Golden United and Foothills Art Center’s Golden Housing Forum

 

See more photos here.

_________________________________________________________________________________
June 21 from 7 to 8:30 pm

Fifteen people signed up for the community task force that will work on further actions that residents, businesses, and the city can take to address affordable housing while preserving Golden’s unique character.

Please contact Ron Benioff (benioffron@gmail.com) if you would like to be on this committee and/or explore joining the planning team.

_________________________________________________________________________________
Summary of Housing Forum

On June 21st Golden United and Foothills Art Center partnered in convening a discussion of housing issues for Golden with around 70 participants.  A big thank you to Foothills Art Center for hosting this event and to Bob’s Burger’s, Golden City Brewey, and Safeway for sponsoring food and drinks.  The discussion focused on actions that will maintain affordable housing in Golden and preserve the city’s unique small town character.

Opening Remarks and Presentations

Jennifer Trout provided opening remarks describing plans for the forum and giving a brief overview of Golden.  Steve Glueck, Golden’s Director of Community and Economic Development, delivered a presentation that provided a historical and current context on housing development and its impact on the community, including highlighting for example how downtown Golden has only seen small increases in traffic as housing density has increased.  Steve also provided a summary of Golden’s affordable housing goals and actions the city is considering and noted the interest of the city in working with residents to meet the city’s housing challenges.   This was followed by remarks by Bob Toohill, the co-owner of Bob’s Atomic Burgers, who highlighted some of the challenges his employees face in finding housing in Golden.  Hannah Fritz, who has grown up in Golden and is a recent college graduate provided the perspective of a young adult who is active as a community leader who is searching with friends for affordable housing to be able to stay in Golden and continue to contribute to the community.

Small Group Discussions

The participants then broke into five groups which discussed such topics as the meaning of affordable housing and preserving character and shared objectives and potential actions for addressing these issues.  Highlights are provided below from these small group discussions.

What does Affordable Housing Mean?

  • Different opportunities for different stratas of income level: young, service field, older people on fixed income, those with disabilities, etc.
  • Maintaining diversity with people across the spectrum continuing to be able to live in Golden
  • Could consider broadening concept to addressing affordable living and considering regional issues and solutions
  • Spreading affordable housing access and facilities throughout the community

What does Preserving Character Mean?

  • Community – knowing people, familiarity, seeing people you know at the grocery store at odd hours, taking care of each other, walkability and bikability, adventure.
  • Unique vistas and access to nature
  • Current look of buildings – no high rises and no large new buildings replacing what currently exists, “charming buildings” in character with the rest of the town, small town look and feel
  • Friendly and approachable town – many interactions with friendly neighbors, access to city leaders, civic participation
  • Some, but not all, cherish 1% growth limit
  • Diversity adds to the character of Golden

What are Examples of Shared Interest Objectives and Actions?

  • Helping people stay in their homes – maintains characters and enables neighbors to help each other and brings the community together
  • Maintaining economic diversity within the community – where people of all income levels can live near where they work and contribute to the community
  • Enhancing access to affordable housing for young adults and for workers with such access spread across the community
  • Home-sharing (e.g. seniors able to stay in homes by renting out a room and build an ADU for students or workers)
  • Keep community feeling small/accessible/safe and inclusive
  • Balance out role of government with resident/business driven solutions and don’t look to the government for all the answers and actions
  • Minimize dislocation of current residents (e.g. those being displaced from upmarket renovation of Gold Apartments)
  • Focus on innovative financing solutions (e.g. business and resident driven voluntary funds, lodging tax or fund, public banking approaches, etc.)
  • Expanding use of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
  • Provide rental assistance along with new housing
  • Holistic approach to achieving “affordable living” – flexible programs and financing
  • Maintaining unique views and access to nature that makes Golden unique
  • Government or groups of residents/businesses buying and renovating buildings in disrepair and offering them as income restructured housing (partner with housing authority not city staff)
  • Zoning to allow cottage homes or additions to homes/build more underground/home sharing allowed (make basement into separate dwelling)
  • Policies that if large/expensive homes are built, the builder has to also build an affordable and smaller home as well

Interest in Community Driven Housing Task Force?

