unless one is willing to take a rather unfriendly walk to the Greenwood Entertainment District, a strip mall on Arapahoe Road. While the Orchard Station area is a prime site for the right kind of mixed use redevelopment, including the near 20 acre open parcel south of Landmark, making the Arapahoe Station – Greenwood Entertainment District a pedestrian-friendly environment presents a significant challenge, yet one the GV City Council seems committed to pursue with limited measures.
The lack of any interest on the part of the City for a comprehensive, mixed land use plan for these transit stations appears to be largely based on the desire to not allow any new residential development in the city. Why is this? Redevelopment of these areas will not happen without mixed use and a sensible and upscale approach to do this is certainly possible. While Denver, Centennial and Lone Tree are all implementing pedestrian friendly mixed-use developments in each of the light rail stations in their jurisdictions along I25 South, Greenwood Village has chosen not to do so. It seems that ignoring the Orchard Station opportunity to create a sensible, modern, pedestrian-friendly, living, working and play space now may have a significant downside; one in addition to the eye-sore presented by its present condition. The State might take away the local option and force something less preferable on Greenwood Village residents.