Boulder City Council to limit open comment at meetings, pick speakers by lottery – Boulder Daily Camera

The previously endless open comment period at the onset of Boulder City Council meetings soon will be limited to 20 speakers who will be selected at random.

Council members formalized the plan during a study session Tuesday night that followed a much longer discussion at the group’s January retreat regarding various strategies for cutting down the length of meetings that regularly run up to or beyond midnight.

Citizens will not be limited in their ability to address the council during public hearings, and will now see expanded ability to give input on call-ups — development proposals that the council seeks to intervene on — deemed potentially controversial.

However, the open comment period at the beginning of each council meeting, during which members of the public can address their elected representatives on any items other than those already being addressed by public hearing, will be significantly curtailed.

Some council members also were uncomfortable with a trend that has seen especially heated public hearings preceded by parties in the Municipal Building below the meeting chambers. Ahead of recent hearings on co-op housing, for instance, dozens gathered for pizza — a sort of occupation that the council felt might make uncomfortable those with views differing from those packing the building lobby before proceedings begin. “That gauntlet downstairs recently has become challenging for some people,” Mayor Pro Tem Andrew Shoemaker said.

Source: Boulder City Council to limit open comment at meetings, pick speakers by lottery – Boulder Daily Camera

Carol Seeley-Teboe: A series of nightmares

Boulder’s City Council has approved the beginnings of ghetto living, I mean communal living, wherein the possible criminal elements living under the auspices of “love,” “peace,” “flower children,” “happy-happy for everyone” threat is very real, scenic neighborhoods that have made Boulder”s reputation so popular with tourists globally being not just in jeopardy of, but virtually destroyed by clusters of 15 arrogant adults (?) crammed into one-bathroom homes. There used to be set limits on the number of unrelated residents here.

Full Story: Carol Seeley-Teboe: A series of nightmares – Boulder Daily Camera

Greg Wilkerson: Co-op ordinance is bad legislation

Dave Krieger’s Jan. 8 editorial inaccurately rendered the Boulder Neighborhood Alliance’s concern about City Council’s recently passed co-op ordinance as belief that neighborhoods have a right to stasis. That’s never been BNA’s position or belief. Nor did we hear this from hundreds of Boulder residents opposed to the co-op ordinance.

BNA’s issue with council’s new co-op ordinance is that it’s bad legislation, and a lack of real public process.

Change is one thing. We agree with Krieger that change is inevitable. But change is best done at a reasonable pace people can handle. Unfortunately, for the unsuspecting low-density neighborhood resident who wakes up one day to a co-op next door, with quadruple the previous number of allowed occupants, the co-op ordinance’s change won’t be measured, reasonable, or fair.

Many homeowners purchased in low-density. single-family neighborhoods because they’d lived next to high density before, and didn’t like it. High density shouldn’t be force-fed onto residents who don’t want it. What about freedom of choice for everyone, including people who don’t want to live next to 12-15 unrelated people? Evidently, only co-opers have the right to choice. The co-op ordinance creates a Russian Roulette situation whereby thousands of single-family-neighborhood homeowners can rely only on luck, to not end up next to 12-15 unrelated people (in neighborhoods where houses, on-street parking availability, plumbing, sewer lines, etc. were all designed for far fewer).

It’s wildly specious to say co-ops of 12 to 15 unrelated people are somehow unfairly treated by previous zoning rules, because zoning allows families of 12-15 to live in such houses. Reality: average family size in Boulder is 2.79 people. Co-op proponents and council would have you believe that 12-to-15-person families commonly exist throughout Boulder, and therefore, co-opers are discriminated against. Basing policy on falsehoods is irresponsible.

Further, council and co-opers used only macro analysis to describe co-op impact: “Ten to 14 co-ops a year, out of all the single-family homes, is a small number.” But that was never the point. BNA repeatedly pointed out that it won’t be small for the homeowner waking up to find their next door dwelling’s density has quadrupled or quintupled. Council’s lack of concern for this ordinance’s highly localized impacts was a major failure. We can only assume council is willingly throwing under the bus the unwilling individual homeowners surprised by co-ops next door.

