SPEHA President's Message March 14, 2021
Posted on Mar 14th, 2021
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 @ https://www.speha.org/
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
SPEHA Board members:
Fred Jorgensen, Casey Funk, Jack Green, Robert Finkelmeier, Becky Stuart, Cece Cohan, Scott Cunningham, Troy Hendelman, Stephen Rohs, and Ethan Lew.