Boulder: Co-op Housing Still Controversial

On December 6, the City Council continued its hearing on a proposed ordinance to allow cooperative housing but made no final decisions. It was clear citizen criticism weighed heavily on the Council’s minds although no additional public comment was taken at the meeting. In late November, nearly 80 people attended a public meeting on the topic and many comments were negative, citing concerns about property values, neighborhood life and not allowing co-ops in certain areas.

While the Council passed the ordinance, which will face a third hearing in early 2017, it was clear there is no consensus regarding some basic principles. For example, co-op occupancy limits will require more discussion. Some Council members liked the idea of 12 to 15 people and some wanted to reduce that number dramatically. As proposed the ordinance will require 250 square feet per co-op resident in low-density zones and 200 square feet per person elsewhere. While co-ops are seen as an affordable housing solution to some residents, others perceive them as a threat. It will be interesting to see what happens at third reading on Jan. 3.

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