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Golden Zoning Changes Aim To Preserve Housing Style

(CBS4) - Golden City Council voted to update the residential zoning code, impacting single, duplex and multifamily homes. The changes will allow for new construction that reflects the community's current neighborhoods, something residents have been fighting for.

The city says zoning codes haven't been updated in decades.

Jeremy Dobish's home in Golden was built in the late 1800s.

"I can't say that just because I don't like it, doesn't mean somebody should build it," said Dobish. "But some of the newer developments that have gone in have not quite fit with what's going on in the neighborhood the last 70 or 80 years."

In a statement, Golden Mayor Laura Weinberg said: "As the city evolves, our Council heard many times from the community that they want to honor the City of Golden's history as we build for the future. I believe the updated residential zoning code will help our community achieve those goals."

According to the city, the rule of thumb with old zoning used to be "the larger the lot, the larger the building."

The updated code counteracts that by placing a cap on the size of the structure allowed on a lot.

Lauren Simmons, Golden's Title Principal Planner, says the new code takes a micro-level approach to development, thinking about one lot at a time.

"The zoning code is built around small-scale development, ensuring that small-scale development can happen in a way that's compatible with what's already in Golden," said Simmons.

The city's new code works to reconfigure large, multi-family buildings into a multi-family development that incorporates smaller, detached structures.

"That's whether it's a cottage cluster, which is having many small households on one piece of property, or having a triplex or a duplex that is compatible with the neighborhood around it," said Simmons.

The median price for a home in Golden is over $800,000. Dobish says he wouldn't have been able to afford a home in the current housing market.

"$800,000 does not leave a lot of room for people who are coming in and looking to start a family or buy their first home," said Dobish.

Simmons says smaller homes could make buying a possibility for more people.

"A diverse set of households will bring the ability for different kinds of households to live here in Golden," said Simmons.

Simmons says the new zoning code might not come with as much maximization that a traditional developer would see, but the city says preservation is worth it. Dobish and many of his neighbors are glad the city listened to their wishes.

"If it weren't for the people within the neighborhoods getting together and bringing this to the city council's attention, I don't know if it would have passed," said Dobish. "I'm excited to see the changes and how they'll affect the neighborhoods."

City Council says it's expected to review and adopt the zoning code update for commercial properties later in 2022.


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