Co-op Ordinance Legislative History

The current Cooperative Housing Proposal has been churning through the legislative process since the beginning of 2016 and is currently scheduled for a “Third Reading” before the City Council, expected sometime in early 2017.

Latest Updates

December 6th, 2016

Council finally finished the “Second Reading,” and has moved the ordinance on the the “Third Reading,” which will happen in early 2017.

Read the full report here: City Council December 6th Co-op Hearing.

October 2016 “Second Reading”

Two City Council meetings in October 2016 covered the “Second Reading” of the ordinance.  Public Testimony was heard on October 4th, and the Council discussed the details of the ordinance on October 11th.

Unfortunately, at the October 11th meeting, our City Council chose to completely disregard our input. The Council handed the co-op special interest groups everything they had demanded – actually more than they demanded. Read the full story of the Co-op Ordinance Second Reading.

Prior History

In order to understand how things got to this point, it is helpful to consider the existing co-op regulations currently on the books, and then work through the long legislative process that started in early 2016.

1996 Cooperative Housing Ordinance

Boulder enacted cooperative housing regulations way back in 1996.  Here is a PDF version of the current regulation (these regulations can be found online in section 9.6.3(b) of the Boulder, Colorado Municipal Code).  It provides for ownership co-ops with up to eight residents, with at least 75% of occupants being owners, along with other conditions and restrictions, and a conditional use review requirement.  No co-op has ever been established under these regulations.

January 2016 City Council Study Session

Under pressure from cooperative housing activists, the City Council held a study session on January 26, 2016 to discuss potential changes to the cooperative housing regulations.  This Meeting Summary (PDF) describes the discussion, which resulted in the Council directing the city staff to disregard the 1996 ordinance and draft a completely new proposed ordinance, with the assistance of the Boulder Housing Coalition (BHC).   You can watch the video of the study session here:

April 2016 Planning Board review

After the city attorney had drafted a co-op ordinance, the draft was reviewed by the Planning Board on April 21, 2016. The staff presentation to the Planning Board (PDF) contains the draft ordinance along with background information.  The review included a Public Hearing in which fifteen citizens spoke out against the draft ordinance, while a number of co-op activists spoke in favor of it.

Planning Board Chairman Brian Bowen came out as an unabashed cheerleader for co-ops: “The testimony this evening from informed individuals regarding co-ops is inspiring. This issue is based on housing and social justice. At the core of this is a huge lack of understanding of what intentional community actually is… I believe the misunderstandings surrounding co-ops will go away over time, and with experience… The issue is centered on people wanting to live together in a different way than most of us do. People should be allowed to live how they want.”

The Planning Board did not make any specific decisions, but held a series of “straw polls” in which they indicated some recommendations for City Council to consider.   Most significantly, they voted 7-0 to recommend that Rental Co-ops need further study and special attention.

Read the Summary of the Hearing and watch the video here:

May 2016 City Council “First Reading” with Public Comment

The “First Reading” of the Co-op proposal was held at the City Council meeting of May 21, 2016. The staff presentation to the City Council (PDF) included the same draft of the ordinance that was presented to the Planning Board, plus an additional proposed amendment that would grant a “grandfathered” privilege to an unlimited number of existing illegal co-ops.   This first reading presentation included a Public Hearing at which 44 citizens testified in opposition to the ordinance (vs. only 32 in favor).  Due to the lengthy public hearing, Council’s discussion of the proposal was limited, to be continued at the June 21st meeting.

Read the official Minutes of the May 17th Council Meeting (PDF), and watch the video here:

June 2016 City Council continuation of “First Reading”

The discussion that started with the May 17th “First Reading” continued on June 21, 2016.  There was no public hearing at this meeting.  This time, the Council discussed a number of specific details about the draft ordinance. The Staff Presentation for June 21 Council Meeting (PDF) did not include a new draft of the ordinance, but it did contain a number of proposed “amendments” based on the Council’s brief discussion and questions at the May meeting. See Quick Summary of June 21st City Council Meeting for some analysis.  See also, the official minutes of the 6/21 meeting.

Video of the meeting is on YouTube:

October 2016: Second Reading with Public Hearing

Two City Council meetings in October 2016 covered the “Second Reading” of the ordinance.  Public Testimony was heard on October 4th, and the Council discussed the details of the ordinance on October 11th.

Unfortunately, at the October 11th meeting, our City Council chose to completely disregard our input. The Council handed the co-op special interest groups everything they had demanded – actually more than they demanded. Read the full story of the Co-op Ordinance Second Reading.

What’s Next?

At the October 11th meeting, after hours of council discussion, the council decided to direct the City Attorney to revise the draft ordinance, and continue the Second Reading at a later meeting – tentatively Dec. 6, 2016.  The City Attorney said that a new version of the ordinance will be posted in advance of that next meeting.  Stay tuned…

[Return to The Cooperative Housing Proposal main page.]

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