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SPEHA President's Message March 14, 2021
Posted on Mar 14th, 2021 Comments (0)
Hello from the SPEHA Board
Hot cocoa for kids on the sledding hill Monday at 2 pm!
Denver Public Schools has declared Monday a snow day for the kids, so SPEHA is providing hot cocoa to the first 50 kids on the Southmoor Park sledding hill this Monday, March 15, at 2 pm. SPEHA Board members Stephen Rohs, Troy Hendelman, and Ethan Lew have organized this youth activity, and other Board members, including Jack Green, will be out there filling the kids’ cups, travel mugs, or other cocoa containers with 8 ounces of delicious hot cocoa, marshmallows, and whipped cream. The cocoa should keep them a little warmer, or at least happier, while they sled, toboggan or saucer down the sledding hill. 
Delay of Annual SPEHA Homeowners Meeting
Our annual homeowner’s meeting, usually held in January, was previously rescheduled for Wednesday, March 31, 2021. At our meeting this past Wednesday, the SPEHA Board decided to further postpone the annual meeting until sometime this summer, no later than the end of June. We are optimistically hoping that we can hold an in-person meeting this summer instead of a virtual meeting on Zoom. Depending on how things go with local COVID 19 restrictions, we might even decide to hold the meeting outdoors in one of our beautiful parks. Stay up to date by registering and visiting our new webpage @
Concept Proposal for Amendments to SPEHA Covenants
On Monday, February 8, 2021, Denver City Council passed the Group Living Amendment. The final version passed 11 to 2, declares that any residential “dwelling unit” can be occupied by one household, defined as “up to 5 adults of any relationship, plus any minor children related by blood, adoption or documented responsibility, plus any permitted domestic employees, whom all occupy a dwelling unit.” 
For example, a husband and wife and their 3 children can have 3 more unrelated persons, and their related minor persons live with them in a single-family residence of any size. The more related adults you have, the fewer unrelated adults and their respective families you can have. The worst-case scenario is for 5 single-parent families of whatever size in a single house, not counting “domestic employees” (which sounds like a narrow exception for butlers and maids but creates an even bigger loophole for unrelated housemates).
According to the GLA, a “household” is a single “non-profit housekeeping unit” with (a) “Any number of persons related to each other by blood, marriage, civil union, committed partnership, adoption, or documented responsibility (such as foster care or guardianship);” or (b) “Up to 5 adults of any relationship, plus any minor children related by blood, adoption or documented responsibility; or (c) “Up to 8 adults of any relationship with a “handicap” according to the definition in the Federal Fair Housing Act, and who do not [qualify under the GLA as] a Congregate Living or Residential Care Use;” or (d) “Up to 8 older adults (individuals 55 or more years of age)” who do not qualify as Congregate Living or Residential Care Use under the GLA.
It is easy to recognize this as an open invitation to install all different kinds of overcrowded “non-profit” rooming houses in single-family residential areas. The GLA’s “one size fits all” approach does not fit Southmoor Park East or any of the other single-family residential neighborhoods that are part of the unique character of Denver. 
So, as promised, the SPEHA Board is recommending to the neighborhood that we opt out of the worst parts of the GLA by amending our own SPEHA Covenants. Here are our specific recommendations for the Covenant amendments, which we are trying to keep as simple as possible:
  1. We would allow only one family per house plus one person who is not related to that family, with no special exception for domestic employees.
  2. We would utilize a definition of “family” similar to the GLA, with some adjustments. For example, the “committed relationship” category would be changed to an “exclusive, binary, committed relationship,” to ensure that only legitimate couples are covered and not just groups of friends with some vague notion of ”commitment” to each other.
  3. Existing residents would be grandfathered so long as they announce themselves to the SPEHA Board within ninety (90) days after the adoption of the Covenant amendments. Grandfathering would only apply to existing residents and would not be a permanent change to the habitation permitted in the residence generally.
  4. The SPEHA Board would have the authority to grant exemptions to new residents or upon changes to the situations of existing residents so long as the request for exemption is made within 90 days of the new residents’ arrival or the existing resident's change in circumstances.
  5. For violations that are not exempted by the Board, upon ninety (90) days prior written notice, the SPEHA Board would have the authority to fine violators up to $50 per day and/or seek a court order to stop further violations.
  6. In administering these new limitations on occupancy, the SPEHA Board would be prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
  7. The SPEHA Board would like to get feedback from the neighborhood on this proposal. Once the Board has considered your reactions to the concepts described in the proposal, we will take it to the next step by drafting specific language for the Covenant amendments, getting that language approved by legal counsel, and circulating the final amendments for approval by two-thirds of the neighborhood.
Lee Terry
SPEHA President
SPEHA Board members:
 Fred Jorgensen, Casey Funk, Jack Green, Robert Finkelmeier, Becky Stuart, Cece Cohan, Scott Cunningham, Troy Hendelman, Stephen Rohs, and Ethan Lew. 
Update on Group Living Amendment!
Posted on Feb 9th, 2021
Hello from the SPEHA Board--Update on Group Living Amendment!
Late last night Denver City Council passed the Group Living Amendment (GLA) 11 to 2. All three City Council members avowedly representing Southmoor Park East voted in favor of the GLA. The event was pure political theater, with 3-minute citizen comments going late into the night. A procedural rule requiring every other speaker to be pro and then con made it appear that there was an equal amount of support on both sides of the issue. In fact, the City Planning Department's own records showed that in January 2021 alone, there were 6,612 written comments received against the GLA and 581 in support, a 92% to 8% gap. That overwhelmingly negative public response was repeatedly dismissed by City officials as based on "misinformation" about the 200-page text of the GLA. 
