The “elephant in the room” in the current debate about affordable housing, co-ops, and neighborhood preservation in Boulder is the University of Colorado, which has not done its fair share of shouldering the burden of housing its roughly 30,000 students and its numerous faculty and staff.
…the city of Boulder should strictly enforce the occupancy requirements now on the books for rental properties. This … might eventually persuade CU to provide more housing for its several constituencies, if it sincerely wants to continue to attract outstanding undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, to an increasingly expensive place to live. This action by the city would incentivize CU to do the right thing.
I have repeatedly experienced a lack of interest on the part of city staff to investigate over-occupancy complaints. The sole city staff member assigned to this task spends a significant portion of his time thwarting requests, rather than being helpful. … When is the City Council going to direct city staff to enforce the allowed legal occupancy of rental units?
Prospective tenants at Sterling University Peaks apartments were told they would be occupying private bedrooms. But the fine print of the lease stated that they agreed to share a bedroom. How is it that these landlords are permitted to retain their rental license for one day more after behavior that is duplicitous at best towards the tenants, and fraudulent with respect to the city?
This selective and understaffed approach to law enforcement is one of the key elements in the growing neighborhood opposition to the city’s plans to expand the use of co-ops into low-density neighborhoods. In addition to the destructive impact on residential neighborhoods resulting from 10-12 unrelated individuals with cars living next door, the city has also made it amply clear that there will be no serious regulation of these living arrangements. If there is no enforcement now, when co-ops are few, what can we expect when they increase exponentially?
At least he found one quote for the opposing viewpoint, unlike the Daily Camera:
It wasn’t a question of whether the house was properly managed, anyway, neighbor Steven Meier wrote in the Camera, so much as the sheer number of people: “High-density boarding houses are simply incompatible with single-family residential neighborhoods. Nobody cares whether the occupants of the over-occupied boarding house have democratic meetings or are ruled by an authoritarian matriarch. The problem is the number of people per square yard, the temporary nature of most of the occupants, and the hostel/airbnb-like operation, that is most troubling to the neighbors.”
And he found a wonderful quote from the Boulder City Attorney:
“We’ve purposely not enforced because overoccupancy serves a purpose,” City Attorney Tom Carr told the Daily Camera.
Can you have a residential neighborhood without having residential neighbors? That’s a basic question that the city has caused our little neighborhood at the western fringe of University Hill to confront.We are zoned R-1… The occupancy limit in this zone is no more than three unrelated people… Yet in our midst sits a single-suite hotel allowed by the city’s short-term rental ordinance.
According to its listing on VRBO, this hotel suite can accommodate up to 15 people. For the whole shebang the rates start at $745 a night, with a two-night minimum required on some weekends. According to the listing, the hotel is reserved about 85 percent of every month…
Let’s just keep expanding our population – 200,000, 250,000, heck, even a half million people! Boulder should house the world! Let’s have no occupancy limits. Better yet, no limits whatsoever! Building Size? Height limit? Who cares? We’re talking Manhattan on Mapleton, baby! Silicon Valley on Sanitas!
Here’s the best part: If anyone dares question our plan, we’ll just call ‘em selfish. That’s it! If anyone invokes science, natural limits, finite water resources, ecology, carrying capacity…or Phoenix or LA …we’ll call ‘em elitists! That’s it! That’s how we’ll subdue anyone who questions us. Continue reading “Stacey Goldfarb: A Mockery of Planning”