Growth in Golden: the 1% Growth Limit

January 6, 2019

With all of the holiday celebrations, shopping, and parties over the past month, I wound up talking to a lot of Golden-dwellers. The recurring theme in most of the conversations was growth. There is a lot of frustration, confusion, and anger amongst the residents. The questions everyone is asking include

Isn’t there a 1% growth limit?

How could they have been allowed to build (insert any given development)–it’s so BIG!

Traffic is getting so bad–why don’t we stop building? And with traffic getting heavier, why do they keep taking away lanes?

What happened to the Golden Vision, where we said we wanted to be a small town?

I have some ideas about most of these questions, but for today I’ll focus on the first: is there still a 1% per year growth limit? The answer is yes, well, sort of. There have been, and continue to be, a number of ways around it.

Senior Housing on Golden Gate Canyon Road

Senior Housing
The growth limit went into effect in 1996, but there was an exemption for senior housing. Before that exemption expired, several senior housing projects were built. After they were completed, some of the developments exchanged their senior exemptions for regular building allocations, so they would not be subject to Golden’s “senior housing” requirements. The last 33 senior housing exemptions went to the 120 unit development currently under construction on Golden Gate Canyon Road, and they are exchanging their senior allocations for regular ones as they become available.

172 Transit Oriented Apartments

Early Starts
Theoretically, there are a fixed number of housing allocations granted every year. The number is 77 for 2019. However, certain types of projects have been allowed to “borrow” allocations from future years. In 2013, the Outlook Golden Ridge project was allowed to build 172 apartments near the light rail station. Because that type of housing was considered desirable, they were not required to wait until they had accumulated the necessary allocations–though they did have to keep requesting them every year until they had acquired all 172.

Proposed 51-unit Affordable Housing Project at 24th and Jackson

In 2018, Council voted to allow Affordable Housing projects to borrow allocations from the future. So the city may allow more than 77 housing starts this year, because qualified Affordable Housing projects can borrow from future years.

48-unit hotel proposed for 8th St.

Commercial Developments
Hotels are exempt from the growth limit, so while the 72 apartments proposed for 8th Street will require housing allocations, the 48-unit hotel will not.

416-room residence hall on 18th St.

The School of Mines
As a state institution, the School of Mines considers itself to be exempt from local zoning, so they can build as much housing as they like without regard to Golden’s 1% growth limit. In March of 2018, the city rezoned 1101 18th Street to allow the School to build a 416 room residence hall. The rezoning was required because the previous (R3) zone only allowed a building 50 feet in height. The new residence hall will be 64 feet tall.

107-unit sophomore apartments on Jackson St.

In April, the City approved a 107-unit apartment building (1750 Jackson St.) for use by the School of Mines. Thus, in a single year, 523 new beds/living units were approved without regard to the 1% growth limit.

Learn about Mines or Archosaurs Tonight, and Eat at Bob’s

November 28, 2018

Colorado School of Mines - Golden Colorado

The School of Mines will hold a community meeting tonight at 6PM.  The meeting will be held in the Ben Parker Student Center, 1616 Maple St. (map), Ballroom E.  Topics will include:

* Campus activities
* Sustainability
* Construction project update
* Parking
* Master plan process/timeline update
* Questions/discussion

Dinosaur Ridge will hold a free Everything Dinosaur Talk: Archosaurs (Crocs, Dactyls, and Avians) at 6PM at their Discovery Center, 17681 W Alameda Pkwy, Golden, CO (map)

Dinosaur Ridge lecture on archosaurs/The ancestral archosaurs probably originated some 250 million years or so ago, in the late Permian period. Their descendants (such as the dinosaurs) dominated the realm of the terrestrial vertebrates for a majority of the Mesozoic Era. Today, only the birds and crocodilians exist to provide a glimpse into the past glory of archosaurs. RSVP at

The Sustainability Board will meet at 6PM in City Council Chambers.  They will discuss their goals for the coming year, which they will present to City Council sometime soon.  See the meeting packet for details.

