Lakewood City Council, please be careful. An article appeared in the Suburban Times titled, Cottage Housing Code (click the link to see the earlier story).
While I did not feel like I had time to deal with yet another challenge to our community, my 40 plus years experience working around small size, low cost housing as a Real Estate Broker, investor, landlord and property management company owner along with 23 years in law enforcement compelled me to share my thoughts on the cottage zoning issue being voted on by Lakewood City Council on Monday, October 5, 2015.
The word cottage is most frequently related to fairy tales. The word cottage stirs thoughts of pleasant feelings of safety, security and romance. The cottage plan under consideration by the City of Lakewood is none of that.
If the change passes, land currently zoned for single family residential use can be used to build a cottage or cluster of cottages instead of a single family residence.
What follows could easily turn into the horror of living in a slum neighborhood with problems similar to that found in already existing small sized housing areas of Lakewood. It should be noted that Lakewood already has well defined neighborhoods that provide a supply of inexpensive housing. That fact allows our city to accommodate diversity at all economic levels.
It will not be helpful to anyone to mix slum producing housing in with quality single family housing. Neighborhoods can benefit from being homogeneous. Homogeneous is a fancy word that means similar in terms of size of housing and economic status of the neighbors.
Mixing cottages with single family homes can easily cause, the single family housing occupants to suffer from problems related to loud music, domestic violence, dope, prostitution, burglary and list goes on.
Eventually the cottage center becomes a crime center right in the middle of formerly livable neighborhood.
A cluster of cottages is a horizontal apartment complex in a clever disguise. Apartment complexes are normally vertical. If single family home owners do not want vertical apartment complexes to destroy their neighborhood, why would they want a horizontal cottage apartment complex to destroy their neighborhood?
Ask the intelligent question. Do we want apartment complexes, horizontal or vertical destroying our single family neighborhoods?
The second possibility is to add single cottages to already existing homes with large lots.
If the cottage is used to house elderly parents, that is a positive, which can make sense.
Once the parents no longer live in the cottage, the cottage becomes a rental which can easily deteriorate the neighborhood and the city because of crime and blight associated with many who can only rent and live in small housing units.
Of course there are exceptions and I can think of a couple right here in Lakewood, but if our single family zones are going to be diluted and undermined by 800? – 1500? cottages, the quality of our life-style is going to come under attack.
I am against destroying our neighborhoods via the proposed cottage plan.
If you agree, consider attending the Lakewood City Council meeting to voice your opinion.
The Lakewood City Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 5, at Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main Street SW.