Daily Camera (1/4/17):
After a year of deliberation, including thousands of citizen comments and four marathon public hearings, Boulder at long last finalized and approved a co-operative housing ordinance early Wednesday, bringing to a close one of the most contentious and drawn-out community debates in the city’s recent history.
Some advocates could be seen celebrating … after the meeting adjourned, while the Boulder Neighborhood Alliance — a group that gained prominence in recent months through its opposition to the ordinance — was already tweeting about a referendum.
But the final ordinance was so one-sided, Councilwomen Lisa Morzel and Mary Young felt, that it hardly reflected a year of process meant to mine some middle ground from a debate short on that from the onset.
“We didn’t get there,” Young lamented. “I think it’s my absolute responsibility to be democratic. I tried and it didn’t happen, and I can’t vote for it for that reason.”
Added Morzel: “I think what is before us now is way too extreme, especially in the low-density neighborhoods. We do have two very polarized sides in this community.
“We’ve had people talk about recalls. We’ve had people talk about referendums. And I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that happens.”
Those who opposed the ordinance have maintained that co-ops, which are by definition high-density and tend to attract young adults, will fundamentally upend neighborhood order in areas that many homeowners say they chose specifically because they wanted to live among other quiet, single-family households.
Opponents asked the council to consider a pilot program with many fewer co-ops to start, but that request was never seriously entertained during any public deliberations.