A House Divided, Lakewood City Council faced with tough vote

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Posted Mon, Oct 27, 2014

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Lakewood residents are worried about make-shift beehives in their neighbor's backyards. [Photos by Laurence Washington]

THE STING: Lakewood residents are worried about make-shift beehives in their neighbor’s backyards. [Photos by Laurence Washington]

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — The Council chambers was packed Oct. 20, as Council members met to discuss an ordinance regarding the budget for the 2015 year – and privately beehives within city limits.

Several citizens had strong comments with the council regarding beehives in their neighborhood.

“Is this $5 jar of honey more important than a thousands of Lakewood residents allergic to bees? … I know you have a heart. I know you care about children,” Lakewood resident, Emily Dority told council members.

Dority yield the rest of her time to allow council members to respond. Mayor Bob Murphy said the neighbor who have the beehive has reduce the amount hives they are allowed to keep, and when the Council will revisit the zoning ordinance, they will look at the issue again.

Councilman Tom Quinn told the Dority family that the city will not take down wild hives, but will look into zoning ordinances regarding beehives kept by residences.

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Councilman Tom Quinn said the Council will revisit zoning ordinances regarding private beehives, but not wild hives. [Photo by the City of Lakewood]

Kathy Kitner, a Lakewood citizen, took advantage of the public comments regarding the budget, criticized the council on how they handle purchases and issues that aren’t on the listed budget. Items that cost over $50,000 must be put to vote and approved by every city council member, but they haven’t according to Kitner.

“So which elected official is approving these purchases? Our city charter is clear these purchases have be approved by city council,” Kitner said. “… what does this say about our budget as a moral document?”

After public comments on the Council addressed Ordinance O-2014-23, the city’s budget for 2015. Lakewood’s City Finance director, Larry Dorr, stated what will be in the budget. The budget included legal costs and election costs on top of public works projects and maintenance. The entire budget will be shown to the public in The Denver Post newspaper and will be discussed again later in October.

City Council also addressed the ordinance regarding homeowners and future homeowners in Lakewood. This ordinance is about construction and repairs on homes. Citizens who came to address this ordinance are split, as some support and some oppose this. Those who are in favor believe this is needed because will help improve the value of their home and see this as an investment in the long run. Those who oppose believe this is a violation of homeowners’ rights and feel as if they have no say in who they want to repair their homes.

Homeowners Associations, business groups, housing groups and community members were on both sides of this debate and presented their arguments during public comments presented pros and cons to City Council members before they vote on the ordinance. Public comments on this ordinance lasted over two hours and council had to take a break before resuming the meeting.

The Council passed the ordinance 7-4 and will be implemented next month. Cheers and groans came from both sides of the issues after the five hour long council meeting came to a close.

About David Tan

David Tan is a Denver-area freelance writer.

View all posts by David Tan

4 Responses to “A House Divided, Lakewood City Council faced with tough vote”

  1. Nancy Says:

    David I really like how you described the meeting and describing the opposition towards the beehives in Lakewood. Also you did an excellent job of going over the other issues of this meeting. I still can’t get over they stayed there till midnight. Wonderful report on Lakewood.

    Reply

  2. Emily Says:

    Great quotes. I really liked your ending. Personified the meeting.

    Reply

  3. Joseph Rios Says:

    Good job describing the meeting, good headline too.

    Reply

  4. Kelsey Hammond Says:

    You cover these meetings really well! The photos were great too.

    Reply

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