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Bedrooms Are For People: Circus performers make good neighbors

By David Hazen. Also published as a letter to the editor in the Daily Camera on October 19, 2021.


"During my years in Boulder I lived in at least seven different households that would have been deemed illegal had we been reported by a neighbor. Being poor and in my 20s and 30s, this allowed me to live in what I believed to be one of the best cities in the country. The one time I thought I was living legally we were evicted. Answering the doorbell ring I encountered an enforcement officer; I confidently explained that we only had two unrelated families in the house, only to be told that we were living in a single family neighborhood.


Finding my career, I eventually bought my own house and settled as a single family. I lived next door to one of those group households that so many fear. The young people living there were circus performers, juggling fire and performing amazing gymnastic feats on their backyard trampoline. Although they sometimes had music playing and could be loud, it didn’t compare to the family across the street who regularly screamed angrily at each other and disturbed the peace of the neighborhood. The kids in that family accidentally burned the house down.


When the Boulder law passed to allow cooperative households, I emember the same kinds of comments in the newspaper as we are seeing about the Bedrooms are for People initiative claiming that ordinance would create unlivable neighborhoods. Just as those fear tactics didn’t materialize, the passage of Ballot Measure 300 won’t change Boulder in any fundamental ways. Other laws and zoning ordinances exist to take care of bad neighbors.


In recent years Boulder has lost so many wonderful young people to communities like Lafayette, Longmont and Lyons. I know my town of Lyons is happy to receive such a young, vibrant and talented population. Boulder may continue to lose those folks if this ballot measure is defeated."

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