By Ryan Bonick. Also published as a Letter to the Editor in the Daily Camera on September 23.
"Housing costs in Boulder are extremely high, blocking many would-be residents from participating in all our city has to offer. In order to provide more housing, and live by the values Boulder embraces, the city’s occupancy limits must be amended by voting yes on Ballot Question 300, Bedrooms Are For People.
Occupancy limits, like Boulder’s cap of three unrelated people in most of the city, have a questionable past. Many were written specifically to exclude large cohabiting families (commonly immigrants, people of color, and/or working class). The Fair Housing Act Amendment of 1988 exempted biological families from occupancy limits, but the legacy of the laws live on, banning nontraditional families, like LGBTQ+ chosen families, from legally inhabiting a home together.
Boulder’s Racial Equity Plan calls out the extraordinarily high costs of housing in Boulder as a contributor to the inequality and racial disparities in Boulder: 'Combined with the historic federal policies and the lack of opportunity to build generational wealth, high housing costs continue to impact who can afford to live in Boulder.' The easiest way to alleviate the exorbitant housing prices in Boulder, creating more opportunities for all, would be to remove artificial constraints of occupancy limits independent of the housing size.
While Bedrooms Are For People doesn’t go as far as the federal housing guideline recommended limit of two people per bedroom, it is a huge step in the right direction. And our current federal administration, led by Joe Biden, has said the same, 'calling on… local governments to take action to address zoning policies that have historically locked families out of communities and continue to limit housing supply.' I’m looking forward to voting in favor of Bedrooms Are For People, and hope readers who believe in values like diversity and equality for all will join me."