Shay Castle Profile picture
Apr 21 76 tweets 9 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Claudia Hanson Thiem also speaking in support of the state land use bill: “It is diminished, but it is still alive, and it still matters.”

"The housing crisis requires all hands on deck, at all levels of government."
Linda Quigley is here to oppose it. "When do you represent me?" Boulder voted against occupancy reform, yet you're taking it up anyway, and backing the governor.
Evan Ravitz revealing to us that he's been to multiple Halloween parties with Governor Jared Polis, who apparently used to dress as a king...? Can anyone confirm, preferably with pictures?
Ravitz is against the land use bill. "Only Boulder is asking the state to pre-empt local land use laws, because the council majority cannot get what it wants democratically."
Kathleen Hancock, from Think Boulder, also against the state land use bill, SB213. This will "work well for wealthy developers, but not us."
I'll just leave this here....…
Think Boulder has a petition of folks opposing this legislation. You might remember them from this:…
Emily Reynolds, who was responsible for a complaint in the POP process, is surprisingly not here to talk about that, but to oppose SB213.
Last item (I hope): Council's position on state land use bill, SB213.…
Here are all the recommended amendments (so far):
- State assistance with required infrastructure analysis
- Retain ability to provide ADU size or parking incentives for affordability commitments
- Reduce minimum allowed units for “middle housing” from six to four
- Retain local control over form and bulk standards for “middle housing”
- Allow additional parking for “middle housing”6)Allow control of where along “key corridors” to zone for allowed density
- Clarify requirements for rail, BRT and local high-frequency transit
- Clarify definition of local high-frequency transit corridors
- Change occupancy limit to comport with current policy direction of city’s occupancy regulation amendments underway
Poop, two of those amendments are running together above. My b
These amendments basically gut the damn thing. Idk if any of the big proposals are in their original form: Not upzoning, not parking changes, not occupancy limits.
Not even density along transit corridors!
RE: upzoning. Original proposal was to allow up to sixplexes in all currently single-family only zoning is. About ~65% of Boulder's residential land is zoned thusly.
NOW, it's fourplexes, and on much less land. Either
- 30% of total land where single-family homes are allowed
- Single-family areas that are "key corridors"
So, cities would have to allow up to fourplexes by right, but only in certain places.

Kinda like how things are now!
Key corridor in Boulder would mean: within 1/4 mile of urban bus rapid transit or other frequent bus service, according to city lobbyist Carl Castillo.

So that *would* open a bit more land to attached housing.
*Minimum* zoning in such areas would be 25 dwelling units per acre
BUT that would only have to apply to 25% of eligible parcels along key corridors
Occupancy limits: Familial relationships could no longer be used to limit how many adults can live together, under the amendment.

Boulder could still tie it to bedroom size or other things, and of course health and safety rules still apply.
Boulder asked for even that to be changed, Castillo says, but it was not accepted.
I'm not covering this as complexly as I could be, but there's so much good state coverage of this bill. I'm just here to report what Boulder does (via city council).…
Castillo: If you have 10 parcels along key corridors, 2.5 of them have to average 25 dwellings per acre. You can spread that all out, or you can cluster them in centers or nodes.
Chris Meschuk: To determine how much of your housing has to allow up to fourplexes, you start with your key corridors, then use 1 of 2 options to calculate how much more land needs to allow more than single-family homes.
Confused? I don't blame you.

But essentially: We have to upzone 25% of parcels near key corridors, and *maybe* upzone some other land that now exclusively allow single-family homes.
Castillo: "Certainly council can come up with any suggestion you like." But this bill is moving fast in the legislature, which adjourns May 8.

So they can ask for what they want, but no guarantee they'll get it. And likely they won't, given widespread opposition.
Friend: Why did we choose to support this rather than having our support be contingent on getting what we want?
Brockett: It gave us a seat at the table, and maximum leverage. "Being listened to by being at the table has been more effective than making demands."
Friend: Isn't it true that no one else is supporting it? Is anyone else even at the table?

