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Amid Housing Challenges, Boulder Looks For Input On Comprehensive Plan

Jim Hill
View of Boulder from the Enchanted Mesa trail

Boulder has a housing affordability problem. Ideas on how to fix that problem, though, vary widely across the community. At recent meetings touching on occupancy limits, linkage fees and other topics, city council members have heard from vastly disparate perspectives.

In part, this is why the city and county are conducting a survey of residents. The survey, conducted by RRC Associates, is a way to take the temperature of the community in a statistically valid way. Survey answers will guide planners in updates to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, which guides growth in the city and part of Boulder County. The plan is updated every five years.

Lesli Ellis, comprehensive planning manager for the city of Boulder, said survey questions will be on policy topics related to planning, growth and livability. She points out that while Boulder has plenty of room to grow its employment opportunities, options for creating more housing is much more limited.

“So we are trying to get a sense for people about whether we should maintain our current trajectory or be starting to look for some changes in our current land use plan.”

That mismatch between jobs and housing availability is already apparent in the area’s median home price. At $750,000, it’s more than double the statewide average. Fort Collins, a college town with similar appeal, has a median home price of $315,000.

Currently about 60,000 people commute to Boulder for work, and most of those workers cannot afford to live in the city.

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