Boulder City Council Prioritizes Occupancy Limits Discussion for 2021
Current State of Occupancy Limits
The Boulder City Council study session from October 13 began with a brief presentation from Charles Ferro, Development Review Manager for the Planning & Development Services (PD&S) department. Ferro intended for the discussion to focus on the possibility to “temporarily exceed the city’s occupancy limits” in order to provide housing options for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He highlighted Boulder’s current occupancy limits, as well as his team’s plan of action for 2021.
The council meeting mostly focused on city staff’s work plan and how they plan to integrate occupancy limits into that schedule. The existing work plan sought to focus on Community Benefits (Phase II) and Use Tables (Phase II) for the first quarter of 2021, then Oil and Gas Regulations and Parking Code Changes for quarter two. The majority of the council agreed to delay Oil and Gas Regulations and Parking Code Changes in order to prioritize issues of occupancy limits on the work plan so that those can be addressed as soon as possible.
Process Discussion To Move Forward
In terms of how they plan to tackle the issues, council members Aaron Brockett and Sam Weaver suggested a “holistic approach” to addressing occupancy limits. Brockett recommended solutions such as “working with folks up on the Hill to see what their specific issues are,” and Weaver also suggested starting to engage with the four neighborhoods (University Hill, Goss Grove, Martin Acres and Aurora) closest to CU to address specific needs of those residents.
Having the conversation about occupancy limits sooner than later was also suggested by several members of the council. Junie Joseph noted that prioritizing the issue is important because “community groups [like Bedrooms] that have been working on the ballot initiative will be coming back next year.” Adam Swetik also mentioned that “if we don’t do our jobs and come up with something the community can get behind, then the community will do it for us.”
Prioritizing occupancy limits on the council’s work plan will hopefully make room for meaningful engagement with all Boulder residents and not just a few neighborhood organizations, creating a “holistic endeavor” as it is referred to by council member Rachel Friend.