This kind of smug, "we know better than you" attitude was consistent throughout the process. I cannot say anything nice about our City government this morning, so I won't say anything at all. However, I will say that the GLA is an attack on Denver's unique character as a big city dominated by comfortable and secure single-family residential neighborhoods. In my own "misinformed" view, the GLA is trying to drag us down to the level of other, lesser cities. 
Therefore, we will be proceeding to protect Southmoor Park East from the GLA to the maximum extent possible under the law. You will be hearing much more about amendments to our SPEHA covenants to insulate ourselves and our neighborhood. While I believe we can do so with some effort by all of us, I am admittedly concerned about other Denver neighborhoods that do not currently have the same options. Perhaps we can lead those other neighborhoods by example. 
We have a SPEHA Board meeting this Wednesday, February 10, at 7 pm. While we will cover a wide range of neighborhood issues, we will start out with a discussion of the rollout of our planned Covenant amendments to mitigate the effect of the GLA's passage. If you wish to attend this Zoom meeting, there is a link on our newly redesigned website, While you are there, please register yourself on the website to make sure we have up-to-date contact information for you, and please encourage your neighbors to do so too. We will need as much of that information as possible to gather enough signatures for our Covenant amendments. 
Lee Terry, SPEHA President
SPEHA President's Message Update on Group Living Amendment
Posted on Feb 4th, 2021
Hello from the SPEHA Board--Update on Group Living Amendment!
I want to thank all the neighbors who wrote to me with their comments on the Group Living Amendment to be considered by Denver City Council on Monday, February 8. The comments were overwhelmingly supportive of the Board's position opposing the GLA's complex and evolving proposal to increase the density of Denver's residential neighborhoods.
I say evolving because there have been changes to the GLA proposal that I failed to note in my prior message. Grassroots organizations like Safe & Sound Denver ( have been fighting the GLA for some time now. As a result, the legislation has been steadily whittled back several times from the original proposal, which was 8 unrelated persons plus an unlimited number of each unrelated person's broadly defined "relatives." In particular, the version that I described in my prior message (5 unrelated persons and unlimited relatives of each unrelated person) has been cut back further, to 5 related or unrelated adults, combined, and an unlimited number of their minor relatives (i.e., children, including teenagers). This is a little better but the GLA is still damned by that faint praise.
Here is the latest language for a "household" that could occupy any single "dwelling unit" anywhere in the City:
 "(iii). Up to 5 adults of any relationship, plus any minor children related by blood, adoption or documented responsibility, plus any permitted domestic employees, who all occupy a dwelling unit as a single non-profit housekeeping unit:"
So how does this work? It means, for example, that a husband and wife and their 3 children can have 3 more unrelated persons and their related minor persons live with them. The more related adults you have, the fewer unrelated adults and their respective families you can have. The worst case scenario is for 5 single-parent families of whatever size in a single house, not counting "domestic employees." The Board believes that this latest version is still an open invitation to install overcrowded rooming houses in single family residential areas like Southmoor Park East. The GLA's "one size fits all" approach does not really fit everyone.
So, after reflection, and considering neighbors' feedback and discussions with Councilwoman Kendra Black (whom we understand plans to vote in favor of the GLA), the Board is reasserting its opposition to the GLA. Besides the 5 unrelated persons provision described above, the GLA is sweeping and complex legislation consistently aimed at increasing the density of single family residential neighborhoods like Southmoor Park East. You can learn more about the GLA and those other provisions on Safe & Sound Denver's website or you can try to decipher the voluminous and laudatory documents posted on the City's website.
While the Board still intends to recommend to the neighborhood that we opt out of some if not all of the GLA by amending our own Covenants, we feel it is important that our neighbors speak out against the GLA. .You can write to our Councilwoman, Kendra Black, at and to At Large City Council Members Debbie Ortega and Robin Kneich at and, respectively.
The SPEHA Board appreciates that most neighborhoods in the City, including minority neighborhoods like Montbello, may not have the option to amend restrictive covenants to protect themselves and therefore may eventually bear the brunt of this well intentioned foolishness. We encourage you to speak out against the GLA for the benefit of all our single family residential neighborhoods. We are all in this together.
Our next SPEHA Board Meeting is a ZOOM call on Wednesday, February 10 at 7 pm (two days after the City Council vote on the GLA). If any neighbor wants to attend this or any other Board meeting, please email me at or SPEHA Board Secretary Becky Stuart at and we will send you a ZOOM link to join us.
The Board appreciates your support of our efforts to maintain the quality of life in our neighborhood. I am afraid that we may soon be asking for even more support when we seek your consent to our final proposed amendments to the SPEHA Covenants to defend ourselves against the GLA. Along those lines, please make sure we have up to date email addresses for you and for your neighbors by registering on the new website, and encouraging others to do so too. That will make it much easier for everybody to get that big job done.
Lee Terry, SPEHA President
sleeterryjr @
Welcome to 2021, from the President
Posted on Jan 31st, 2021
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.
Please review the enclosed letter to Councilwoman Kendra Black (Click Here) expressing the Board’s opposition to the GLA as it is currently proposed. If you can, please get back to me or another Board member with your own views on the GLA. If we get strong feedback one way or the other, we will inform the City of the neighbors’ position on this important issue.
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 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 @
New Website!
Posted on Oct 13th, 2020
Homeowners can enjoy new features and helpful information on our new website. Please visit our pages and check back regularly for updates. Only homeowners may register on the website for member access and to receive email communications from the board.