Here are Tina Marquis’ answers to Boulder Housing Network’s four questions:
1. 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?
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.
2. Where and by what means during your three year term should Boulder create more middle-
income housing? By middle-income housing, we mean housing that is attainable to households earning $80,000 to $150,000 a year.
I am looking to increase ‘missing middle’ housing types and will be interested in continuing infill in the city and exploring light zoning changes that allow compatible duplexes and triplexes in residential areas close to transit and that can be made affordable. I am particularly interested in creating incentives for affordable ownership opportunities (not just new rentals) to ensure Boulder can offer a continuum of housing options at every income level while enabling lower and middle income residents to be homeowners. Boulder is already over 50% rental and while that fills an important need in the community, I hope to balance that with ownership opportunities, in particular for people of color who have historically been excluded from wealth generation through homeownership. In addition to the existing down payment assistance program, I am interested in a rent-to-own program like that proposed by Mayor Johnston in Denver if successful, and opportunities for deed-restricted housing in the planning reserve as part of the comp plan review.
3. What would you like to tell our subscribers that you will do during your three year term to create housing that is at least somewhat affordable for middle-income residents?
I will continue to explore development of city-owned land to provide affordable, deed-restricted options, support infill and look at light upzoning in residential areas close to transit. I am also open to exploring rent stabilization. While rent control has had mixed results, I believe it is worth testing new approaches to provide affordable housing options and reduce housing insecurity in our community.
4. What are the biggest obstacles to creating the type of housing that you have just discussed, and what role can City Council play in removing them?
One obstacle that can be addressed is the cost of land. There are a few opportunities to use city-owned land for deed-restricted housing, in particular the planning reserve. I will support evaluating opportunities in the reserve during the comp plan review process. The cost of construction is also a barrier. I will support ongoing efforts to accelerate and simplify permitting, but recognize that some requirements, including those that relate to flood and fire mitigation and climate resilience, should not be altered. I also am supportive of looking at how modular homes, including those at the new factory, can be incorporated into our housing stock and create lower price points for buyers.