Colorado Christian University accused by neighbors of breaking city ordinance over newly purchased properties

Colorado Christian University's neighbors have accused the school of breaking the city's zoning ordinance by forcibly displacing them after it bought several properties near its campus.

(WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / Jeffrey Beall)The Lakewood, Colorado Civic Center. 8 February 2009.

Neighbors have complained that the duplexes standing on CCU's newly purchased properties along South Cody Court are zoned "R-2." Under Lakewood's ordinance, university or college use of such properties is not allowed, KDVR notes.

"I want them to follow the law and leave us alone," said neighbor Jerri Dulin, one of the tenants who are being asked to vacate the place. "They may own these places, we may have to pay them rent, but that's as far as that should go."

Lenore Herskovitz, who has been a resident of the area for almost 22 years, recalled how she had to move across the street after CCU bought the home she was living in from her landlord. Now that the university is buying more properties in the neighborhood, she said the area will become "an extension" of CCU.

CCU vice president Shannon Dreyfuss explained that they have already informed the residents of the involved properties that their leases will no longer be renewed and that they are given more than 90 days to move out. She explained that the last few years have seen a surge in CCU's enrolment, and there is not enough space for student housing even though they already built a new dorm building two years ago, the Lakewood Sentinel reports.

Neighborhood president Robert Baker said a similar battle with Lakewood and CCU broke out 14 years ago when the university started purchasing single-family homes in the area. He said the university planned to convert these properties into student housing.

While the residents won after a year of fighting Lakewood and CCU, Baker said the dilemma is cropping up once again. He accused the two entities of ignoring the city zoning ordinance.

Meanwhile, the city said it is seriously considering the concerns of CCU's neighbors. Lakewood spokeswoman Stacie Oulton released a statement saying they are aiming for a resolution that would suit the conflicting parties.

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