Hello from the SPEHA Board!
Welcome to 2021 in Southmoor Park East! I’m Lee Terry, your new SPEHA president. I’m pleased to be back on the Board where I will try to help our neighborhood continue to thrive. Some may remember that I previously served as SPEHA President and a Board member until 2013 when Casey Funk took on the job. I must express the neighborhood’s gratitude for Casey’s long service as HOA President as well as for the dedication of our outgoing President, Bob Engel, who worked diligently for the neighborhood on many issues, including the ongoing challenges posed by the City of Denver’s Group Living Amendment to the Denver Zoning Code.
In that regard, my first act as President is to inform you of the position the Board has taken on the Group Living Text Amendment (“GLA”) and to ask for your input on whether you wish to make that a position of the entire neighborhood rather than just the Board. As you know, the Board has previously proposed an amendment to SPEHA’s Unified Covenants to try to mitigate the effect of the GLA on our neighborhood, but that amendment to our Covenants has not yet been approved by homeowners. In fact, an updated version will be coming out soon, so please hang on to your pens for now.
Here is a quick summary of the City’s proposed GLA and how it would affect our neighborhood.
Currently, the Denver Zoning Code provides that no more than 2 unrelated adults can share a single dwelling unit. In theory, that means 3 friends can’t share a 3 bedroom apartment, so an update is obviously appropriate, but the GLA goes much further. The GLA would increase the number of unrelated persons to 5 and would expand the areas where residential-care facilities, including homeless shelters, can be housed.
The latest version of the GLA, to be considered by the City Council on February 8, allows 5 unrelated persons along with an unlimited number of relatives of those 5 unrelated persons. Because “related persons” is very broadly defined, the practical result is that there is no limit at all on the number of people who can reside in a single home. The unrelated persons number increases to 8 for the disabled and for seniors over 55, although those groups don’t get to add the unlimited number of “related persons.” Finally, homes could also be repurposed for residential care facilities with up to 10 unrelated persons, which includes overnight shelters for the homeless, which are typically closed during the day.
The Board’s principal objection to the GLA revolves around the new permission to house 5 unrelated persons and an unlimited number of “related persons”. We believe that this removal of any practical limits would exacerbate the housing crisis facing the City rather than, as GLA proponents suggest, help fix that problem. We believe that, if passed, GLA will encourage developers to convert homes in residential neighborhoods like SPEHA into profitable and more valuable “rooming houses” that will increase density, traffic, parking problems, and eventually, crime in the affected neighborhoods.
Thanks for your time considering this issue. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or concerns about the neighborhood or SPEHA. Appreciate, however, that I am just getting started here, so I may not always have the answer right at my fingertips. In fact, I might just refer you to our brand new website at www.speha.org. Check it out, and be sure to register your name, street address, and preferred email address while you’re there.
Lee Terry, SPEHA President
sleeterryjr @ gmail.com