September 13, 2019
Council Gives Final Approval to Ballot Measures
On September 3 the Boulder City Council on Tuesday gave final approval to send several real estate-related measures to the November ballot. One question will ask permission to extend a sales tax to support open space and the other would allow the City to take out $10 million in debt to start a down payment assistance program for middle-income earners looking to buy a home in Boulder.
The open space tax is seeking voter approval for a 20-year extension of a 0.15 percent sales tax to go toward the City’s open space program, with the money collected in the first year reserved to purchase a conservation easement at the 25-acre Long’s Gardens property to prevent its owner from selling the land.
The $10 million in debt would allow the City to take out a line of credit to help middle-income earners fill in gaps between the types of commercial loans they could qualify for and the cost of a mid-tier property in Boulder’s expensive housing market. The loans would have to be paid back in 10 years or at the time of sale, whichever comes first.
Council Continues Moratorium in Opportunity Zone
After hours of discussion, debate and public the Boulder City Council decided not to end a moratorium on development within the City’s Opportunity Zone. The Council asked staff to continue working on two related ordinances. The Opportunity Zone program was created in conjunction with the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. It allows investors to get tax incentives if they develop projects in economically distressed neighborhoods.
The City Council implemented the moratorium in February because of concerns that investors in Boulder’s Opportunity Zone, a 2.5-mile tact from 29th to 55th and from Arapahoe Avenue to the Diagonal Highway, would increase gentrification. Affordable housing advocates warned that changes to the City’s land use regulations were needed to offset any new commercial development in the Opportunity Zone so that Boulder’s “jobs-housing imbalance” wasn’t increased. Mayor Suzanne Jones said the City wants to see more public benefit before allowing development in the Opportunity Zone.