In July, voters in Lakewood approved a one percent per annum cap on residential unit construction.  Now, a proposed ballot measure aiming to require counties along the Front Range to follow suit is one step closer to appearing on Colorado’s 2020 ballot.

Initiative 22 proposes a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes which would require the cities and counties of Broomfield and Denver, and the counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, and Weld to limit “privately owned residential housing growth countywide to one percent annually for the years 2021 and 2022.”  Following those years, the enacted growth cap would continue past 2021 and 2022 unless amended or repealed by initiative and referendum.  In an effort to make the proposed ballot measure “more popular”, the final text of Initiative 122 includes a provision permitting counties to provide an additional .15 percentage point allotment to the growth cap for affordable and senior housing.

In Colorado, all ballot measures are required to address only one subject, and that subject must be clearly expressed in the measure’s title.  The Title Board is charged with reviewing proposed ballot measures for compliance with the single-subject rule.  On September 4, 2019, the Title Board approved Initiative 122 under the single-subject requirement.  Initiative 122’s title was subsequently approved by the Title Board on October 2, 2019.  Following challenges, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the Title Board’s single-subject determination on December 5, 2019.

At this stage, the final hurdle for Initiative 122’s 2020 ballot run is signature collection.  Colorado law requires petitions to obtain a number of signatures equal to 5% of the total votes cast for the office of Secretary of State in the most recent general election.  At present, the requisite number of signatures is 124,632.

Lakewood’s growth cap initiative is set to take effect in the beginning of 2020.  As this blog previously documented, many uncertainties remain with respect to the implementation and effect of Lakewood’s growth cap.  If Initiative 122 finds its way onto the general election ballot in 2020, many residents, developers, and local governments along the Front Range may face similar uncertainties.