Shay Castle Profile picture
Sep 16, 2020 51 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Now the big one, so I'll start paying attention. Occupancy limits and enforcement of those. Should the city stop evicting ppl due to over-occupancy during the pandemic? That's what council is deliberating.
Reminder: Boulder limits how many unrelated persons can live together to 3 or 4 folks. (3 in lower density areas, which is most of the city, and 4 in higher density ones)
There are no limits on related persons living together. Here's how the city defines family: “[T]he heads of household plus the following persons who are related to the heads of the household: parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, brothers and sisters ...
... aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, first cousins, the children of first cousins, great-grandchildren, great- grandparents, great-great-grandchildren, great-great-grandparents, grandnieces, grandnephews, great-aunts and great-uncles. ....
...These relationships may be of the whole or half blood, by adoption, guardianship, including foster children, or through a marriage or a domestic partnership meeting the requirements of Chapter 12-4, "Domestic Partners," B.R.C. 1981.
Council debates skipping the presentation and going straight to votes... ? Which is never a good sign.
Oh wait, jk, they're doing it anyway.
Here's how the city defines domestic partnerships: "Any two unrelated adults in a committed relationship who meet the domestic partnership criteria to register with the city and to obtain a certificate attesting to their status...
... or to receive a certificate documenting their status but not be formally registered in the city's domestic partnership registry”
There are some rules around that, including that you can only be in a Domestic Partnership with one person at a time. Which is extremely monoga-normative (which is a phrase I just coined)
Not to make you clutch your pearls, Boulder, but not every relationship involves only two people.
There are other rules, too, like a mandatory Rebound Period (something else I coined) stating that you can't get a domestic partnership certified within so many days of a previous domestic partnership dissolving. (Don't remember if it was 30 or 90..? Can someone find my tweet?)
"We've tried to include every degree of relationship," Carr says of the city's family definitions.

My logical sister (faux adopted from my support group) isn't on that list, so that list ain't shit!
We aren't living together or anything. Just pointing out that family has a broader definition for some people than others.
Back to the issue at hand: Enforcement is ensured 2 ways
Staff reviews ads for rooms to make sure they are not over-occupied (Title 10)
Complaint-based; staff reviews and forces evictions if over-occupied (Title 9)
What we're talking about tonight is Title 9.

From the packet: ‘If staff finds a violation, the landlord can be required to reduce the occupancy by evicting one or more tenants.”
Title 9 violations by year
2017: 24 violations
2018: 12
2019: 24
2020 YTD: 15
Total: 53% of Title 9 complaints result in violation
Apparently no questions from council...? Also a bad sign.
Friend brought this forward after Gov. Polis asked cities to not enforce evictions due to over-occupancy.
That was in July.
Polis emailed council tonight, apparently. Friend reading it. "I fully support your initiative to temporarily suspend the city's occupancy limits until next May."
"This is not hypothetical," Friend says. And disadvantaged people will be hit harder.
"I think we should figure out the guardrails, but I don't think we should reject this as not necessary," she says. "I support us doing what the governor requested."
Brockett has a q: Life safety codes would still be in effect, right? Unsafe living conditions wouldn't be allowed.
Carr: That's correct.
Brockett: "If we enforce on over-occupancy, that's an eviction. ... That's exactly the kind of disruption we want to be avoiding right now. ... It's just for a few months."
Swetlik has a q, too! "Since this is essentially loosening rules and providing more opportunity for income" ... can we tie this to affordability?
I was under the impression we were looking ONLY at Title 9, not Title 10 (the process by which landlords get their rental licenses). So just the enforcement piece... ?
Anyway, Carr says potentially maybe we can tie this to affordability. So you can only be evicted for over-occupancy if you pay high rent...?
Yates asking about families with children. Carr confirming no families with children have been evicted due to over-occupancy.
At least in the last 3 years
Yates: Is occupancy increasing? Any evidence of that?
Carr: The folks we usually have doing enforcement are doing other things.
Yates: So we've already softened up on occupancy?
Yates says passing this would be akin to "encouraging more people" to pack into one place. Actually used the words packed in, in case you're wondering how he feels about things.
Yates: If ppl pack into houses now, they'll have to leave in May when this expires, right?

