Bedrooms: It’s about fairness
By Maria Colvin. Also published as a letter to the editor in the Daily Camera on October 24, 2021.
"Boulder residents will be able to vote on an important ballot initiative this fall – 'Bedrooms Are For People' (BAFP). This would relax Boulder’s current exclusionary limit of no more than three unrelated people allowed to share their home, no matter how many bedrooms it has.
The current rules are unfair and counterproductive. In a place like Boulder, with its high housing prices, the way that people who aren’t rich (or haven’t owned a house for decades) get by is by having roommates. Boulder’s zoning makes this normal, everyday act a violation of the law.
Repealing occupancy restrictions is something that should resonate with liberals, given the clear discrimination against the young, the poor, immigrants and refugees who often survive by doubling up families. And it should resonate with conservatives – what could be more intrusive government overreach than telling you who you are allowed to live with?
In my 20s I lived in a co-op house which enabled me to work on my dissertation without going into debt. I now teach at CU. Our (overoccupied) house was a center of community engagement. We coordinated the neighborhood ecopass and were a distribution point for a local farm where 20 people picked up fresh produce once a week. One roommate was a precinct captain, another checked regularly with a disabled woman across the street.
My current neighborhood has changed dramatically in the 22 years I’ve lived here. Bungalows with kids running between houses are increasingly being scraped for giant houses barricaded behind fences and security cameras.
While the Bedrooms for People is not a panacea – I believe it will bring greater diversity and community to our city, lessen traffic by reducing in-commuting, and provide much needed housing for families that are currently priced out by Boulder’s ever-rising housing costs."