Boulder County: Affordable Housing Advocates Publish Draft Plan

The Boulder County Regional Housing Partnership is recommending a regional goal of 15,000 to 22,000 diverse housing units affordable to low and middle-income households by 2035. This range represents 10 to 15 percent of the anticipated housing inventory at that time. Cities and towns have already secured nearly 6,000 units, so 9,000 to 16,000 homes would need to be acquired and/or built.

The Partnership is seeking feedback from the Boulder County Consortium of Cities regarding its recently published draft Priorities and Strategies for Ensuring a Diverse Housing Inventory. The Partnership wants input “to refine its goal such that it is bold but attainable, and can be matched with new financial sources necessary to achieve it.”

The document includes both incentives and mandates in a list of proposals to “Align Regulatory Processes with Housing Goals.” The suggestions include: 1) Require annexations to include affordable housing; 2) Adopt staff level approvals, fee reductions and waivers and design flexibility for new developments with affordable housing; and 3) Adopt inclusionary housing in each jurisdiction, among other ideas.

In an unusual editorial the Longmont Times-Call reacted to the draft plan, which it argued, will create “subsidized housing, very likely paid for by increased property taxes on everybody else, as well as higher sales taxes, which affect all residents. If the money doesn’t come from taxpayers, it will come from developers, who will pass the costs on to other home buyers. As available space within each community is filled by permanent “affordable” housing, the costs of the “non-affordable” homes will continue to skyrocket.” The editorial suggested “a mix of market forces, private charity, and creativity among community leaders — and, yes, maybe taxes that do little if any harm to homeowners — is required to address housing needs.”

The Partnership includes staff from the following organizations: Boulder County Housing & Human services, Boulder County Community Services, Boulder Housing Partners, Boulder Chamber of Commerce, Longmont Housing Authority, Boulder Division of Housing and (City of) Longmont Community Services.

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