Community survey offers surprises
By Jan Burton. Originally published as a Guest Opinion in the Daily Camera.
"...I commissioned the survey as an individual Boulder citizen. No companies, political groups or community organizations knew about the survey or funded it. Other civic-minded residents contributed funding, but they had no knowledge of the survey questions or process.
The results of this survey are based upon 406 telephone interviews conducted among active voters in the city of Boulder. A random sample of 406 has a worst-case 95% confidence interval of plus or minus 4.9% about any one reported percentage. So, it is statistically accurate.
The survey results were surprising, and they show a progressive and practical electorate. I’ll share three top results in this column and cover more in the future.
First, support for housing was incredibly strong, with 90% saying that building affordable and middle-income housing was 'important, very important or extremely important.'
Even more striking, a substantial 75% of voters say they support the ballot proposal for increased occupancy, titled “Bedrooms Are For People.” Respondents support greater housing density along transit corridors, loosened restrictions on accessory dwelling units, and duplexes and triplexes in single-family home areas. Also, 81% of surveyed respondents agree that CU should be building more student housing to free up homes for families and workers in the city.
Paradoxically, there have been precious few housing initiatives completed by the city over the past four years, even after a middle-income housing strategy was developed and approved in 2017 when I was on the Boulder City Council. Due to political change in late 2017, instead of proactive housing policies, city staff was directed to work on more esoteric planning programs like the “community benefit” program, which was just put on hold by the Council on Tuesday evening.
Regarding the occupancy ballot measure, “Bedrooms Are For People,” it’s impossible to know if the motivated, data-centric group backing this initiative has done an excellent job of educating and influencing the electorate, or if we have always been in favor of higher occupancy limits. Nevertheless, with 75% support this ballot measure has a great chance of passing in November. Perhaps it’s time for councilmembers to support this initiative and its value: immediate new housing citywide, no cost to citizens, and no new buildings."