(In case you were still unclear about where he stands)
Carr confirmed, yes, that is the case
Aannnd we're already voting. Weaver reminding ppl it will need 5 votes, then asks Friend if she's "comfortable" moving forward... All signs point to a no.
Friend: This is a request from a governor who has been proactive and has us handling COVID better than a lot of states. What are your fears? she asks to council members who are opposed.
"There's always a risk of discriminatory enforcement when somebody does complain," Friend says. "There's a lot of concern for protecting ppl who have the least protections in a hard economic time right now."
Wallach: I had thought we had a discussion sometime in the past about discussing occupancy in a more measured way as part of our workplan for the coming year. Is that still on the table?
Weaver: It's separate from the motion. We have a study session Oct. 12
Reminder: The federal eviction moratorium doesn't cover this. It only covers inability to pay.
Wallach: I share Swetlik's concerns for affordability. We may turn this into an "income generator" for landlords.

Reminder: Landlords opposed changing occupancy limits.
Swetlik: Obviously there's a lot to talk about on the issue of occupancy. One of the things I'm weighing in this vote. We don't have any data. I hear a lot from both sides about impacts on rents.
Swetlik: "We are in a crisis and the governor has asked us to do something about it." Leaning toward supporting, esp since it has a deadline.
Reminder: He was on HAB when they recommended looking at occupancy. Council put the kibosh on that.
We're already making a motion.
Motion fails
Weaver, Wallach, Yates, Young opposed (Nagle absent but she's against it, too)
Friend, Swetlik, Brockett, Joseph in favor
So Boulder will keep evicting unrelated renters during the COVID pandemic, ignoring governor's request.
Less than 30 min they spent on that.

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More from @shayshinecastle

Oct 6
We've still got one more item: A nod of 5 (informal vote) on safe outdoor spaces
Council is confused (and so am I) about whether it's directing staff to actually DO one, or just to keep exploring the potential.
Friend clears things up: Let's propose a pilot for a 25-person sanctioned encampment, as bare bones as it can be done (but with 24/7 staff and services). To be paid for with $$ not going to the day center that is not happening this year.
Read 17 tweets
Oct 5
I'm at Boulder City Counicl because it's BUDGET NIGHT!!
Folkerts: More $$ for parks + rec, paid for by repurposing $$ for encampment removals

Friend + Winer: More $$ for potholes /road maintenance. They did not ID a funding source.
Winer also asked for more $$ for underpass lighting. Again, no suggestion where it's coming from.
Speer: More $$ for emergency assistance, shelters and encampment cleaning (not removal) + public bathrooms, paid for by repurposing $$ for encampment removals.

Also more $$ for community connectors, paid for by cutting council's travel budget
Read 99 tweets
Sep 29
I have so little energy for this homelessness update. I'll tweet what's new and in addition to this story:…
"Homelessness is on the rise, particularly unsheltered homelessness," Megan Newton says. Colorado has the 14th highest rate of homelessness in the U.S. 18 homeless people per 1,000 residents.
Read 64 tweets
Sep 29
Next: Boulder Police quarterly update…
We just did the Reimagining Policing Plan, so I'm not sure how much of this will be new. But I'll tweet what is.
Crime up in 2023: violent and property crimes
Less robberies, tho, Chief Herold says. And fewer car thefts.

"Society crimes" or quality of life, like drugs, are up.
Read 32 tweets
Sep 28
Hey, all. I'm watching the Boulder City Council study session tonight. We've got updates from the municipal court, Boulder Police Dept and a discussion of homeless services.
I'll tweet what I can; it's a lot of info. All these issues are big topics in the upcoming election, so prob a good meeting to pay attention to.
First up: Our quarterly update from the municipal court. It looks like we're covering staffing and structural changes to the court (ho-hum) and then diversion programs for CU students and unhoused individuals.…
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Sep 22
Benjamin: On Monday, county commissioners gave $700K to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless to expand services.

(City of Boulder gave $300K; City of Longmont gave $50K)
He's discussing a letter to county commissioners asking that, if the affordable housing tax on this year's ballot passes, the county set aside $$ for housing + services specifically for homelessness.
City council has to give an informal vote (called a Nod of Five) in order to send the letter on its behalf.
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