In a nutshell: Responsible planning is vital to maintaining quality of life and preparing for the future.
Our town is beautiful and beloved because of the foresight of past leaders, who insisted on environmental considerations and a careful development process. I support a continued focus on maintaining our exceptionally high quality of life via continued responsible planning.
We must critically question whether our land use and zoning designations are serving to steer us toward the Boulder in which we want to live. Today, Boulder is a regional employment center, and our current zoning allows for 45,000 new jobs, but only 6,000 new dwelling units. This will result in increasing congestion, emissions, frustration, and housing prices. I’m committed to taking a look at the underlying structural issues that affect commercial and residential development, and making adjustments that help solve our problems without exacerbating our challenges.
Boulder clearly needs to re-examine its current zoning to enable more residential development and less commercial development. In addition, 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.
I would consider annexation only if a truly excellent project provides a lot of measurable community benefit to the existing Boulder community and clearly meets the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan guidelines. And I believe that any policy changes that enable increases in neighborhood density must be created in close partnership with the residents of the neighborhoods they impact.
In order to support affordable housing goals, 20% of all new residential construction must be affordable. I fully support the inclusionary housing requirements as they currently exist, but 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. Otherwise, there is greater profit in building office space than housing; this makes no sense considering our housing affordability challenges. 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.