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Weeks pass without community meeting about proposed development near Belmar Park in Lakewood

In October, the developer of a proposed apartment complex said they'd pause the project for two months for the city to coordinate community discussions. One month has passed with no public meeting.
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Posted at 11:32 PM, Nov 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-22 12:32:13-05

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Denver7 has closely been tracking the effort by Lakewood residents to have their voice heard on the proposal for an apartment complex next to Belmar Park.

In October, the building developer said, even though it's not required for the project, they do want to hear from the community. They agreed to pause all plans to give the community a chance to share feedback. Since then, no formal community meeting has been held by the City of Lakewood.

"It is not done. We are far from done," said Regina Hopkins, a Lakewood resident who has spent several weekend handing out flyers about the development at Belmar Park.

She and many other community members have organized in an effort to protest the construction. Several residents tell Denver7 they are frustrated at the lack of effort from the city to involve them in the conversation.

"We haven't heard specific dates when these would be scheduled. This [developer's] letter is dated October 18. And we're a month away from that now, and haven't heard anything," said Steve Farthing who helps organize the group "Save Belmar Park."

Residents say only a few people associated with their efforts have even heard from the city at all.

"Only allowing maybe two people in there is not representative of a wide community voice," said Hopkins.

Denver7 spoke to one woman who was emailed by the city planner about participating in a possible meeting with the developer, but then nothing was set in stone.

Weeks pass without community meeting about proposed development near Belmar Park in Lakewood

Another email obtained by Denver7 shows city staff saying, "The number of community members invited to the meeting will be limited to ensure a reasonable and productive conversation."

"I don't think they will get the range of views that will be the most helpful to the developer of the city," said Farthing of the potential limit on attendees, "I think it may indicate they don't want to hear from anyone."

Denver7 reached out the city for a response to the neighbors' concerns. While they did not disclose a date for a possible meeting, they did acknowledge that a limited number of neighbors will be included.

Stacie Oulton, Manager of Public Information for the City of Lakewood, said the meetings will be considered as mediation and having a smaller group of participants should allow for an in-depth extensive discussion.

"This kind of mediation can't be accomplished in a large public meeting, which aren't designed to and don't function in a way to solve issues," said Oulton.

The city said neighbors who oppose the development will be included in the mediation, but attendees will be limited to those who live in the immediate neighborhood around the development. Broader community feedback has also been collected in an email campaign, according to the city.

As the clock ticks down on the last month of the developer's promised pause in planning, residents hope they'll be given a chance to share their thoughts.

The group said they are now raising funds to try to pursue legal representation to try to stop the project.


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