In a nutshell: We must enhance housing affordability for low- and middle-income earners by increasing commercial linkage fees and taking a hard look at our zoning.
Housing affordability is one of Boulders’ most vexing challenges: How do we preserve the town we love while making it possible for lower-income earners to live here without undue hardship? I’m committed to helping ensure that Boulder is accessible to people of all income levels.
I support increasing commercial linkage fees to fund additional low-income affordable housing, and I will work to pilot a down-payment assistance program for middle-income earners. This program will bring increased housing access and grow the pool of permanently affordable ownership units in Boulder. I will advocate for the Alpine/Balsam project to include affordable housing in conjunction with essential neighborhood conversations.
I fully support our inclusionary housing requirements and also support putting commercial development on par with residential development in terms of what new development pays towards affordable housing. Development of commercial space should also pay a roughly 20% share towards affordable housing – taxing housing to pay for housing only makes sense if all development is taxed at the same level. I also support housing assistance for the bottom half of the middle-income bracket, especially through down-payment assistance that is loaned in exchange for permanent ownership affordability.
Current zoning in Boulder allows for 45,000 new employees, and only 6,000 new dwelling units. We must re-examine our current zoning and enable more residential development while we reduce commercial development. In addition, I think that gradual, sensible, and sensitive in-fill can make a neighborhood (like mine in Whittier) very walkable, and create a great diversity of housing types and costs.
Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and owner accessory units (OAUs) are two potential paths to gentle infill that can benefit homeowners and our community alike. For homeowners, they allow for income generation and allowing aging in place. For the community, additional housing supply allows for more choice and housing availability. After a sufficient process for public engagement and input, I could potentially support increased ADU/OAU density, removing the ban on these structures in new development, and making the transfer and licensing of these structures much easier.
Seventy-five percent of working people who live in Boulder are employed here. So when we add housing, it’s likely that more people who live here will also work here. This is great for our carbon footprint and our economy. And it builds strong, valuable social connections and a stronger community.