Bob's Atomic Burgers Fund Raiser for Golden High School Performing ArtsBob’s Atomic Burgers is holding a fund-raiser for Golden High School’s performing arts programs today from 11AM-8PM.  Have lunch or dinner at Bob’s and they will donate 20% of your bill to young performers!

Tonight’s Live Music:
Old Capitol Grill & Smokehouse – Wintery Wednesdays Concert Series, 6-9PM.
Rock Rest Lodge – Dave Frisk, 6PM.

Thursday Preview:

Foothills Art Center Ugly Sweater Decorating - Golden Colorado

Tomorrow night (Thursday November 29th) from 6-8PM, Foothills Art Center will host Art on Tap.  This month, they’re doing an Ugly Sweater Decorating Party!

Bring an old sweater and meet us up in Petersen Classroom to adorn it for the upcoming holiday season. Golden City Brewery will be providing the beer, and we will be providing the decorating supplies (paint, glitter, and a plethora of unique items).

Bring a friend or a date and get crafty with Foothills staff members. THIS IS A 21+ EVENT Admission to Foothills Art Center and the program is free for our Members. Non-members gain free access to the program upon paid admission to Foothills Art Center.

Art, Dance, Jazz, Theater, and a Possible Governor

October 12, 2018

Foothills Art Center - Golden CO

The School of Mines will be hosting two Gubernatorial Visits. You are invited to join forums with the two candidates for governor that the Colorado School of Mines is convening in October. These forums will include a short meet and greet, with most of the time devoted to Q&A. Please attend these forums and share with friends and colleagues. Light refreshments will be provided.

Oct 12, 3:30-4:30 – Walker Stapleton
at the Ben Parker Student Center, 1200 16th St. (map)
Oct 24 – Jared Polis

Tonight from 6-7PM, visit Foothills Art Center to see Virtuosity Dance Centre members perform their interpretation of Spirit Glass. This is free for Foothills Members and regular admission for non-members.

At 9PM, you can listen to Avante Jazz at the GLDN Mill – NAME, Kaitlyn Williams, dr3am c@$t, and BabyBaby play the GLDN Mill
$5-$10 entry donation.

Tick Tock
This is the final weekend to see Lungs at Miners Alley Playhouse.

Saturday Preview
The 9Health Fair is tomorrow morning from 8AM-12PM at Bell Middle School.  It’s a great way to get cost-effective health screenings.  Register here.

Dinosaur Ridge will be celebrating Girl Scout Day and National Fossil Day from 9AM-3PM. (You don’t have to be a Girl Scout to attend, but if you are, you can earn a merit badge!)

The always-innovative Councilor Casey Brown will have Cabernet/Chardonnay with a Councilor at 3PM at the home of Dixie Termin and Ron Miller, 400 White Ash Drive,

CSM Homecoming, Beautiful Junk Sale, Earth Sweet Botanicals

September 28, 2018

Colorado School of Mines Homecoming - Golden CO

The School of Mines is celebrating Homecoming this weekend. There’s a volleyball game and a men’s soccer game tonight and a football game and volleyball game tomorrow, and many opportunities to celebrate with fellow alums, such as a bonfire tonight at 8PM and a parade along Illinois Street at 9:30 tomorrow morning. See the full schedule of Homecoming Events.

Beautiful Junk Sale Benefitting the Action Center - Golden ColoradoThe semi-annual Beautiful Junk Sale, which benefits The Action Center, runs today from 8:30AM-7PM and tomorrow from 8:30AM-7PM. General admission is $5 (15 and under, free).

Earth Sweet Botanical‘s Healthy Skin Club is meeting tonight from 6-8PM with a focus on wrinkles! This session covers anti-aging and how to handle those wretched wrinkles. Come and learn about the causes of aging skin, how to avoid the main culprits of aging, and power house ingredients to slow down aging. Registration is required, so call the store to see whether they still have a space for you: 303-278-1260.

