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Golden considers temporarily halting new construction

Our CO: Residents feel town has lost character
Posted at 5:53 PM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 20:51:59-05

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GOLDEN, Colo. -- The City of Golden is considering a bold measure that would halt new construction on high density residential housing as the city is grappling with how to deal with what is sometimes unwanted growth and development.

Golden isn’t unlike many other Front Range communities.

“It’s crowded,” said Ron Versaw.

Golden is experiencing a construction boom, and while it represents a vibrant, growing economy, that growth is also drawing the ire of many.

"When it gets too crowded - it kind of loses, for me at least - that appeal," Versaw said.

Ron and Julie Versaw left Golden because of the growth.

"We love Golden,” Julie said. “It is such a quaint, fun, interesting, homey town. We just don't enjoy the crowds."

"We moved down south of Morrison to get away from the traffic," Ron said.

Now, there's a proposal for a moratorium on new building permits.

“Where we wouldn’t process requests for new duplex infill construction and for new multi-family construction,” said Steve Glueck, director of community and economic development for the City of Golden.

The moratorium would be temporary. Just a four-month time-out while city leaders figure out exactly what the city wants to become.

“(It's) the desire to review our land use codes to see if we should make some improvements to the way we treat infill development,” Glueck said. “When a new style of construction replaces a smaller single-family home, there’s always a debate about whether it fits or not.”
Golden is the latest city dealing with Colorado's unprecedented development explosion. And how to grow without losing your character.

"In some places they’re scraping (older homes) and then putting up a structure that really doesn't fit the neighborhood - which you kind of see down in the Highlands in Denver,” said Stacey Skelton.

Skelton is a realtor.

"From a realtor's perspective, (a moratorium is) probably not so good because it could drive the prices up within the community,” Skelton said. “And so, not as many people can afford to live here."

But, she's also a Golden homeowner.

"I think it just increases our property values and Golden is just continuing to go up and up and up," Skelton said.

As the Versaws see it, some things are better left alone.

"Golden has lost some of that character,” Julie Versaw said. “It’s now a really nice tourist trap character."

Golden city council will review the proposal at a meeting Thursday, March 7.

A public hearing and final vote could come later this month.