The Housing and Diversity sub-committee of The Citizens Advisory Board began with a very clear and defined role as the infrastructure of The Stapleton Development Corporation was created. There are contractual obligations that the City put on Forest City to perform as the community was developed in regards to housing—affordable, rental and for-sale. This sub-committee, as well as others in CAB, are to report annually to SDC with an update of how Forest City is performing to these standards. Over the years, in some regards, Forest City’s grades on these requirements have varied by category, but for the most part the group has been critical of the progress or lack thereof.
Several years ago the group took on a broader mission. As the housing requirements were not being met and Stapleton was becoming a not very diverse community, we realized that there were other ways of looking at it besides housing. Diversity by our definition was very expansive: Age, familial status, sexual orientation, socioeconomic, race and ethnicity, were all in need of being addressed. Housing mix is a direct way of dealing with some of these elements. For instance, building more main floor master homes will potentially bring in a higher aged community, but there are other ways that might be more overarching.
The principles of the Stapleton Development Plan, (The Green Book) speaks to this desired diversity in several ways, and this group had incorporated these views into the committee discussions. With this mission we have looked at things such as working with surrounding communities, transportation and education. We have worked with various partners like Stapleton United Neighbors, The Stapleton Area Transportation Management Association, The Stapleton Foundation and The City of Denver to do a level of outreach and understanding of how to bring people of all types to Stapleton.
The combining of these missions and the outreach efforts and recommendations continue to be very important in trying to achieve these goals. We are far behind in the contractual obligations laid out in the affordable housing plan and we continue to work with Forest City on how to get that number up. We have had successes such as mixed-income homes and recent changes to the affordable for-sale program. The principles of diversity as laid out in the Green Book, which, as addressed in the article in the Front Porch and as shown in the most recent census, are also not being achieved to the level we would like. We have had successes in our group with school boundaries crossing Quebec, bus routes, and senior housing being built. These are examples of why our group continues to strive to do better and help Stapleton become the community that was envisioned and that the Housing and Diversity Committee is striving for.
Damon Knop, Chairman of the Housing and Diversity Board sub-committee of CAB