Saturday Preview
11AM-11PM OkTOADerfest at Mountain Toad
1-4PM Golden Mill Fall Block Party (must register in advance)
1-2PM Fancy Nancy Tea Party at the library

Monday and Beyond

April 23, 2018

Springtime in Golden Colorado

Today should be a beautiful day–sunny and high of 70.  Tomorrow, in contrast, is expected to have a high in the mid-40s with possible precipitation.

Golden Library - building a flashlight from an Altoids tinThe Library will have Spanish for Kids this morning from 11:30-12 and Preschool Time from 12:30-1. Today’s DIY Lab will teach kids to make flashlights out of Altoid tins.

The Investment Task Force meets tonight at 6PM in City Council Chambers. Have you taken the survey yet, indicating how you want the city to spend future tax money? If not–please do!  Tune in during the meeting for the big reveal to see how the various issues are fairing in the polls.

The task force originally planned to have three public meetings to solicit input into the long-term spending plans, but they’ve decided to cancel the second two. The new plan is to visit various stakeholder groups in town and possibly visit gathering places such as the library to ask people take the survey.

The School of Mines will have a special guest this week. Robert M. Hazen, the author of The Story of Earth: How Life and Minerals Co-Evolved will be delivering a lecture on Wednesday April 25th at 7PM in Rm 241 of Berthoud Hall.

The Story of Earth Robert M Hazen at the Colorado School of MinesHere’s an abstract of his book: A fundamental challenge in geology is to understand the evolving diversity and distribution of rocks and minerals through more than 4 billion years of Earth history–changes that reveal much about our planet’s co-evolving geosphere and biosphere. Mineral evolution and mineral ecology, which explore mineral occurrences through time and space, exploit large and growing data resources to detect previously hidden patterns in nature. We find dramatic changes in Earth’s mineralogy as a consequence of physical, chemical, and most surprisingly biological processes. Powerful analytical and visualization methods are now allowing us to predict Earth’s “missing” minerals–a prelude to the discovery of new ore deposits and other natural resources.

On Thursday (4/26), the new Town and Gown book club will kick off at noon with a visit from the esteemed author, Dr. Robert Hazen and a discussion of his book. The new group will meet at the Arthur Lake Library, 1400 Illinois Street.

All things green and growing

April 20, 2018

Golden Library - Golden Colorado

In the spirit of Earth Day, the Library has a special Wee DIY on Seed Starting this morning from 11-11:30. Preschoolers love hands-on learning. Explore, create and construct new things and grow through stories, art and experiments. Space is limited to 15 scientists (not including their grown-up assistants). Learn more….

Colorado School of Mines High Grade celebration at Foothills Art Center

The School of Mines is celebrating the release of their annual art and literary journal, High Grade. Join them for a free reception tonight at 5PM at Foothills Art Center. You’ll see and hear original fiction, poetry, art, and music from students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Golden is hosting the Rocky Mountain Storytelling conference this weekend at the Mountaineering Center. Both Friday and Saturday nights, they will offer storytelling “concerts,” which are open to the public. Tickets are $10/person or $35 for a family.

Recreational marijuana sales banned in Golden ColoradoToday is April 20th–420, in the parlance of pot lovers. If you’re new to town, you might wonder why you never see the famous Colorado weed around here. The State of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 and sales became legal in January 2014. Golden voted to prohibit sales of recreational marijuana in June of 2014. We do allow medical marijuana, but we have pretty tight restrictions on where they can be located, and right now there’s only one dispensary operating within the city limits. The investment task force has listed marijuana taxes as a potential source of new revenue, but at this time, recreational pot is still banned in Golden.  We’re not alone in that decision: according to Wikipedia, “As of April 2017, 176 of Colorado’s 272 municipalities have opted to prohibit retail marijuana activity within their boundaries.”

Corks, Investments, and Pollinators

March 26, 2018

Planting for Pollinators - Golden Colorado
Both the Jeffco Public Schools and the School of Mines are on Spring Break this week.

The Library’s DIY Lab is featuring Wine Cork Creations this afternoon from 4:30-6:30. Tinker, invent and re-imagine things in our DIY space. Get creative and use extra wine corks to complete a variety of decorative DIY projects, perfect for gift giving or home display. All supplies and materials provided. Suitable for: Everyone.

