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OK, moving on to a new thread for the overlay zone. Idk why; it's pretty standard and boring. Here's the story again:…
Chris Meschuck, planning director: City did comprehensive rezoning in 1997. Four density overlay zones, put in place earlier in the 90s, are still in place.
Essentially what they do, Meschuk says, is limit new construction to single-family homes only, even if the underlying zoning allows something different.
This is one of the things people are talking about when they talk about Boulder being downzoned through various mechanisms. These four overlay zones have been in place for 25 years, limiting construction of duplexes/triplexes all that time.
They're pretty small, though, so impact of removing them is limited.

Like this Hill one: At most, 6 new housing units could be built if the overlay zone is removed.
A little bit of history: Recent Planning Board member Crystal Gray spoke in favor of this overlay zone in 1995, per the historic documents that were included in the packet.
That's based on what's there today, Meschuk says. But it's really only 4 units, due to lot sized, etc.
Planning Board recommended 6-1 to remove the overlay zone. Member John Gerstle opposed, citing concerns of the Uni Hill Neighborhood Association. PLAN-BoCo board member Lisa Spalding spoke on their behalf.
First q from Wallach: Of the neighborhood concerns in 1995, is it your view those have all been met?
Meschuk: There was a lot of house-behind-a-house developments happening. The character of the neighborhood was fundamentally changing. A lot of the rezoning we did in 1997 addressed that.
Wallach: This property owner on the Hill wants to do a triplex but can't. Is it normal that we do zoning changes to suit one person?
No, Meschuk says.
There was a request to see if the overlay zone was still necessary. At the same time, there was a lot of conversation on council about getting more diversity of housing types. That's why we recommended removing the overlay zone.
Wallach: Will any units be permanently affordable?
Meschuk: It depends on if they are for-sale or rental, but they'll have to pay into the affordable housing fund.
Wallach: That's not really the same thing.
Lisa Spalding is here, asking that the Hill get specific design guidelines before the overlay zone is lifted. Developers are doing study housing bc that's what they can make $$ on. "It's completely disrupting the neighborhood."
If you lift the overlay zone with "nothing" in place to guide redevelopment, you will contribute to the degradation of the neighborhood, Spalding says.
Tim Hillman: I recently learned I lived in an overlay zone. Food for thought: I'm in an area that's not under consideration, but understanding housing shortages ... particularly where ppl can travel by walking or biking ... we're only talking about a couple of residences.
"We're talking very minimal impact in the grand scheme of things," Hillman says. "Assuming you wanted to make housing available to others ... this overlay zone is restricting our ability to provide housing to residents where they could be walking, biking."
This was the public hearing, btw.
Brockett is the one who proposed that staff look into this. Reminder: The duplex on this property that spurred this burned down. The property owner wanted to replace it but couldn't bc of the overlay zone.
"In a city with a crisis of lack of housing, it seemed unfortunate to me that we'd require this person to build one or two single-family homes" rather than a triplex, Brockett says.
"It's very unlikely these units will be affordable themselves, they will contribute to the affordable housing fund," which provides 3X the units than on-site.
Wallach: How big a house could he build if we don't life the overlay zone?
Meschuk isn't quite sure; he'll have to look that up.
Wallach: There's a difference between whether he's building three 1BR vs. three 3BR in terms of traffic and impact.
Swetlik: "We don't have a housing problem; we have an affordable housing problem. I like to keep that in mind whenever we're having density conversations. Density doesn't always equal affordability."
Swetlik: I would love if in their heart of hearts, the developer decides to make one of these units permanently affordable and prove that development can contribute to the community.
Friend: If we don't remove the overlay, there's no option for the developer to do a single-family home. "I'm confused by the notion that a triplex would have to be affordable and a single-family home does not."
We're not only in an affordable housing crisis, but a climate crisis. If we can get ppl in a walkable neighborhood rather than commuting from far away, that helps with our goals, Friend says.
Yates: It's helpful to have a critical mass to manage for affordable housing. It's v difficult to have like 1 unit, bc there are so many requirements. I learned that on the BHP board.
There's a "practical challenge" to managing a single affordable units, Yates says.
Brockett moves to eliminate the overlay zone. Yates seconds.
Wallach: "This strikes me more as a private benefit to an individual rather than a well-considered policy for creating more affordable housing. I'm quite sure I'll be in the very tiny minority, but I don't think this is meeting my objectives for creating more affordable housing."
"I'm sure I'll be out in the cold on this one, but that's fine," he says.
Brockett: Without this, we get no increased affordability either. But you do get smaller units at lower price points.

Wallach: Could he do an ADU?
Meschuk: He could do 2 detached single-family homes. Idk about an ADU.
Wallach: The ADU could be affordable
Weaver: Potentially.
Weaver: "Overlay zones are mediocre policy."
He will vote to lift it. "It has a relatively minor impact, but positive."
Friend: Are we going to be looking at the other overlay zones?
Meschuk: The direction from council was just to look at this one.
Meschuk: Others are in Grandview Terrace, mostly owned by CU. Other is by Ideal Market. We could look at those in the future if council gives us direction.
Young also doesn't like overlay zones as policy. My house might even be in an overlay zone.
It's included! Tim Hillman shouts out from the audience. They're neighbors.
I believe Young lives on one of those house-behind-a-house lots. It's purple.
Swetlik: This points at one of the fundamental flaws in our affordable housing program, that we're only getting $$ if we build.
I don't like that, but I'd rather get more $$ for affordable housing. "This is a choice between a bad choice and a worse choice."
Dude, so much handwringing over 4 potential new units!
Wallach and Nagle vote no.
Everybody else is yes, so it passes.
That's all for this one. For folks hoping for any radical housing policy changes, I'd say this shows pretty clearly that will still be an uphill battle.

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