Preserving Neighborhood Character

Wheat Ridge Mayor Bud Starker
Wheat Ridge Mayor Bud Starker

Development, increased home values, even the influx of new coffee shops are a sign of a desirable, vibrant community. But as we grow, we risk losing our small-town charm. As Mayor, I remain committed to leading Wheat Ridge into its next chapter while preserving our beloved neighborhood character. To strike this delicate balance the City of Wheat Ridge has implemented several strategies I’d love to share with you. 

To start, we work hard to foster a strong sense of community through our public events like the Carnation Festival and our holiday celebration. The City of Wheat Ridge is working toward making the Green on 38th a vibrant town square that embodies a sense of unity. This space serves as a central hub for families and friends to gather, sharing stories and laughter, while creating memories that will last a lifetime. 

Greenspace would mean very little without a shady tree canopy, a basic requirement in sunny Colorado. Wheat Ridge has been part of the Tree City USA network for over 40 years. Cities can achieve annual Tree City USA recognition by meeting four overarching standards including maintaining a tree board or department and annual plantings on Arbor Day.

Local authorities and nature-loving residents collaborate in planting new trees and maintaining the existing ones. Children learn the art of nurturing saplings from a young age, creating a generational bond with the environment. These efforts ensure that the neighborhood retains its enchanting, arboreal charm and that the character of the community remains intertwined with the natural world.

Instilling pride in our community extends beyond tree planting and green space. Maintaining the charm of our community includes thoughtful trash management. Currently, residents must decide and arrange for themselves how to dispose of trash, recycling, and compostable materials. As part of our efforts to keep Wheat Ridge a desirable community we are looking for resident feedback on options to offer city-wide trash collection, recycling, and composting.  A clean neighborhood is a happy neighborhood. 

Lastly, the City of Wheat Ridge is working to preserve neighborhood character by limiting short-term rentals. Frequent turnover of short-term renters could have threatened the tightly knit bonds among neighbors and diluted the character of the community. Recognizing this threat, Wheat Ridge put licensing regulations in place for short-term rentals (STR) in 2021. A property owner or tenant listing a room or a home for stays 29 days and less must have an STR license and remit 10% lodgers’ tax to the city. This new ordinance seeks to balance the interests of homeowners with the preservation of the community’s unique identity.

The tale of this community serves as an inspiring example of how a strong sense of community, tree preservation, effective trash collection, and the regulation of short-term rentals can come together to preserve the character of a neighborhood. Through unity, nature’s embrace, and a shared commitment to cleanliness, they have not just preserved their community character, but also enriched it. 

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