Among the many problems with this ordinance is that it’s extraordinarily unlikely that any council members will get a co-op next door to them. A primary goal of co-ops is cheap rent. Thus, our prediction is that Boulder’s most expensive neighborhoods (such as most council members’) will remain that way. While, despite this bill being sold to the public as a city-wide ordinance, there are no provisions whatsoever to prevent Boulder’s lower-middle income neighborhoods from getting most, if not all, the co-ops in the future. The paltry 500-foot radius does nothing to prevent this. These cheaper neighborhoods are already diverse and already experience heavy impact due to their proximity to CU, student rentals, etc. And 12-to-15-person co-ops, with deeper pockets (collectively), will price out lower-middle-income families vying for the same houses.

Finally, while nearly 100 percent of co-op supporters were intimately familiar with the ordinance’s details, perhaps 2 percent of typical low-density, single-family residents were. Council frequently quoted public surveys showing affordability as a core concern. We agree. That’s why we’ve suggested other solutions that would accomplish real affordability, rather than this co-op ordinance, whose few dozen beneficiaries won’t represent a statistically measurable gain in affordability. And having no rent caps on co-ops is inexplicable.

Boulder’s surveys never asked, “Would you like the density in the house next door to you quadrupled, or quintupled, despite your living (intentionally) in a low-density neighborhood with occupancy limits of no more than three unrelated?” Shame on council for never asking that question, yet charging ahead with this ordinance that pits one group of residents’ gains at the expense of others. Yes, there’s divisiveness in Boulder. And it’s created by City Council, through winner/loser policy like this. There’s a better way to govern, that doesn’t pit residents against residents.

Greg Wilkerson is on the BNA steering committee.

Source: Greg Wilkerson: Co-op ordinance is bad legislation – Boulder Daily Camera

Boulder sets out to prove it can enforce co-op and occupancy laws – Boulder Daily Camera

With Boulder having passed a new law last week allowing people to form housing co-operatives, the City Council wants to prove now it can actually enforce the policy it spent a year crafting…

The city has no working estimate of how many co-ops are here beyond the three that have existed amid Boulder’s original co-op regulations,… For that matter, Boulder has no working estimate of how many housing units of any kind are over-occupied.

Source: Boulder sets out to prove it can enforce co-op and occupancy laws – Boulder Daily Camera

From the Editorial Advisory Board: 2017 (Part 1) – Boulder Daily Camera

If I awoke in Bizarro Boulder, where suddenly common sense reigned and I ruled supreme, here are the first steps I’d take to inject some badly needed sanity into the city’s operations: …

Declare the recently passed co-op ordinance dead on arrival and reverse the decision. This is a slow-motion Folsom Fiasco redux in the making, and ever-politically astute Lisa Morzel’s fears of recall efforts are well-founded…

Step up enforcement of vagrancy violations and wind down the funding of existing “homeless” programs that only serve to invite more problems than they solve.

Declare a total moratorium on “cash-in-lieu” buyouts by developers of their subsidized (“affordable”) housing requirements.

I would, however, keep Boulder’s new sanctuary city policy, which means I can’t be asked where I’m from (in my case, the unincorporated county). Finally! Now I can run for the City Council.

Don Wrege, donsopinion@gmail.com

Source: From the Editorial Advisory Board: 2017 (Part 1) – Boulder Daily Camera

Co-op Ordinance Passed and Finalized

City Council voted on January 3, 2017 to approve the proposed Cooperative Housing Ordinance, with no compromises on any points that were of concert to the members of BNA.

The final version of the Ordinance has been submitted by City Attorney Tom Carr: Ordinance 8119 4th Reading (2017-01-06)

Here’s video of the entire Co-op Hearing on January 3rd. Warning: contains strong language and infantile behavior:

If you want to avoid wasting time on the disturbing, but irrelevant, public comment, this next video skips over all that directly to the Council’s deliberation and vote (which actually took place on January 4th, since it started at exactly midnight):

Dan Hunter: Council should consider neighborhood impacts of co-ops 

Regarding co-ops, I do think it’s a good concept and meets the needs/desires of a certain population. However, it has to be well thought out, taking into account appropriate neighborhoods and numbers living in a household. The new ordinance will have a significant impact on a large number of taxpayers.

Source: Dan Hunter: Council should consider neighborhood impacts of co-ops – Boulder Daily Camera