BHN Position on Diagonal Plaza Redevelopment Concept

Diagonal Plaza is an excellent place for housing, adding people of modest means to a developing 15-minute neighborhood. The proposal before Planning Board and Council would provide up to 259 homes, 64 of which would be permanently affordable. The rest would be affordable to households earning $120,000 or less per year.

Why is this site a 15-minute neighborhood? Because everything that one needs in a typical work week is available within a 15 minute walk or 5-7 minute bike ride. Grocery stores and bodegas, medical and dental offices, and parks and ball fields: all are within ¼ to ½ mile. Multi-modal paths go in 3 directions from the site. And if you need to leave the area, there are convenient and frequent transportation options.

Long range aspirations for Boulder are expressed in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP). Section 2 the 2015 BVCP describes the housing crisis in Boulder:

  • Housing costs continue to rise rapidly, disproportionately impacting low and moderate income households.
  • We are losing affordable homes far more quickly than replacements are created..
  • Young people burdened with student debt are unable to get a foothold in the Boulder housing market
  • We have lost middle income households in the community, and are continuing to lose them. 
  • There are fewer housing units that reflect our diversity, with the overwhelming majority of new housing being created for the very wealthy. 
  • The university of Colorado anticipates continued growth in the student body. 
  • There is growing difficulty providing affordable housing attractive to families with children in a land constrained community. 
  • Regulations unduly restrict modest price housing that can accommodate a variety of household types as well as multi-generational household.

To address these issues, the Boulder Housing Network supports dense, urban housing in the Diagonal Plaza redevelopment.  If the City alters the zoning, this site can be totally re-imagined with hundreds of new affordable and workforce homes in a pedestrian-friendly development next to daily services such as a grocery store and linked by bus and bike routes to downtown Boulder, the Diagonal, and other parts of the city. The concept plan calls for a small community with pathways and outdoor spaces including courtyards and roof gardens, bringing places for people to live and connection to nature to what is now parking lots and vacant or underused buildings.

The City Council needs to hear your stories about housing and why having more of it in Boulder is important to you, so that their decisions address your needs and the future you envision for your community. You can write an email that goes to all nine Council Members by writing to All seven members of the Boulder Planning Board can be reached at

To see the developer’s proposal as presented to Boulder City Council, July 13, 2021, follow this link.

-Macon Cowles

Managing Editor, BHN

June 28, 2021; rev’d July 9, 2021

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