Affordable Housing

Income diversity, and its preservation is critical to also preserving social, racial, ethnic and political diversity. Political diversity is critical to a well-functioning democracy. Boulder must broaden and strengthen its affordable housing approach to, at a minimum, retain the economic spectrum of the population that currently lives here and ideally, broaden that spectrum.

To housing policy makers, “affordability” means a very specific thing. It means permanent affordability.

It also means such housing is part of a program, either government of nonprofit operated, that targets predominantly low to moderate income households and sometimes middle income households for housing assistance and income qualifies program participants.

Many common marketing euphemisms that are employed, such as “workforce housing”, “natural affordability”, “organic affordability”, “natural density”, or the term “density” itself, are misleading. Loosely using the term “affordability” without explaining that it means permanent and targeted toward specific lower income populations is also misleading.

“Affordability”, that is, “permanent affordability”, is achieved through the intentionality of creating it. It does not come about automatically, nor is “market rate” affordable long term. By definition, “market rate” means the price is set by the market so it is inherently not permanently affordable even if it might initially be affordable to some range of households normally targeted for housing assistance. If not permanently affordable, eventually the market, especially in a luxury gentrifying market like Boulder’s, will push “market rate” housing it out of the reach of low and moderate income families.

We see four essential criteria that must be satisfied in order to achieve greater levels of affordability:

1) Any affordable housing program the city adopts must at a minimum maintain the absolute number and percentage of housing units that are affordable to households with incomes ranging from low- to middle-income, and match the economic distribution of the population, so that we can preserve our socio-economic diversity;

2) Most New Housing Must Be Permanently Affordable. Boulder’s Inclusionary Housing Program (IH) relies on the development of a large number of unaffordable housing units (nominally 80%) to generate a small number of affordable housing units (nominally 20%). Meanwhile, market-rate housing prices, including market-rate affordable housing prices, are increasing at a greater rate than incomes, making market-rate housing less and less affordable over time. This is exactly the opposite outcome of what is needed – the majority of new housing must be affordable and that affordability must be permanent.

3) The costs for maintaining or improving upon that income distribution must be appropriately assessed to the drivers of housing unaffordability, i.e., commercial development and the demand for people and thus housing that it creates; and,

4) Existing market-rate affordable housing must be protected against gentrification.

City Council is Working to UpZone Boulder

By |June 11th, 2019|Comments Off on City Council is Working to UpZone Boulder

On June 4th, City Council discussed redevelopment options for the former Boulder Community Hospital at Broadway and Balsam and the surrounding area including, Ideal Plaza and Community Plaza shopping centers.  All the options proposed considerably [...]

By |April 2nd, 2019|Comments Off on

April 2, 2019 Dear City Council, The Peoples League for Action Now (PLAN-Boulder County) supports the goals established as the basis for the Opportunity Zone moratorium and as restated on page one of the staff [...]

ADU/OAU presentation from recent public forum

By |May 2nd, 2018|Comments Off on ADU/OAU presentation from recent public forum

Mike Marsh made a presentation about his views on new proposed ADU regulations and how they could work practically.  To view the powerpoint, click on the link and open in power point.  Mike lays out [...]

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Owner Accessory Units (OAUs

By |April 20th, 2018|Comments Off on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Owner Accessory Units (OAUs

PLAN (Peoples League for Action Now) - Boulder County applauds and strongly supports City Council’s effort to broaden opportunities for the creation of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Owner Accessory Units (OAUs) for the purpose [...]

PLAN (People’s League for Action Now)-Boulder County Affordable Housing Strategy

By |December 15th, 2017|Comments Off on PLAN (People’s League for Action Now)-Boulder County Affordable Housing Strategy

    December 15, 2017 PART I   INTRODUCTION The Problem: Boulder is the most expensive city in the region. With average single-family home prices near one million dollars, and many apartments renting for thousands of [...]

