Working toward affordability for all Arvadans

We all know that our area’s prosperity brings jobs and economic opportunity, but it also risks pricing many of our citizens out of owning a home — or even renting an affordable place to live. It’s a challenge that confronts the entire metro area—and is felt by many residents of Arvada.

Our citizens need greater access to first-time home-buying opportunities so they can build equity for the future as homeowners. Arvada needs to foster the kind of housing, like condos and townhomes, that can address this need. And if homebuying is not the right fit, then Arvada needs to have a mix of apartments and rental options.

Addressing housing should always be done alongside sensible transportation planning. Arvada’s G Line stations already play a key role in stimulating the construction of innovative, transit-oriented housing that serves commuters and provides a variety of housing options. One such community, Solana Olde Town Station, has been recognized nationally for providing high-quality, accessible apartments within steps of Olde Town and the G Line stop.

At the City level, I am continually looking for ways to reduce barriers that drive up the cost of new housing and find parcels of land where in-fill and redevelopment can foster a mix of housing options.

Arvada is working with the Jefferson County Housing Authority and Arvada Urban Renewal Authority to address attainable housing so the people who work in Arvada — including public servants like school teachers, police officers and firefighters — can live in the community they serve. This also includes housing options for seniors so they can still call Arvada home and continue to enjoy all the amenities and services available in our community.

In addition, I worked as part of the Metro Mayors Caucus to pass legislation that will encourage a more diverse housing market, including condos and townhomes, so more Arvadans can afford a stake in homeownership. At the state level, we must focus on policies that reduce the barriers to attainable housing rather than misguided mandates like rent control that backfire on the market by discouraging the construction of multi-family housing.

Arvada’s role in housing

I recognize the importance of balance between private-property rights and the protection of existing neighborhoods. I am proud of the work City Council did with the Reno Park community to protect the existing neighborhood while giving the opportunity for compatible replacement construction. This shows that existing City policies do not encourage gentrification. I have been a champion both with Council and AURA on exploring affordable-housing options and having a thorough mix of housing options throughout Arvada.

City Council serves as the Housing Authority for the City and optimizes our use of Section 8 housing funds. Under my leadership, City Council unanimously supported the proposed senior housing and Habitat for Humanity projects. I am excited at the prospect of a proposed microhousing project, and continue to work with others on bringing affordable-housing projects on line. 

I have long believed that homeownership often begins with a townhouse or condo. Because of this, I have testified at the State Legislature on construction-litigation reform, which has been a barrier to the construction of these type of units both in Arvada and throughout the Metro region. We have reached some level of success through the Metro Mayors Caucus on this.

In addition, at my urging, Arvada City Council has adopted “Plat notes” legislation to provide for mediation and arbitration instead of litigation to address legitimate construction-defect issues. These efforts are showing results, as we are indeed seeing an increase in construction of multi-family owner-occupied properties, which can be purchased at a lower cost than single-family homes.