Boulder considers changing developer requirement for affordable, middle-income housing

If you go

What: Boulder City Council meeting and study session (back-to-back)

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Boulder Municipal Building, 1777 Broadway

More info: The evening is slated to begin with a roughly 90-minute council meeting that will cover, among other things, appointments to various citizen boards and commissions. That meeting is to be followed by a study session on the city’s inclusionary housing program and the ongoing Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan update.

Staff in the city’s Division of Housing are recommending a series of updates to the Boulder inclusionary housing program aimed at creating more units for middle-income earners and changing the requirements of developers who contribute to the local affordable housing stock.

During a study session Tuesday night, the City Council will offer direction on the proposals, which will inform the drafting on an ordinance that the council is scheduled to vote on in May.

On the table are five different possible policy changes.

The first calls for residential developers to dedicate some percentage — likely between 2 and 10 percent — of all units in a given project as affordable to people classifying as “middle-income”; that’s about $56,000 to $104,000 annually for a one-person household, scaling up to about $79,500 to $149,000 for a household of four.

The city hired a consultant to review its options for this aspect of the inclusionary housing program’s update, and the consultant recommended setting the mark at 5 percent, Boulder housing staff concurred.

Council members recently adopted a goal of preserving or creating 3,500 middle-income units by 2030. Over the next 20 years, the consultant wrote, the 5 percent policy could contribute 400 such units.

Such a requirement would cost developers a projected extra $9 to $12 per square foot for most projects.

Boulder’s desire to force the creation of more middle-income units is the result of a reported 6 percent drop, since 1989, in the middle’s share of…

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