By Jamie Leary

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – The City of Golden voted Thursday night in favor of a 120-day moratorium aimed at infill duplex construction and multi-family housing. The moratorium came following public comment from many community members who asked the city to take time to re-evaluate zoning codes in neighborhoods before more construction began.

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On Thursday night, Steve Glueck, Director of Community and Economic Development for the city, pointed out that the zoning for much of the older neighborhoods dates back to the 1960s.

“The product that people built was different. The homes were smaller,” Glueck told councilmembers.

Areas in Golden zoned R2 and R3 mean homeowners can knock smaller homes and build duplexes or larger multi-family homes. Many in favor of the moratorium spoke Thursday night about the height and size of those new builds.

“There’s a reason why everybody loves Golden and my issue with the development is mainly with the setbacks and the character of the houses that are being built,” said Jeremy Dobish.

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CBS4 met Dobish at his home before Thursday night’s meeting. It was built in the late 1800s and many people told him to knock it down. It’s zoned R2 which means he could tear it down and build duplexes. Dobish says he likes it just the way it is.

“It’s bizarre, it’s a weird layout, it needs a ton of work but it’s exactly what we’re looking for. So we put in a lot of sweat equity and we continue to love the neighborhood.”

Dobish says the development in Golden isn’t out of control but is in favor of the 120 day “time out” in building to re-evaluate the old ordinance.

“If you look at the numbers and you look at the number of projects that have actually been developed over the last eight years, it really hasn’t changed incrementally but there are a lot of bigger projects coming into play,” Dobish continued, “there are a lot of developers that are coming in. We’ve seen a few of the single family houses that have been torn down that have been turned into duplexes or multi-family houses without any sort of public comment going on.”

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It’s a type of construction that is becoming more common. One of the changes proposed by the city would allow for more public input in site plan reviews. Before the plans are set in stone.

“The city, at the end of the day, is looking out to benefit the people that have the R2 and the R3 [zoning]. Not take away from their property values — and still allow people to do building but it’s really going to impact the multi-family houses and the duplexes that were previously single family homes.”

“I have no problem with people buying a house and flipping it, you know, tearing it down and putting in a duplex, as long as that duplex fits within the neighborhood,” said Dobish.

(credit: CBS)

The moratorium will take effect March 28 as part of Ordinance 2140. It will include temporary restrictions on the following activities:

-Issuance of building permits for new duplex construction in the R2 and R3 zone districts, until such time as the code changes currently under consideration are adopted, or a date certain (whichever is sooner).
-Acceptance and processing of requests for Special Use Permit for more than 75% residential use in a C1, C2, or CMU zone district.
-Acceptance and processing of requests for site plan approval for multi-family residential projects. Ordinance 2104 also provides a process for a property owner to request an exception based upon a specific hardship, and also anticipates that the restrictions may be removed in part or in total prior to the end of the 120 days, or may also be extended in part or in total if warranted. Background on Specific Code Areas under Review

Jamie Leary