Where does housing rank amongst your priorities for the three-year term you are
seeking? What housing policies or programs will you advocate to include in Council’s 2024-2025 work plan?
Taishya Adams: One of my campaign pillars is Habitat for ALL. Housing is habitat for humans and continues to be exclusionary, discriminatory, and unaffordable in our city. I also advocate for increased habitat for non-humans (e.g. animals, plants, and other living organisms) as well since we are deeply interconnected. Habitat for humans and other species must go hand in hand.
Silas Atkins: Housing is my number one priority as it is the foundation on which all other matters are built. It is crucial that we have housing to feel safe and secure and better engage in the Boulder community.
I have a list of many solutions that must be tackled concurrently and with regional cooperation available on my website at silasforboulder.co
Terri Brncic: Housing ranks within my top three priorities. There are two primary policies that I would like to push for in the upcoming work plan.
We talk a lot about wanting to provide housing for our in-commuting service workers – the teachers, nurses and firefighters that can’t afford to live in Boulder. However, the high-end townhomes and studio apartments that we are building are not meeting the needs of this population. Around ten years ago the city conducted a housing survey to better understand the needs of its in-commuting workforce. I would like to refresh this analysis so that we can create a development roadmap that will ensure we are delivering the right types of housing at the right price points. We also need to set very clear metrics for success. If reduction in in-commuters is the goal, then we should be measuring and holding ourselves accountable to this target and not just building for buildings sake.
My other priority is to improve rental affordability through incentive zoning. I think the majority council missed a big opportunity to drive affordability through the recent change in occupancy limits. Rather than allowing all of the financial benefits of increased occupancy to accrue to property owners, rent reductions should have been a condition for receiving occupancy variances. I will push to amend this ordinance to require rent reductions in exchange for increased occupancy, similar to the way we currently handle ADU variances.
Aaron Brockett: Housing ranks right at the top of my council priorities, as we have a deep housing crisis in Boulder and the region. I have been a strong advocate for better housing policy and more housing production in my eight years on council, including my last two years as mayor. We should keep moving forward with gentle in-fill proposals. The comprehensive plan update in 2025 will be a great opportunity to consider duplexes and tri-plexes in currently single-family neighborhoods. We just passed an important suite of policy changes this week as part of our zoning for affordable housing initiative. Some exciting additional ideas came forward at the last minute, among them allowing more flexibility in the RM and RMX zones. I look forward to taking those up next year.
Waylon Lewis: Housing (and transportation) are integral to all three of my main priorities: homelessness/public safety solutions, climate crisis, and affordability. I bike toured with Jeremy and other staff at Boulder Housing Partners a month or two ago and at the end asked what could be done to accelerate affordability in Boulder. They answered that we could double the speed of what we’re creating, if there was support for it.
I’ve been to 3 housewarming parties over the last 10 years. Most of my friends move away, due to housing costs. Boulder is also bleeding creativity and entrepreneurs, who can’t afford to make a start here. We need to focus not only on increased affordable housing, but the missing middle income housing that is vital to families, teachers, police, other employees who otherwise have to drive in each day or move away and work where they live.
I’m a fan of building affordable housing and missing middle, finding ways to do more of both, and quickly, and thoughtful, in an eco manner appropriate to our wonderful town—not waiting. This will require listening, coalition-building, and focus, not just talk. As a rare independent-minded candidate, I will work to ease the infighting and bring both “sides” together to address affordability, with urgency—and joy.
This town that we love so dearly needs it, or wither on the vine, a victim of our own
Tina Marquis: Housing ranks in my top three priorities. I appreciate the investments the city has made to increase affordable housing using the substantial funds generated by Inclusionary Housing, and plan to support that program. My particular focus is on housing types that appeal to our ‘essential’ in-commuters, that we as a city rely on every day to teach and care for our children, provide medical care, ensure public safety and maintain our infrastructure, among others. I would like to explore the impact of vacant homes both on our housing stock and tax revenues.
Aaron Neyer: Housing is an integral area that we have to get focused on. It is for me deeply interwoven with climate solutions, transportation innovation, and restoring diversity; all of which are prime focuses for my campaign. I will advocate for prioritizing updating zoning laws to allow for more effective and more creative densification (let’s experiment with tiny house villages that prioritize access to services and community spaces and allow for car-free communal living). Further I will advocate for reforming our permitting processes to ensure we are able to effectively and efficiently support our community being able to build more housing.
Jenny Robins: Housing is in my top 5 most important priorities. I support our inclusionary housing policies and commercial linkage fees. I would like to continue to leverage the cash in lieu to secure additional funding from the state and federal level.
I believe in growth, but I also believe in maintaining the existing major charter and zoning ordinances such as the blue line, green belt, and the height restriction. We need thoughtful growth. We have to do this in a way that brings people together. I support strategic zoning reform to allow for slightly higher densities and gentle infill in certain areas. We need more affordable housing for middle income earners, families, seniors, and students. Any zoning reform should be partnered with an affordable housing component.
