ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Neighbors in southwest Englewood have spent the last several months fighting against a possible code change that, among other things, would allow higher density housing in their single family, or R-1 zoned, neighborhood.
"My life is my flowers. I spend a lot of time in the summertime working on my flowers. I've made this look pretty good. [The code change] will take everything away. I don't want them to do that. This is my house. I want to keep it, as does most people around here," said Nancy Foster, an Englewood homeowner whose house has been in her family since 1984.
The proposal was part of Englewood's CodeNext plan.
"For the last two years, Englewood has been working on a comprehensive update to our land use code. What our zoning is, where we allow it to be built, where and how can we set up our community to meet the needs both for this generation and for the generations to come," explained City Councilwoman Chelsea Nunnenkamp. "Over the last six months, city council has been considering how can we meet the housing needs in our communities, specifically through our land use code."
In those last few months, residents have shown up to council meetings to protest against the change to allow multi-family housing and accessory dwelling units in R-1 zones.
At the meeting on April 17, there was a shift.
After lengthy public comment pushing back against the proposed plan, Englewood City Council unanimously agreed to no longer pursue multifamily buildings in single-family zoning. They will now create a housing task force to collect feedback from the community.
"Actually come out to the neighborhoods, talk to people, find out what they think. Look at the areas a little more instead of just looking at a piece of paper that's been drawn up by a developer," said Foster. "I think that's a whole lot better. I think you'll get a whole lot more cooperation and not so many people upset."
Even so, she and other neighbors are in support of an effort to recall four councilmembers: Mayor Othoniel Sierra, At-Large Councilwoman Cheryl Wink, District 3 Councilman Joe Anderson, and District 2 Councilwoman Chelsea Nunnenkamp.
Recall petitions were filed on Wednesday and claim the members vote favorably for high-density projects that the homeowners believe would negatively impact adjacent neighborhoods.
The petitions cite concerns of "inadequate infrastructure and financial resources necessary for supporting increased density, inevitable significant negative economic impact on homeowners and renters, and irreparable damage to established neighborhoods."
"It's city council's job to pursue policies that meet the needs of our community. We have done so with integrity and citizen input every step of the way. It's a shame that a vocal minority of citizens are pursuing a misguided and reckless recall effort that will ultimately only divide our community and cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars," Nunnenkamp said.
She said council's focus will remain on gathering a broad range of voices for the housing task force to eventually find a code that fits the community and involves residents into the discussion. Right now, there is no timeline as to when or how positions on the task force will be filled, but the city says they will post updates when that is determined.
Several neighbors tell Denver7 as they fight against the development of their neighborhood, they are concerned about the future of all of Englewood as lawmakers at the state level discuss a massive affordable housing bill.
"That's going to be a major concern. Nobody wants that to happen because if the state takes over, the cities will have no control over anything. Nobody wants that," said Foster.