Housing. Housing. Housing.
That’s the core campaign pillar for Adam Estroff, who’s running in next year’s election for the District 7 City Council seat, which encompasses southwest Denver.
Estroff decided to run when Jolon Clark, the current incumbent, announced in April that he would not seek re-election.
“I hadn’t thought about it until Jolon Clark said he was not running,” Estroff said. “I’ve lived in the district for about 10 years. I’m from Colorado, and all I see is the housing crisis really impacting our community negatively. There are more policies and more things our leaders can do to fight the housing crisis. I know that the housing crisis sits at the nexus of our environmental policies, our cost of living, crime and homelessness and improving racial justice in our community. So I’m running because we need leaders who have a vision and a strategy and can push policies to bring down housing costs in Denver and make this an abundant community.”
Estroff said people are getting priced out of neighborhoods, noting that the house his mother bought for $50,000 back in the day in Boulder is currently worth $1.3 million. He added that the same goes for his house in Baker. The house was purchased in 2019 for under $400,000, and now it’s valued above $500,000.
“We may have been the last people to buy a home under $400,000 in Baker,” Estroff said. “We make good money, and we wouldn’t be able to buy this house today.”
Estroff is the former president of YIMBY (short for Yes In My Back Yard) Denver, a housing and transportation nonprofit that focuses on creating walkable neighborhoods to meet the city’s transportation and housing goals.
Estroff said one key point in fixing the housing crisis is eliminating exclusionary zoning, which he said prohibits the creation of starter homes and slows the process of creating new homes. He added that in Denver, new housing projects are either “giant mansions” or a “giant apartment building” with no in-betweens.
“(Exclusionary zoning) makes it so our communities cannot change,” Estroff said. “People want more diverse and interesting and inclusive communities with a lot of different building types.”
Estroff said his other concerns are transportation and helping small businesses.
Estroff said the city needs better protected bike infrastructure and needs to take over some of the transit responsibilities from RTD. Estroff said the city could also do a better job helping small businesses stay afloat. Estroff currently works in tech, and he said he’d like to streamline city processes on applying for assistance, whether for small-business loans or low-income services.
But Estroff noted that transportation and keeping small businesses afloat all ties into the city’s housing issues. He said small businesses provide great quality of life and add flavor to a neighborhood’s fabric, while transportation makes these neighborhoods accessible.
“The main issue and, again, where I think the nexus of all our problems are is housing and how we’re going to deal with housing in our neighborhoods and in our city moving forward,” Estroff said. “We think of our neighborhoods as these scarce places that are limited and under threat and it doesn’t have to be that way. We can view our neighborhoods as places that can be strong and handle change and welcome your neighbors.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the finalized candidate list that will appear on the 2023 municipal election ballot.