Castillo: There are. We are the only ones that as a city are on our way to support. But a lot of cities have reps at the table.
And I have been told we are the most productive, Castillo says. Other cities are there just to oppose.
Winer: Are you saying that as long as we hit 30%, we don' t have to have single-family neighborhoods have fourplexes?

Castillo: It was 100%. Now they say if you can take the greater of, all the area within your key corridor OR 30% of your total residential land within the city.
If your key corridor equaled 30% of your land within the city, it basically says put it all there. (It all = more housing)
Winer: Do we have 30% between the key corridor and the East Boulder subcommunity plan?

Meschuk: We, today, tried to take the plan language and see how it applies to Boulder. Disclaimer: This is very rough analysis.
Meschuk: "Based on the rough calculation that we did, for middle housing — would have to allow up to fourplexes — we think roughly half of the parcels in those key corridor areas currently has zoning that would allow middle housing."
The amount of land area within key corridors is the greater number, Meschuk says, so it looks like we can meet those requirements with JUST key corridors.
Of course, this would apply to one-quarter mile within key corridors, so if you're a quarter mile off, say, Broadway, but in a single-family neighborhood, there could be some upzoning.
Benjamin: Does that exclude some of our single-family neighborhoods from needing to put in duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes?

Yes, Meschuk says, confirming my above summary.
Speer: What would this bill do that's different from what we're already doing with development along key corridors?

Brad Mueller, planning director: The geographies would change. As we did the overlay, relative to key corridors, we might ID some other preferred areas.
"We have, as a department, preliminarily contemplated the direction we think council will go." That might prompt additional subcommunity planning, Mueller says.
I missed a good quote from Natalie Stiffler about inadequate density to support transit.

$10 says if the state requires density along bus routes, Boulderites would rather let the bus service (continue to) die than allow more housing.
Castillo: "I would not say 18 amendments to a bill of this size is unusual at all." More amendments are "totally expected," which I think "the sponsors are counting on."
Friend: I'm pretty disappointed we've moved to quadplexes for some spots, but not duplexes everywhere. Can we add that in, and not move backward?
"I'd rather see duplexes in 100% of the spots as opposed to quadplexes in 30%," Friend says.
Folkerts: "I believe 2 units for 100% would be more units than 4 units on 30% of the property."
Current suggestion to add that as an option, as a proposed amendment.
Idk if I'm gonna keep doing the messy play-by-play. I'll just swoop in at the end and tell you what Boulder's position is.

Not that it really matters; they've already indicated support.
In fact, why am I even still here? Questioning my life choices at this point.
That duplex amendment gets majority support, so Boulder's going to ask that to be added in as another option for cities to upzone.
Winer: I think it's a more difficult thing for the community to change single-family zoning to allow duplexes. I think they are more used to density on the corridors.
Wallach: "We have been very happy with our seat at the table. It's a very expensive chair that we have bought. The price is abandoning our home rule authority."
According to Wallach, we're making this sacrifice so we can "schmooze with the governor," — not to solve a STATEWIDE HOUSING CRISIS.
Wallach: "I love the governor, btw, but this is an overreach. It's not a coincidence that" all other cities say this is a step too far.
I'm not in favor of putting the state in control of what we do with our land, Wallach says. I'm not supporting this in any form.
Yates: These amendments made the bill "less bad." But I'm still not going to support it. "The most precious local authority is land use."
Friend: "I have not experienced any invitations to sit next to the governor. Idk where that is coming from."
Benjamin: "I agree. That's erroneous on all counts. We clearly have a housing crisis. Part of what's exacerbated that is a lack of holistic approach to housing. We can sit here and do what we want, but we're not making a dent. We're still falling behind."
Benjamin: "We are doing immense work, but we are doing so while we are ice skating uphill. The opposition we see is exactly the proof that you need a large, holistic approach. If you leave it up to everybody, it ain't gonna get done."
"It's the same with climate," Benjamin says. "This is how we rise to the moment."
Speer: We recognize that we're in a climate crisis, and we have a limited amount of time to lower emissions. The IPCC has indicated that more dense housing is a key tool. We need to give future generations a fighting chance.
Brockett: "There are some things we don't want complete local control on." Consider the (failed) state assault weapons ban. The housing crisis is a regional and state issue; climate change is a global one.
Folkerts: We're not abandoning home rule authority. We've always been selective in when we support home rule and when we don't. Conflating this with our height limit and blue line lowers the level of discourse; it is not true. The state is not doing anything with those.
Wallach going with the slippery slope argument, which Folkerts notes.
What a great time to debate these things, at 10:37 p.m.
Folkerts: It's always important to read the letter of what is being presented, and think about that as what you are weighing. I don't believe in weighing what future decisions might be made, bc that's not the decision at hand.
Winer: "I would say that our housing crisis is not just local; I don't believe we can just have local solutions that would work. We have to include the rest of the state."
Winer, however, will NOT support it UNLESS it doesn't require Boulder to stop using familial relations to enforce occupancy limits.
Anyway, council is gonna support this one, with amendments.

