Policy Bits ~ 3 Things to Know & Watch This Week
May 9-15, 2016 ~ Karly Malpiede Andrus

I.    Construction Defects Reform Talks Collapse in Colorado Legislature

  • Months-long negotiations on a legislative construction-defects reform package fell apart Thursday, leaving advocates unwilling even to introduce a bill for the fourth straight year they believe is crucial to increasing the meager supply of affordable condominiums in Colorado. Essentially, since Colorado passed the updated construction defects law in 2007 the condo supply dropped from ~25% to ~2%. Nationwide the amount of condos produced is around 25%, in many cases condos are entry level homeownership opportunities but in Colorado, due to the high cost of builder insurance the only type of condos being built are high end.  Meanwhile, there is very little other for-sale product that is affordable. http://goo.gl/Be6SoV
  • The development put an immediate chill on the remaining affordable housing package items like the transfer from the unclaimed property fund for affordable housing. To be clear, no one wants to give bad builders a pass but no one wants to find out they are embroiled in litigation when they try to sell their condo either. Further, we are in a very difficult and completely engineered situation, we are only able to produce rental, where we constantly see rents rising, and high end for-sale product, this will hinder our ability to keep or grow complete communities.

II.    Play Everywhere Challenge: Awarding $1 million for kid-friendly innovations

  • Developed in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target, Playworld, HUD and the National Endowment for the Arts, The Play Everywhere Challenge is a national competition that will award $1 million in prizes for the best replicable, scalable innovations in city redevelopment and design that help make play easy, available and fun for kids and families. An informational webinar is scheduled for May 12th. https://goo.gl/4oSSTf
  • This effort can be very helpful to our community as we explore development that inspires health and creates wonderful places for people to thrive.

III.    North/East Denver Change Looks Critically at Development and Gentrification

  • A team lead by University of Colorado Denver professor Jordan Hill has launched a website, http://www.northeastdenverchange.org/  dedicated to nonpartisan information about developments and the neighborhoods being affected. “It is a personal thin to us. A lot of us grew up in Denver.” GIS student Isaac Rivera. “I saw my community change and I no longer really feel like I’m part of that community, because a lot of the people who were once there were completely displaced” states Nikte Contreras who came of age in North Denver. After struggling to be very objective at the beginning of the process they found they had reserved judgment a bit too much, they now view their work as the alternative to the pro-growth rhetoric of the City of Denver.  http://goo.gl/9UCIGO
  • This tale from the field shows how important true integration of resident voices are in the planning process.  It also demonstrates how terms like “development” and “progress” might not apply to families whose lives could well be disrupted by impeding projects like Central I-70 and the National Western Center. To many in the class the true cost of development along the “corridor of opportunity” is gentrification and they are hoping to gain true community voice in this process to illuminate Denver’s efforts.