Boulder: One More Affordable Housing Fee

The Boulder City Council unanimously approved an ordinance implementing linkage fees (approximately $2 to $9 PSF depending on type of use) for new commercial development to pay for affordable housing. The fees will be phased in and will not apply to projects that have already been submitted.

Mayor Matt Appelbaum said, “I don’t think there is any way to calculate the cost of growth. That’s one of the great fictions of our times. But there are ways to capture some portion of it within certain spheres, the things that have some capital component you can measure.”

City Council member Suzanne Jones had little sympathy for the development community, saying, “If we make it so no one feels any pain, we’re not going to get any money,” she said. “And we have a pretty acute affordable housing issue.”

Because the ordinance was revised during the hearing, it will require a third reading. Assuming the linkage fee becomes a healthy revenue source, expect other jurisdictions to follow suit.

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