  • Most people saw value in a community driven task force to further develop actions to address these issues
  • Task force should be proactive and move forward concrete solutions
  • 15 people signed up on Thursday evening to join this task force

_________________________________________________________________________________

One-Pager Preview/Agenda

Golden United and the Foothills Art Center are convening a discussion of housing issues for the community.  This event will focus especially on approaches for:

  • Maintaining affordable housing in Golden
  • Preserving the city’s unique small town character
  • Opportunities for actions driven by residents, businesses and the city that address housing needs and achieve Golden Vision 2030 goals

The dialogue will convene residents and community leaders with a variety of perspectives and backgrounds to answer the following questions:

  1. What does affordable housing mean to you? What does preserving small town character mean to you?
  2. What are shared objectives across the community for tackling the above issues? For example (only provided here for illustrative purposes) this could include such goals as:
    • Improve awareness of Golden housing challenges and impacts of different pathways on the community
    • Help existing lower and middle income residents maintain and continue to afford their homes and rent
    • Strengthen new development requirements to ensure Golden Vision 2030 and character consistency
    • Public-private partnerships to support affordable housing developments matching Golden’s character
    • Other similar goals
  3. Is there interest in the creation of a community task force to take forward outcomes from the forum and what should be the mandate for this task force? The task force could take on the following types of activities (for illustrative purposes only):
    • Further define objectives for addressing Golden’s housing challenges that are of shared interest
    • Identify and design actions that residents can take along with recommendations for the city
    • Convene additional forums to discuss task force concepts with community members and leaders
    • Promote broad participation in housing discussions convened by the city (Planning Department, Planning Commission, City Council, etc.) and by others
  4. What are the types of actions that the task force (if created) should consider? See preliminary list on the next page
  5. Who else should participate in future discussion and how should be any future activities be coordinated with related initiatives and organizations?

 

_________________________________________________________________________________

More In-Depth Review (Food for Thought)

Preliminary List of Housing Actions for Golden that Could be Further Considered and Refined Actions that Could be Entirely or Primarily Community led

Preserve and Fully Utilize Current Affordable Housing

  1. Review needs of current residents and property owners in areas with affordable housing to maintain this housing and launch community led efforts to preserve this housing
  2. Increase support for programs to help low income or elderly homeowners with home maintenance.
  3. Community financed fund for rental assistance for existing affordable housing
  4. Community financed initiative (possibly in partnership with city offering their credit authority) to fund acquisition/maintenance of current mobile home parks.
  5. Resident led program to match those working or living in Golden who can’t find affordable housing with owners offering low cost rentals and willing to reduce rent for screened renters

Develop New Affordable Housing

  1. Community financed fund for low interest loans and rental assistance for new affordable housing developments meeting character standards
  2. With support/encouragement from residents, major employers in Golden area invest in affordable housing development (consistent with character standards) or contribute to existing funds
  3. Do at least one pilot project with Habitat for Humanity to put a single family low income home into a single family home neighborhood
  4. Launch competitive prize to individuals/businesses who can come up with a design for affordable housing that meets Golden’s character and is low cost and environmentally sustainable

Cross-Cutting Actions

  1. Educational effort to broaden awareness of the who would be served by and benefit from affordable housing and how it may impact the community
  2. Promote broad and diverse participation of residents in meetings organized by the city and others on affordable housing issues
  3. Partner with business and other community leaders to create programs to support needs for increased workforce housing
  4. Establish voluntary standards (possibly in partnership with local architects) for desired types of affordable housing that will preserve Golden’s character and apply these standards to pertinent regulations, zones, and other actions
  5. Community develops recognition/certification of affordable housing developments or retrofits that meet character standards
  6. Put affordable housing on a ballot to verify that a majority of citizens favor subsidizing housing in Golden.
  7. Launch prize or recognition program for groups that propose other solutions to housing and preserving character that attract support from large number of residents and businesses

City led

Preserve Current Affordable Housing 

  1. Identify ways to preserve current affordable housing — start with the mobile home parks.
  2. Increase support for programs to help low income or elderly homeowners with home maintenance.
  3. City financed fund for rental assistance for existing affordable housing
  4. Consider fee waivers, expedited approval, or other flexibility to expedite rehabs for affordable housing in existing building stock consistent with Golden character

Develop New Affordable Housing

  1. City financed fund (possibly in partnership with a local bank) for low interest loans and rental assistance for new affordable housing developments meeting character standards
  2. Create flexibility within the 1% growth limit to borrow from future allocations to support affordable housing development
  3. Requirement that all new development includes X % affordable housing meeting character standards
  4. Identify ways to introduce affordable housing into every neighborhood in Golden, so it’s not all concentrated in the central neighborhood.
  5. Do at least one pilot project with Habitat for Humanity to put a single family low income home into a single family home neighborhood.
  6. City developed deed restricted housing meeting character standards
  7. City works with county and nearby towns to develop and promote affordable housing adjacent to city limits
  8. City applies zoning to restrict size of new homes so that they are generally more affordable.

Inform Overall City Goals and Plans

  1. Propose standards (possibly in partnership with local architects) for desired types of affordable housing that will preserve Golden’s character and apply these standards to pertinent regulations, zones, and other actions
  2. Better understand the data and basis for identifying citizen incomes to inform housing goals and policies.
  3. Put affordable housing on a ballot to verify that a majority of citizens favor subsidizing housing in Golden.
  4. Revise the city code to require that every Councilor and Planning Commission member live within 500 feet of an Affordable Housing project.