Typical of evil-doers, developers have resorted to name-calling and have latched on to the phrase NIMBY (not in my back yard) to label residents of neighborhoods as racist and elitist because they don't want their open spaces, historic homes and community gardens to disappear under development. This is just plain wrong, and is a manipulative form of brainwashing and gaslighting. (Gaslight Definition: To manipulate someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.) Nothing like playing the race card to shame people into thinking that people who want to protect our environment and neighborhoods are naysayers.
We're not NIMBYs, we are YIMBYs for GOOD.
YIMBYs for GOOD are a diverse group of people living in Denver who have had enough with the endless development. We come from all walks of life, low-income, high-income, and of all ethnicities. Just because there are some beautiful larger homes in our neighborhood doesn't mean that we're all rich. Quite the opposite, many of us have lived here for decades, and some more recent residents have worked hard to be able to afford Denver's rising home prices – the huge amount of development in Denver has not helped bring the cost of living down at all.
Developers tell us that if they build tons of housing and skyrises that rent will be more affordable, but over the past several years of non-stop development, rents have only continued to skyrocket, as well as home prices and property taxes. All of the tens-of-thousands of new housing units that have been added to Denver have not lowered the cost of rent or housing at all, and instead, are burdening our infrastructure, making life harder for everyone who lives here, including the new residents moving into all the units. They are also often poorly or quickly built, resulting in construction defects that haunt the residents for years to come.
Additionally, the promise of low-income and affordable housing is deceptive, as they typically only build one or two ”affordable” units into a huge highrise, and they are temporary rentals – not long-term ownership opportunities. Typically affordable housing ends after 15 years in most cases. This means that the current low-income residents are pushed out by a rise in rent once the agreed upon time has ended. It does little good to require affordable homes or apartments to be built without providing real regulation to ensure that the units remain affordable forever. In fact, it causes more homelessness and despair because people end up having to leave once the rent rises.
While they tell us that they are building lots of affordable housing, developers are not. Why would they? Developers net the same cash-flow from building a few luxury apartments as they would from many affordable units, so it's not in their best interest to do more work for the same amount of money. Nor do they care about affordability, they want to sell to the highest bidder. They ONLY build in affordable housing to get tax credits, and they also use it to negotiate with the city to be able to build higher, or have less parking. The huge amount of building going on in Denver is NOT about helping the less fortunate, it's about the developers and the city helping themselves to more money. The city of course is all for building more housing as that means more property taxes.
“We could literally house the entire population of people experiencing homelessness in Denver alone with the vacant rate and market luxury apartments. It's like a gut-punch every time I say it out loud,” says Cathy Alderman, director of policy and communications for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. That's a whopping five empty housing units for every homeless person in Denver.
According to Natrience Bryant, a deputy director at the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, the greatest need for housing is with the lowest income brackets, even though the highest end is primarily what's being built in the private market. Denver would need over 26,000 additional units with monthly payments below $487 to have enough affordable housing for those whose incomes are below 30 percent of the area median income of $65,000.
But that's not what they are building.
As YIMBYs for GOOD, we want to end this non-stop construction zone that Denver has become. You can't go more than a few blocks without seeing construction sites where historic, affordable small homes have been demolished to build numerous over-priced units in their place.
You can't go outside without hearing the constant back-up-beeping of construction excavators and bulldozers, jackhammer noises, or smelling the exhaust of the thousands of construction trucks barreling down our roads. Dumpsters are on nearly every block, filled with the debris of historic, well-built small homes. The metro area of Denver is in the top 10 nationwide for two things – having the worst air pollution, and for having built the most apartments in the past decade. A total of 61,700 units have been built by endless construction in Denver since 2010. Additionally, more than 52,000 units are currently in the works or planned in metro area. Most all of the developers are not building these to help low-income people, even though that's their common argument on why they "need" to build skyrises in our neighborhoods. Yes, you heard right – Denver is in the top 10 cities for the worst pollution in the nation. And it's only getting worse as we stack more and more people in. Developers always tout that the people that move into these new units won't have cars (at least, that is what they cite as they ask the city for permission to build less parking). That's not because people won't have cars, they will, it's just that developers make more money if they can put more square footage into living space and units rather than parking. And, they don't care if they leave the block with parking issues–it's not their problem. It's also not the developers' problem if they build a 3-5 story building to the south of a small historic home, completely blocking and robbing the home and landscape of their sunlight. They couldn't care less. What happened to respecting your neighbors? Your fellow man? Money has everyone filled with only one thing–greed.
Here's a great article from San Diego and others about this same topic: voiceofsandiego.org/topics/opinion/stop-calling-us-nimbys/ bastardurbanism.wordpress.com/2017/08/30/stop-saying-nimby/ theconversation.com/calling-people-nimbys-wont-stop-development-arguments washingtonpost.com/...stop-hating-on-nimbys-theyre-saving-communities/ Let's fight the good fight and protect our city from greed! We are NIMBYs for GOOD. We know things change, so let's help change them for the better!