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.

Golden37: Positive Impact

What do you love about Golden? How can we keep making Golden an even better place to live?

We are fortunate to live here, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be nestled in the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains and have access to the Mesas, Clear Creek, Open Space, and many trails.

I am introducing the Golden37: Positive Impact Youtube series of ways we can improve Golden. This is based on dozens of conversations with neighbors and residents, my previous service on City Council and boards and commissions such as GURA (Golden Urban Renewal Authority) and having lived here more than 20 years.

Golden37: Positive Impacts for the City of Golden, Colorado

Heart of Golden 2020 (Disneyland Golden?!?)

City Council Update Tonight!

First, thanks to everyone who tried my Ward 4 Chili at the Chili Cook-off and supported our Golden High School students!

Heart of Golden 2020 / Clear Creek 
The Heart of Golden visioning process kicked off in January to learn what residents want as we re-imagine the Clear Creek corridor from the Community Garden to the west to the new Coors property acquisition towards the east.

So far, the process feels designed to ask what cool new amenities we wanted with “pins” on a map, like imagining a new “Disney-fied” version of the Creek as someone suggested (new grills, amusement rides, tubing access points, restaurants, playground equipment, splash pads for kids, trams, etc.).

The City is using the phrase “dream corridor” to guide us. What I’m hearing almost universally is that residents already love Clear Creek – but they have to avoid it because it’s so busy on weekends and is feeling less local, safe, and clean. Natural, peaceful, tidy, local, safe…not sure how to “pin” that to a map?

Tonight, City Council will hear an update from Staff regarding the Heart of Golden process. This will be a great chance (in person or via live video) to see how Staff is interpreting feedback from our community.

The City talks about leaving a lasting legacy. I agree this project will having lasting impacts, and we will need strong leadership on Council to understand and guide how this affects our community now and for the future.

The Heart of Golden 2020 continues next Tuesday, March 11th at 6:30pm in City Hall, please consider sharing your energy and thoughts as we go through this process!

8th Street Closure: pedestrian & school route and bridge update?

Oddly, staff will NOT be providing an update to Council on the unexpected bridge and trail closure. In fact, this has dropped off the City’s Guiding Golden front page (However, you can still find it here). The closure started back in January, and there’s still no sign of a temporary crossing as the City committed to do.

Their last update was in February. We deserve better communication and leadership regarding this closure, and I look forward to more frequent updates -and progress- from the City.

Yard Signs & Neighborhood Meetings

Thanks to so many people agreeing to host yard signs! And yes, if you still have an old yard sign from my last campaign, bring it out of hiding. Please remember to keep the signs staked down well so they don’t blow away.

Over the last month I’ve joined several neighborhood discussions hosted in people’s homes and coffee shops. Thank you for the opportunity, I appreciate the many thoughtful comments and ideas we’ve discussed. It’s refreshing to see how many people love Golden and have great suggestions for improving our town. If you’d like to host a gathering with neighbors, please reach out!

FYI: Don’t forget Coffee with a Councilor this Saturday at 3pm at Cafe 13 to speak with your City Council District representatives Casey Brown and J.J. Trout.

Thanks for reading, and keep the feedback coming!

Cheers,


BilFish

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

Special Election: Ballots will be mailed out April 6th for this mail only election and must be returned by April 28th.

Email bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com to learn more and get involved.

Golden High School PTA Chili Cook-Off & Serving Golden on Boards & Commissions

Above: Golden High Students Excited to try Ward 4 Chili 🙂
Good morning!

All the news I choose to read suggests coffee is good for us. I hope this is true, because I’m enjoying meeting neighbors around Ward 4 for coffee each week.

…and read on for a great way to enjoy a winter day and support our community…

Ward 4 Election News Flash
The Golden City Clerk’s office reports I am officially on the ballot! 
(Please vote in this mail-only special election in April as I’m facing an opponent for this seat.)

I believe in representing all neighbors and am thankful to have received support and signatures from residents across Ward 4: from Mountain Ridge to Central Neighborhoods between Mines and Golden High School, and our many historic areas: 8-10th Streets, East Street, North Historic and 12th Street Historic neighborhoods. 

Golden High School Chili Cook-Off

Golden High School Chili Cook-Off and silent auction: Tonight, Thursday Feb 20, 6-8:30pm

Help support our school children and join me tonight!
 
Once again I’ll be serving up soon-to-be-famous Ward 4 Chili in support of our local Golden High School PTA. Sample great chili, corn bread, and desserts while bidding for amazing silent auction items (auction open now). I hope to see you there (click for details and tickets).

Golden is made stronger when we enhance community schools. Our family has appreciated the opportunity to be a part of supporting our schools through PTAs, the Golden Schools Foundation and Golden Backpack Program and through my service on City Council in partnership with Golden schools. 


Many Ways to Serve: Golden’s Boards & Commissions
Before City Council, I served on multiple boards and commissions and know the value of having the talents of our diverse community benefit all of Golden.

Please consider applying to help guide us! It sounds like the City is hoping for a variety of applicants for these open positions. Visit the Golden Boards & Commissions page to learn more about the following openings (typically 4 year terms, apply by March 11th):

Community Sustainability Advisory Board
Golden Urban Renewal Authority
Historic Preservation Board
Mobility and Transportation
Advisory Board
Planning Commission
Investment Advisory Committee
Downtown Development Authority 

Thanks for reading, and I appreciate the feedback you have provided!

