Developer Impact Fees

Don’t let developers put the burden of development on our backs!

Update (11/16/16)City Council bows down to Chamber of Commerce, OKs meager $12 affordable housing fee on developers

Take Action on Affordable Housing Linkage Fees

Background: A City of Boulder consultant just published a report showing the actual costs to the City of Boulder that result from commercial growth. In order to not “go into the red,” or pass these costs along to resident taxpayers, cities try to recoup some of these cost impacts from commercial developers by assessing one-time fees assessed on the square footage of the new commercial office buildings being built.

The City’s consultant found that in order to fully offset the costs to the City for just affordable housing alone, the City would need to charge developers $130 per square foot of new commercial office buildings, and $158 per square foot for retail developments. New office buildings bring new workers to Boulder, many of whom want to live here but cannot afford to do so.  Many of them apply for the City’s affordable housing program, which becomes a public cost. Therefore, the City assesses affordable housing impact fees, also known as linkage fees, on commercial building projects that bring new workers to Boulder. Someone has to pay the costs. The question is, should commercial developers pay the social impact costs associated with their developments, or should existing residents pay, through increased property and sales taxes?

On November 15th, City Council will consider three different levels of partial fee reimbursement for the actual $152/sf affordable housing costs to the City, resulting from new commercial buildings:

Option 1: keep the meager $10/sf linkage they currently charge developers (1/15 of the actual affordable housing costs from new development).

Option 2: approximately $15/sf (1/10 of the actual costs).

Option 3: $30/sf (1/5 of the actual costs to the City).

Obviously, we are advocating for $30/sf.  But our current Council is  beholden to business, and needs a lot of nudging to overcome its timidity in asking growth to pay its way.  They feel more comfortable having existing residents pay.

Let us know if you plan to attend the 11/15 City Council Meeting:  Sign Up Here

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Recent News and Blog Posts:
  • Has the business community co-opted Boulder’s non-profits? – Boulder Weekly New commercial development in Boulder helps finance Affordable Housing (AH) through a charge called a linkage fee for each square foot of development. At a recent meeting, Councilman Weaver attempted to convince fellow council members to adopt a linkage fee of $15 a square foot to support our AH goals. Instead, Council voted to charge ...
  • Lynn Segal: Shame on council for linkage fee vote On Feb. 7, six of nine folks on City Council voted to increase development impact fees from $9 to $12 a square foot. As Councilman Sam Weaver reminded the others, some 900 housing units were proposed for 18,000 jobs in 2025. The city’s own taxpayer-paid-for consultant study resulted in a recommendation of $130-$158 a square ...
  • Karen Sandburg: Affordable housing takes another hit As commercial development explodes in Boulder, the most vulnerable among us continue to be shortchanged. Though new commercial development brings jobs, it increases the demand for already scarce housing, skyrocketing housing prices and rents. Consequently, longtime lower- and middle-income residents are being forced out of Boulder at an unprecedented rate. Attempting to address the affordable ...
  • John DuGene: The fix was in on linkage fees – Boulder Daily Camera As I watched the City Council debate and then decide on the developer linkage fees on Nov. 15, I despaired at the outcome. It had already been decided days, perhaps weeks, before. Yes, the $12 per square foot figure, below the staff recommendation of $15 per square foot, was going to be the outcome despite ...
  • Linkage Fee capitulation is a travesty Dear Boulder City Council, (cc Betsey Martens, Boulder Chamber, BNA) I think your capitulation to Boulder Chamber and BHP on this woefully inadequate linkage fee is a travesty for our community, and many in my neighborhood agree. First, it significantly undermines the authenticity of your motivations regarding affordable housing and confirms many in our communities suspicions that ...
  • City Council bows down to Chamber of Commerce, OKs meager $12 affordable housing fee on developers Full Story: After much debate Boulder OKs $12 affordable housing Linkage Fee “We have a real urgency for affordable housing, and we can’t just keep putting it off,” Councilwoman Lisa Morzel said. “Development should not be expected to create all of the funds that will generate affordable housing revenue, but they need to pay for some of ...
  • Discussion of Linkage Fees Tuesday Hi All, I wanted to let everyone know about the Boulder Valley Real Estate Conference on Tuesday, November 15th where Leslie Durgin and Lou Del A Cava will be discussing the affordable housing linkage fees.  You can get information at http://events.bizwest.com/events/boulder-valley-real-estate-conference/ There is a fee for the conference and I think sign-up ends tonight.  I think you ...
  • Selling out Boulder’s taxpayers   John Tayer, president and CEO of the Boulder Chamber and Betsey Martens, executive director of Boulder Housing Partners, joined forces to write this guest opinion in the Daily Camera: John Tayer and Betsey Martens: Coming together for community – Boulder Daily Camera. In it, they basically sell out the residents and taxpayers of Boulder in favor of ...
  • Does Growth Pay Its Own Way? What Boulder Is and Isn’t Doing. | PBC From PLAN-Boulder County: Chris Meschuk, the City staff person who is coordinating the update of the City’s impact fees, and Steve Pomerance, former City council member and citizen expert on the costs of growth, discussed the City’s process to update its impact fees related to general fund services like libraries, parks and rec, police and fire, ...
  • Take Action on Affordable Housing Linkage Fees NEW:  City Council to hear public input on Linkage Fees, November 15th: When: Tues., Nov. 15 What: City Council meeting to hear Public Input on establishing commercial impact fee rates. Location: City Council chambers on the 2nd floor of the Municipal Building, 1777 Broadway (Southwest corner of Broadway and Canyon). Time: Signup in person, between 6 and 7 PM, ...