Forgot to say that Joseph is gone for this one, since she is a state legislator.
Good point from a reader: This debate comes *the same night* that council debated a way to help people earning more than $100K to buy houses that cost more than $600K.
Reminder from that thread: You need an income of $270K to buy a median-priced home here.
They're still talking, but I'm done. I'm gonna leave this article here one more time.…
And a reminder to my readers of different persuasions: You don't have to want more affordable housing. You don't have to care! No one says you have to.

YOU say you do. Boulder says it does. That's the mirror I'm holding up, to reflect that stated value back.
Anyway, council is still talking, so why not?
Have the day you deserve, everyone.
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More from @shayshinecastle

Apr 21
OK, on to the middle-income down payment assistance program.

Staff presentation:…
We've been talking about this for a few years now; voters OK'd it in 2019, but the pandemic paused the work a bit.…
And it was revived earlier this year: almost exactly 4 years since council last discussed it.…
Read 85 tweets
Apr 21
We're in open comment, as none of tonight's items have a public hearing.

Annett James from the local NAACP chapter is first. "We have a duly selected, unanimously confirmed slate" of police oversight panelists, she says. "Yet is in jeopardy of being dismantled."
"Because a member have exercised their right to criticize the government," James says. Removing Sweeney-Miran will exacerbate the erosion of community trust.

About a dozen in the audience holding up signs in support.
Joanne Corson: "All of us have bias. Prioritizing Douglas' bias over El Centro Amistad and the NAACP ... is in complete opposition to the intent of the Police Oversight Panel."

(Douglas = the special investigator that recommended Sweeney-Miran's removal)
Read 55 tweets
Apr 20
Here — in person — at the Boulder city council meeting. Tonight we're talking the recommendation that Lisa Sweeney-Miran be removed from the POP, and what Boulder's official position on the state land use bill will be.
Also, the city's long-in-process middle-income down payment assistance program.
I had to turf someone out of "my" seat (ahem, @ericmbudd) but luckily he was nice about it.
Read 4 tweets
Apr 14
Staff presentation on family homelessness:…
You can also read more about family homelessness as part of Homelessness 101.…
For homelessness purposes, family = school-aged kids

Family homelessness is up... way up. In the City of Boulder so far this school year, 289 kids have experienced homelessness, the highest number in over a decade.
Read 41 tweets
Apr 13
As this tweet suggested, we're talking homelessness at tonight's Boulder city council study session. No votes; just discussion.

It's broken into 3 parts:
- Strategy for single adults
- Family homelessness
- Encampment removal, which the city calls Safe and Managed Public Spaces
Get ready , bc this shit is BLEAK.
I'll start with something I didn't see in the packet: We are seeing an increase in "the most vulnerable" among the homeless, according to Heidi Grove with HSBC.

She told me that a few months ago after I noticed an increase in people with mobility devices.
Read 115 tweets
Mar 24
Now city council is talking about how to get more and smaller housing units? You may remember this from last year:…
Kind of a must-read if you want to understand what's happening here. You'll notice the second part of that headline says that "rules" are part of the reason Boulder gets so many big, luxury housing units. So the city is looking to change 'em — the rules, that is.
What's unclear — though hopefully they'll touch on it — is how the governor's plan to overhaul local zoning will impact the work, bc some of the things they're considering will be pointless if that passes.…
Read 73 tweets

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