Cheers,
BilFish

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

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

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.

Optimism & Unexpected Trail Closure Update

A Reason for Optimism
Programming Alert: This morning at 10am, Councilors JJ Trout and Casey Brown have invited City Manager Jason Slowinski to join Coffee with a Councilor to answer questions about the unexpected trail and bridge closure.

A reason for optimism: Heart of Golden
I am truly optimistic about improving our town. This week Golden residents have demonstrated, again, that we are engaged, active, and care about our small town.

On a cold and snowy Wednesday night I joined nearly 200 enthusiastic residents who showed up to share our thoughts on re-imagining the Clear Creek Corridor (now that we’ve purchased the Coors property). 

Showing its better side, the City effectively reached out and communicated with residents ahead of time. Which proves that when given a chance, Golden residents respond. We all care about our town!

I encourage everyone to visit GuidingGolden.com to join the Heart of Golden process and learn about the City’s responses regarding another issue, the unexpected 8th street trail and bridge closure. And on that note… 

Unexpected Trail & Bridge Closure Update“Surprise!” may be the most disliked word in the English language. Not surprisingly, it became a common and appropriate description of our collective reaction to the unexpected 8th Street trail and bridge closure along with the City’s initial lack of responsiveness. 

Yet, the concern is not simply for late or lacking communication: Residents are rightly concerned for the reality of true impacts in people’s lives for mobility and safety and recreation and schools.

Among others, I reached out to City Councilors and the Mayor, the City Manager and Staff, and attended the MTAB (Mobility and Transportation Advisory Board) meeting to question one of Golden’s City Engineers.

From multiple conflicting responses through various channels, it is clear the communication and closure problems occurred over the course of months. This was not just a last minute “oopsie” forced on us by a private developer and the Church Ditch company beyond our control. And it’s likely to last longer than we thought – now opening in mid-to-late March.

This didn’t have to happen. It was a significant process issue and our frustration is valid – we’ve seen this before for both City and private developer projects!  

What’s next?
Life’s too short to spend time figuring out who to blame. We should expect accountability! Understanding this, many comments from residents reflect a positive Golden path forward:

o First, there is still opportunity to encourage the City Manager to take advantage of Golden’s creative engineering expertise as the hometown of School of Mines to figure out an alternative or bypass to the construction. We can do this.

o Second, everything I’ve heard from neighbors suggests there is tremendous value in understanding what did or didn’t happen. This is not to point fingers, it is so we can improve and embed processes within the City codes, Staff workflow, and our advisory boards to help reduce the likelihood of this happening again.

o Finally, Phew! Because the bridge was also closed, there was concern for structural safety. Nobody from the City has suggested a safety concern for the pedestrian overpass across Highway 58.

Whether it’s too late for this project or not, this exercise remains real — more road closures are already in the works. If you haven’t heard, the City has just announced a major road closure for weeks on Ford street (from 7th to 10th) for Xcel Power. 

I ask Golden’s City Council and Manager to take the lead in understanding what happened. Let’s learn from this, improve the process, and ensure better results going forward.Regards,

BilFish

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

P.S. Don’t forget to join me in taking advantage of Golden Restaurant Week!

Special Election Reminder: Ballots will be mailed out starting April 6th for this mail-in ballot only election and must be returned before April 28th.

Email bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com to learn more and get involved.

Golden’s Unexpected Bridge Closure

First… Thank you!

I appreciate everyone who has emailed or caught up with me on the trails, at the gym or attending Golden events with encouragement for my candidacy, as well as sharing your thoughts on how to preserve and enhance our city!

Last week City Council approved Golden’s first Transportation Master Plan to codify our community values. In part this aims to ensure the reliability of bike and pedestrian connections (so they remain open during construction).

On the very same day, the City suddenly announced the unexpected and immediate closure of the priority pedestrian and bicycle trail and bridge over Highway 58 from the North neighborhoods into downtown Golden.

Not only was the bridge closed without warning… the closure will last more than 30 days!

The trail is arguably the most heavily trafficked north-south route for non-motorized commuting and recreation in the City, including for Mitchell Elementary students.

This isn’t simply an inconvenience, it’s a critical safe route to schools for our families!

As residents, we have clearly prioritized the opportunity to not only have good streets for cars, but also reliable options for residents and students to get across Golden safely on foot and bicycles – for work, school and recreation.

Pedestrian trail is closed

Core Values

It feels legitimate to ask whether this action is consistent with our core values.
  • Where is the accountability to ensure our City government lives by our stated values?
  • Why wasn’t appropriate notice given to the community?
  • Why can the Developer close this trail at minimal cost with major disruption?
  • Why are the Developer and City not required to consider alternative safe routes to school and work for residents?
  • And was this closure truly necessary at all?

I have shared my thoughts with City Council and encourage you to do the same. (CouncilComments@cityofgolden.net)

If elected I commit to represent all Ward 4 residents and engage in thoughtful, respectful, and critical questioning about how the City thinks of transportation and other issues important to us.

Regards,

BilFish

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

Special Election Reminder: Ballots will be mailed out starting April 6th for this mail-in ballot only election and must be returned before April 28th.

Email me at bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com to learn more and get involved.