1% Growth Ordinance

Where did Golden’s 1% Growth Ordinance go?

Golden's 1% Growth Ordinance – where did it go?

Golden enacted a 1% Growth Ordinance – where did it go?

Posted by Bill Fisher for Ward 4 Golden on Saturday, April 18, 2020

Honestly, nothing. It’s still here. It just doesn’t do what we thought – or rather it does, but only kind of.

As we know, Golden is landlocked and a desirable community, which means that any growth will be in-fill, scrapes, pop-ups and re-zoning. And THAT means we sometimes get growth that doesn’t fit the character of the community.

Remember, the 1% is a “PER YEAR” number. If we have a little over 8000 housing units in Golden, then about 80 housing units can be built every year. Actually it’s less than that, Council dropped it to only 0.9% a few years ago. Yup.

The 1% ordinance has been effective in one sense – providing relief from very large 500-1000 unit projects. Unfortunately, because of various limitations in the ordinance – and loopholes, it hasn’t stopped some of the mid-size projects that probably were intended to be reduced or halted. 

Loopholes? Oh yeah… 
  • Senior housing used to be an exemption
  • moderate and low-income housing
  • School of Mines student housing (they’ve put over 1,000 beds in Golden, yep.)
  • ADUs
  • Hardship allocations
  • Banking units for the future – Huh? Building half a project one year, then build the other half next year. Totally legal.
  • And boarding houses. Wait, boarding houses? Yep, they don’t count eiter.

For more on loopholes and caveats, check the City of Golden website here and here.

So what do we do?

First, make the zoning fit the character of the neighborhoods we want. We even know what we want – all those neighborhood plans we’ve developed over the past 10 years? Time for them to stop collecting dust. 

There’s an opportunity to put teeth behind the 1% ordinance during the re-design of our zoning codes which is going on now. 

Taking the neighborhood plans and embedding those concepts directly into the zoning codes, instead of simply having them be “ideas” of what we want to see, will go further to identify and direct developers towards the type of growth that feels to fit the scale, scope, and character of the neighborhoods where projects are going up.

We’ve done it before – in fact, we were successful a decade ago with zoning restrictions for Washington Avenue downtown to restrict heights and protect the charm and character of our downtown main street, and I think we can apply those principles again.

We can do more. I’m running to provide a strong vision encompassing shared respect for our historic small-town character and greater balance for those of us who live here in light of the increasing numbers of visitors and those hoping to join our community.

Let’s work together and see what we can accomplish on the 1% growth ordinance and more.

Golden Conversations

Tough Questions & Accountability
Good morning and I hope everyone’s getting a break from daily shoveling!

Whether warm or cold, I believe campaigning should be focused on connecting with fellow residents and hearing your thoughts on a wide variety of topics. Ultimately, a City Councilor in Golden should be able to manage many roles (walk and chew gum at the same time). 

In that vein I returned from a great Heart of Golden 2020 Vision session last night, and it was again snowy and well-attended. Reading the many suggestions, I remain amazed by the varied and creative input from engaged fellow residents. I also joined neighbors on the School of Mines campus for a community meeting focused on historic neighborhood impacts related to the school’s ongoing expansion and construction.  

Critical thinking and the “Defensive reflex”
Thinking about the many roles of a Councilor, a role that some fall into seems to be “Defender of the City.” And this makes sense – we all live here and want the best for our community. 

Sometimes, elected officials have a reflex to protect the government, even when they hear legitimate questions from the very residents they are supposed to serve!

I’ve observed countless times when elected representatives receive feedback from residents – and reflexively defend the status quo or current way of doing things, saying “You don’t understand, this is why it has to be this way. . .”

 Sure, it’s good to know why things are the way they are. But must it always be this way? Unfortunately, this instinct can be a disservice to our residents and community – if we fail to engage in honest, direct dialog. 

 Just because “that’s how things have always been done” doesn’t mean it’s how things must or should be. 

Hard Conversations
I am willing to ask tough questions and have the hard conversations our residents expect. It’s fair, and is an important way to hold ourselves accountable.

 Continuous improvement and responsiveness are hallmarks of any great organization, whether we are fixing potholes in the road or understanding how to manage and control the influx of new people and visitors while maintaining the quality of life and character of the town we live in.

 I am committed to respectful, thoughtful, and critical questioning of how our City government can best serve us. If given the chance, I look forward to the opportunity to help guide how we preserve and enhance Golden.

 Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing how I can support you.

 Cheers,

BilFish

—William “BilFish” Fisher – Candidate for Golden City Council Ward 4

Special Election Reminder: Ballots will be mailed out April 6th for this mail-in only election and must be returned by April 28th.Email bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com to learn more and get involved.