Editor's Note: 'Our Colorado' stories help natives and newcomers navigate the challenges related to our rapidly growing state, including real estate and development, homelessness, transportation and more. To comment on this or other 360 stories, email us at OurCO@TheDenverChannel.com. See more 'Our Colorado' stories here.
AURORA, Colo. -- With growth comes growing pains. And in Aurora, Colorado’s third largest city, one of the biggest issues that comes along with growth is affordable housing (or lack thereof).
Officials with 9to5, a nonprofit that which works with housing issues and labor laws, say there is a deficit of 12,000 affordable units in Aurora.
This week, Aurora’s City Council voted to move forward on two measures dealing with that topic. First, a ten month moratorium on redevelopment in the city’s dozen mobile home parks. The second is the formation of an affordable housing task force.
ONGOING FIGHT RE-EMERGES
It starts at one of the last “affordable” places to live in Aurora: the dozen mobile home parks within city limits.
At one park in particular, Denver Meadows, a fight has been going on spanning years between residents and the park owner who is looking to rezone, sell, and develop the land.
Denver7 spoke to Petra Bennet, a resident of Denver Meadows, who said her biggest concern was that she was going to be homeless.
“I own the home but not the land it’s on” she said. “And if you yank out the land from under me I don’t have anywhere to go.”
The park’s owner would not comment on the current state of the sale of the land when asked by a Denver7 reporter.
A TEN MONTH PAUSE
The Council voting on a moratorium does give residents some reason to breathe easier. It doesn't allow for any rezoning or any redevelopment at any of Aurora’s dozen mobile home parks.
“It’s giving the city a chance to take a closer look at the affordable housing issue in Aurora,” city spokesperson Julie Patterson said.
The moratorium doesn't stop an owner from selling the land and kicking people out, but it wouldn't allow for anything else to be built until next January, which makes that idea unlikely according to 9to5.
THE LARGER ISSUE
City Council also voted this week to form an affordable housing task force.
“I think we know there is an affordable housing issue. I don’t think we know what the scope of the issue is,” Patterson said.
The six-person team will take the same ten-month timeframe to look at issues facing not just for mobile home residents, but for anyone struggling to live in the city. Then the team is tasked at coming up with actual solutions.
“This will give us a chance to take a closer look at affordable housing in Aurora and make some recommendations to the City Council ultimately to move us forward in terms of addressing those issues,” she said.