Position on Comp Plan Update

By |April 10th, 2017|Comments Off on Position on Comp Plan Update

To Planning Board Members: Plan-Boulder County recommends that you include a recommendation to City Council that the new BVCP include the following affordable housing policies: Increase affordable housing as a percentage of overall housing: The [...]

PLAN-Boulder County Position on Affordable Housing Commercial Linkage Fees, Transportation Linkage Fees and Transportation Excise Taxes – February 2017

By |March 14th, 2017|Comments Off on PLAN-Boulder County Position on Affordable Housing Commercial Linkage Fees, Transportation Linkage Fees and Transportation Excise Taxes – February 2017

Jobs Housing Linkage Fees The jobs housing linkage fees, as currently proposed at $12/square foot (for an office building), less than 10% of the amount established as justifiable ($129.49/square foot) by the economic analysis, will leave the major burden [...]

50/50 Annexation Proposal – New Annexation Only for Affordable Housing

By |March 6th, 2017|Comments Off on 50/50 Annexation Proposal – New Annexation Only for Affordable Housing

  PLAN Boulder County proposes that 100 percent of new housing units created on land annexed into the city be permanently affordable with 50 percent of those units permanently affordable low-income housing, and 50 percent [...]

The Belonging Revolution

By |January 31st, 2017|Comments Off on The Belonging Revolution

Walking the neigborhoods. Former Longmont Mayor Dan Benavidez and Police Chief Butler develop community by walking the neighborhoods. Walk 1-19-2017 It has been quite a few Sundays due to weather and holidays that Chief Mike [...]

Position on Co-op Ordinance

By |January 4th, 2017|Comments Off on Position on Co-op Ordinance

PLAN-Boulder County has been following the development of the Co-op Ordinance since its inception and has provided input to the Planning Board and to Council on different versions of the ordinance. This letter summarizes PLAN-Boulder [...]

Does Growth Pay Its Own Way? What Boulder Is and Isn’t Doing.

By |November 12th, 2016|Comments Off on Does Growth Pay Its Own Way? What Boulder Is and Isn’t Doing.

Watch our Forum held on November 11, 2016. Chris Meschuk, the City staff person who is coordinating the update of the City’s impact fees, and Steve Pomerance, former City council member and citizen expert on [...]

PLAN-Boulder Position on Proposed Ordinance to Allow Cooperative Housing in Single Family Neighborhoods

By |October 1st, 2016|Comments Off on PLAN-Boulder Position on Proposed Ordinance to Allow Cooperative Housing in Single Family Neighborhoods

This coming Tuesday, City Council will have a “2nd reading” of a proposed new ordinance to allow “co-ops” in single-family residential neighborhoods. It would allow up to 15 “co-ops” per year in single-family residential neighborhoods. [...]

Calvin Welch Speaks at PLAN-Boulder Annual Dinner

By |September 27th, 2016|Comments Off on Calvin Welch Speaks at PLAN-Boulder Annual Dinner

Calvin Welch delivered a stirring saga of San Francisco's recent growth of market rate housing, while producing inadequate affordable units and leading to middle income exodus.  His talk was the main theme at PLAN-Boulder's Annual [...]

Middle Income Housing Strategy to Planning Board

By |August 25th, 2016|Comments Off on Middle Income Housing Strategy to Planning Board

The attached report for a middle income housing strategy is going to the Planning Board in September 2016.  The executive summary provides that: "As home prices continue to increase, it is clear that the current [...]

Citizen Advisory Board to Address Affordable Housing

By |April 17th, 2012|Comments Off on Citizen Advisory Board to Address Affordable Housing

PLAN-Boulder supports the creation of a permanent citizen advisory board to address affordable housing. The purpose of the Affordable Housing Advisory Board would be to study, review and advise City Council on issues affecting affordable [...]

EDUCATIONAL EXCISE TAX

By |May 3rd, 2011|Comments Off on EDUCATIONAL EXCISE TAX

The following statement was made to City Council at their May 3, 2011 meeting by Ruth Blackmore on behalf of PLAN-Boulder: PLAN-Boulder supports the staff recommendation to enter into an agreement with the Boulder Valley [...]