We have to work with the existing neighborhoods to accomplish this. We should protect the existing residents and maintain single family neighborhoods where people are most passionate about character and development. Reform cannot be successful without the active engagement of our community. It is crucial to involve residents, local organizations, and stakeholders in decision-making processes.
Ryan Schuchard: My overall focus is making Boulder more affordable, more inclusive, and safer. To that end, my #1 strategy, which is tied (and mutually supportive) with climate action, is to modernize Boulder’s combined approach for housing and transportation to create an integrated strategy making our community more walkable, bikeable, and transit-rich, while providing sufficient accessible and attainable housing of the kind people want near where they need to go.
For housing specifically, I will advocate to:
Reform zoning to make it easier to encourage infill development and build more middle housing options.
Reduce and eliminate parking mandates which increase the cost of construction and reduce the amount of housing that can be built.
Get the most out of strategic development of large areas like the airport, Area III planning reserve, and CU South.
Reduce administrative burdens by simplifying planning and permitting through lowering requirements involved in the entitlements process, ensuring requirements for development are clear, reasonable, and well-enforced, and pursuing opportunities to remove bottlenecks identified by staff.
Concurrently, I aim to advance reforms and improvements towards building a safer and more responsive multi-modal transportation system allowing people to live their fullest lives without a car or “car-lite,” something I have been working towards as a member of the City’s Transportation Advisory Board. I also seek to help establish a more rigorous high-level strategy for climate action that unlocks the city’s mostly-dormant climate action plan.
Nicole Speer: Housing will continue to be a priority for me in the next Council term. I enthusiastically supported our 2022-2023 Council workplan priorities related to housing. We have made significant progress with this Council: eliminating the density limits for accessory dwelling units, incentivizing developers to build smaller units (e.g., eliminating the need for site review on smaller projects, changing open space requirements to allow for more density, and changing inclusionary housing fees to be based on square footage rather than number of units), raising the number of unrelated people who can live together in a home, and allowing duplexes and triplexes in some areas zoned for single-family homes.
We are moving in the right direction for 2024-2025. I have been advocating for charging a fee to homeowners who are expanding the size of single-family homes, and using those funds to build more affordable housing. This month, we asked staff to move forward on that process. I have supported and will continue to support exploring housing as a potential future use of the airport site. We asked staff to begin to identify barriers in city code that are making permitting and review take an extraordinarily long amount of time (and adding to the cost of projects, which increase the cost of units), and they are moving forward on this work. I will also continue to support the completion of the Baseline Urban Services study at the Area III planning reserve so we can move forward with development in that area.
Paul Tweedlie: We need to help families thrive in Boulder. Boulder is a very desirable place to live and we don’t want to follow the path of Colorado towns like Telluride and Vail where property prices are going through the roof and out-of-town billionaires are now forcing out millionaires. Affordable housing is key to help families live and work in Boulder.
Tara Winer: Housing ranks in my top two priorities: Housing and homelessness. These two topics are connected in many ways. We need transitional housing – tiny homes, pallet homes, and other creative housing options- so people have somewhere to live other than in encampments. It will also help our 50% recidivism rate. With the help of the county, we should provide sober living housing and short term options for those getting out of jail or prison.
We need more deed restricted permanently affordable lower income and middle income options. Many in our workforce do not qualify for Permanently Affordable (Lower income) Housing. I intend to elevate the need for deed restricted permanently affordable middle income housing if re-elected.
We need more housing in the “under $1M category”. Because of the condo defect law, and other obstacles, we have not had much success in this category.
Prioritizing the Area III Planning Reserve is our best bet to provide homeownership options in this price category, where people can own their own home and build equity, as the city owns much of this land which will reduce housing prices.
In the Sept 21, 2023 council meeting, we accomplished Phase 1 of amending the Land Use Code to “remove regulatory barriers to affordable or modest-sized housing through changes to the site review process, intensity, form and bulk, use, and parking concerning affordable and modest-sized housing.” We already lined up what Phase II will look like for next year, and I look forward to working on this.
Bob Yates: Housing is tied with public safety as my top two issues for the next council. We have made great strides in housing over the past few years, and I am proud to have been part of these things:
I have supported every housing project to come to council on site review during my eight years on council.
I helped create the Middle Income Down Payment Assistance Program, which was approved by the voters and launched this year.
I helped craft the ADU Type 2 rent limitation, which resulted in 40% of all new rental ADUs formed since 2018 being affordable to someone making 75% of the Area Median Income.
I supported council’s incentives and land use changes to allow more housing to be created in East Boulder and at Transit Village 2.
I supported the allowance of duplexes and triplexes where they were previously prohibited.
Looking forward, I want to build on all of these initiatives in the coming council. But, most importantly, I would like the 2024-25 revisions to the Comprehensive Plan to shift the Area III Planning Reserve to Area II, so that parcels can be annexed and housing can be built there.