The Golden Investment Forum Task Force will meet tonight at 6PM in City Council Chambers. This group is charged with identifying which (if any) of the items on our “wish list” should be funded and how we should fund them–taking on debt (bonds) or increasing taxes.

The Task Force has a big, amorphous job, and they’re struggling to find ways to accomplish it. They held an open house on March 14th with posters on several topics, including Open Space, Community Housing, Sustainability Improvement, Neighborhood Parks, Clear Creek Corridor, Recreational Facilities, Downtown Improvements, Complete Streets & Traffic Calming, US6 & Highway 93, and Cultural Facilities. Attendees were offered a survey that asked them to rank each of the topics as “Essential, Very Important, Not that Important, or Not at all important.”

I wasn’t sure how my answers would be interpreted. In many cases, I think that maintaining what we have is “essential,” but that doesn’t mean that I think we need more of the same.

City staff thought that too few people attended the open house, so they’re considering cancelling the remain two, and focusing instead on visiting certain stakeholder groups and finishing up with a “statistically valid survey.”

There is also an online exercise on 2021-2030 Capital Investment Options. With that, we’re given $15 Million to spend and asked where we want to spend it. The options were:

Build a new history museum: $12 million
Expand the community center aquatics area: $7.7 million
Improve Grampsas Facilities: $12.4 million
Expand Splash: $2.1 million
Improve Lions Park: $5.2 million
Improve Parfet Park: $.9 million
Build a Pedestrian Bridge over Clear Creek: $.7 million
Improve Bachman Park: $3.6 million
Build DeLong Park: $.9 million
Build a longboard course: $.24 million
Build the solar garden: $4.8 million
Add solar to city buildings: $12 million
Buy land for affordable housing: $12 million
Partner in affordable housing projects: $9.6 million
Acquire open space: $12 million
Re-do the downtown streetscape: $6.2 million
Re-do the Heritage Rd & 6th intersection: $7.2 million
Re-do the Hwy 93/Hwy 58 intersection: $36 million
Improve West Colfax: $6 million
Provide broadband “upfront”: $43.2 million
Bury utility lines: $9.6 million

As you can see, choosing almost any 2 of the options will blow your $15 million budget. Once you’ve exceeded the budget, you’re asked whether you want to increase sales tax, lodging tax, or property tax to pay the difference. It’s a tough choice! Those projects all sound lovely, but I’m wary of raising taxes.

The missing piece, as the Task Force knows, is estimating how much we, individually, would have to pay. Most of us don’t customarily think in terms of multi-million dollar price tags. The important question is, how much would it cost my household per year? That’s the question the task force is still grappling with.

In the meantime, take the online survey and see how you want to spend your $15 million!

The CSU Extension Program is offering a class tomorrow from 1-2PM on Planting for Pollinators. Buy tickets online.

Jamboree, Gin, and Jewell Work

March 10, 2018

JOY at the Colorado School of Mines - Golden COIf you have elementary school-aged children, take them to JOY (Jamboree for Outstanding Youngsters) today from 10AM-2PM on the School of Mines campus. This free event offers fun STEM-related activities and games. This year’s theme is Dinosaurs. This year, Reading Partners is hosting a children’s book drive. If you have any used books you would like to donate please bring them and help kids in under-resourced classrooms learn to read!  The event has moved from the IM fields, where it was held last year, to Kafadar Commons on the central campusLearn more….

Golden Moon Speakeasy is celebrating their 4th anniversary today from 4-11PM, with live music by Weatherbee and the Gnarbillys from 8-11PM.

Clock in historic downtown Golden ColoradoDaylight Savings Time starts tonight, at 2AM. I was surprised when this week’s newsletter from the City called Daylight Savings Time “a drawback” that comes with spring. I love having more daylight in the evenings, and it had never occurred to me that anyone would feel otherwise!

Anyway, remember to set your clocks forward tonight, especially if you have to be somewhere tomorrow morning.

Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum - Golden Colorado

The Quilt Museum will have “Sunday at the Museum” tomorrow from 2-4PM, and it sounds like a good one: Story Quilts of Jewell Work, Women of the Plains—Native Blackfeet Women of Northern Montana, Cir. 1800s. The Blackfoot Indians live across the plains of Montana, the Dakotas and Canada – and have been there for some 10,000 years. Women of the Plains (Indians) is a storyquilt devoted to the women who mitigated – softened – the hardness of life on the plains. During courtship, marriage and children, life and death, suicide and war, the burden of keeping the family alive fell mainly on the shoulders of the women. RMQM members admitted free. Nonmembers are $10/person. Admission includes museum admission and refreshments. Doors open at 11AM. Program begins at 2PM. Reservations are helpful but not required. Please call 303-277-0377 and tell us you’re coming!  Learn more….

Music, Gear, Rails and Cocktails, and Women’s Day

March 2, 2018

The School of Mines is having a Concert in the Library from 12-1 this afternoon. Today’s performers are Animal Friends: indie pop singer-songwriters and musicians, Jack Pederson and Brett Probst. It’s free and open to the public.

Horse Protection League Tack Sale

The Horse Protection League, just north of North Table Mountain, is having their Spring Tack Sale today and tomorrow from 9AM-4PM.  Horse lovers from all over the region donate their used tack (saddles, halters, blankets, etc.) to this sale, and the proceeds go to buy feed for the horses.  There are some great deals to be had!

Mountain Side Gear Rental - Golden ColoradoMountain Side Gear Rental (15985 South Golden Road – map) is holding a garage sale today from 3-7PM and tomorrow from 10AM-3PM. There will be killer deals on select used and new tents, sleeping gear, cooking gear, backpacks and accessories! Call 303-955-2290 with any questions.

Colorado Rails and Cocktails - Golden ColoradoCourtesy of American Museum of Western Art
The Anshutz Collection

The Railroad Museum will host one of their popular “Colorado Rails and Cocktails” sessions tonight. Kristin Fong from the American Museum of Western Art will highlight the railroad related collections at the American Museum of Western Art in Denver. Relax, have a beverage, and travel back to a time when railroads shaped the American West. Doors open at 5:30, the bar opens at 6, and the presentation starts promptly at 6:30PM. Admission is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. You must be 21 or older to attend. Learn more….

International Women's Day LuncheonAre you planning to attend the March 8th International Women’s Day Luncheon?  The deadline to buy tickets is Sunday, March 4th. This year’s keynote speaker is Brynn Watson from Lockheed Martin. Attendees will also hear from Marjorie Sloan, Mayor of Golden; Candace Coolidge, Deputy District Attorney – First Judicial District and Coordinator for the new Family Justice Center; and Kristi Pollard, President & CEO, Jefferson County Economic Development Commission. Awards will be given for Innovator Woman of the Year and Volunteer Woman of the Year, as well as awards for the Girls in STEM competition. I wouldn’t normally mention this event, because it takes place in Lakewood, but the City of Golden is sponsoring the event. Learn more and buy tickets.


September 15, 2017

Golden High School Homecoming Parade - Golden Colorado

Golden High School’s Homecoming parade and football game both take place tonight. The parade will start at 17th Street and come down Washington Avenue starting at 5PM, and will turn left on 12th Street. The game will start at 7PM at the Marv Kay Stadium on the CSM campus. Come out and see the parade and cheer on the hometown team! Wear the school colors–maroon and white!

The School of Mines Homecoming will be September 27-30.

Jeffco Open Space is offering a program tomorrow with a grand premise: 1.7 Billion Years of Golden’s Geology By Car. Learn more and sign up.

Tomorrow (Saturday 9/16) at 1PM, Councilor Saoirse Charis-Graves will host Coffee with a Councilor at Bean Fosters.  She has invited the Ward 1 candidates for city council–Robert Reed and Micah Allen.

Many thanks to the people and organizations who support "What's Happening in Golden."