The Cooperative Housing Proposal


  • City of Boulder has created a Co-Op Housing web page.
  • Co-op Ordinance Passed and Finalized – in spite of our best efforts, and in complete disregard for our concerns, the Boulder City Council has passed the Cooperative Housing Ordinance. It will formally adopted on January 17th, 2017.
  • All that remains is the actual implementation of rules by the City Manager. BNA will be monitoring this process.

About the Cooperative Housing Ordinance
The co-op packs 'em in

The Boulder City Council has passed new “Cooperative Housing” ordinance.   The essence of this ordinance is to grant a special exemption from Boulder’s current occupancy limits (no more than 3 or 4 unrelated persons per dwelling unit), to any group of people who can claim to “live cooperatively,” thus constituting a “co-op”.  This concept would apply not only to equity co-ops, where a group of people pool their resources to jointly purchase a home, but also to rental co-ops, where a group of people split the rent on a house or apartment. The ordinance also allows for non-profit rental co-ops, which will pay no property taxes. The  ordinance will allow the occupancy of a co-op to be as many as 15 people in a house as small as 2000 square feet.  And co-ops will be allowed in every zoning category, including Low-Density Residential neighborhoods. Nearly every house in your neighborhood that is or could soon be for sale or for rent could soon be turned into a 15-person “co-op”.

Since 1996, the City of Boulder has had a well-written cooperative housing ordinance on the books. Unfortunately, not one single cooperative housing unit has been developed under the provisions of that
ordinance, ostensibly because it is too complicated or too burdensome.  The truth is, however, that it is just so much easier to ignore the legal occupancy limits, knowing that the City rarely enforces them, and simply over-occupy a rental property with as many people as a group or landlord wishes to have.   There are many illegally over-occupied rental properties currently operating in Boulder without any regulatory oversight.   Some of these claim to be operating as “co-ops,” others are simply houses packed full of students.  The proposed ordinance seems to be aimed at legitimizing these currently illegal co-ops, apparently rewarding a willingness to defy the law by rewriting the law to suit the lawbreakers.

Legislative History

The current Cooperative Housing Proposal has been churning through the legislative process since the beginning of 2016 and is expected to be enacted into law on January 17th, 2017.   The “Co-op Ordinance Legislative History”  page presents a full summary of all the legislative activity so far, including Council and Planning Board meeting videos, meeting minutes, and news reports.


Upcoming Events for the Co-op Ordinance

There are no upcoming events.

Recent News and Blog Posts: 
Please Note: The views and opinions expressed in the following articles are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Boulder Neighborhood Alliance.
  • Co-Op Housing Applications start next week! Beginning June 1, 2017 prospective applicants will be able to download the applications online from the Applications and Forms Database or by obtaining a hard copy at 1739 Broadway on the third floor. Please search or ask for the “Administrative Review Application Form” and attachment document. Read More: Co-Op Housing at
  • Stacey Goldfarb: Supporting real affordability Chloe Pachovas’ May 11 letter suggested that ultra high occupancy co-ops are necessary for there to be artists and innovators in Boulder. Actually, Boulder’s low-density neighborhoods are filled with artists and innovators who abide by the zoning regulations. If Pachovas attended an “Open Studios” tour, she might be surprised at the number of participating artists in ...
  • Current Google Salaries in Boulder Colorado 1000 more engineers making these salaries will be flooding into Boulder soon – we wonder if they will all want to live in co-ops? Google Salaries | More details for Google Jobs | Google Reviews | Google Interview Questions & Reviews
  • Co-Op Housing The following information is from the City Of Boulder’s current Co-Op Housing web page. Cooperative Housing Ordinance: What You Need to Know On Feb. 16, 2017, the City of Boulder’s cooperative housing ordinance (Ordinance No. 8119) will take effect. What is a Cooperative House? The ordinance identifies three cooperative types: Not-for-Profit Permanently Affordable Cooperative – A rental cooperative owned by a 501(c)(3) corporation with a housing ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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,… ...
  • 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, ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...

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