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, to speak to the item that will most likely come up at around 7:30 PM or thereafter.

Let us know if you plan to attend: SIGN UP HERE

This Daily Camera article about affordable housing linkage fees quotes a long-time Boulder developer saying:

“…Why is it (the cost of affordable housing) not being assessed on the citizens who already enjoy the privileges (of living in Boulder)?  Why is it not part of the property tax?”

First of all, those fees are being assessed on us, the citizens and taxpayers.  But we need to tell City Council why developers, rather than just us, must shoulder an increasing percentage of the responsibility.  Please write a letter to the editor of the Camera, this week, on this subject.  And also send your letter to the Boulder City Council.

You can use the following talking points when composing your email to City Council and Letter to the Editor:

  • We already have far more jobs than workforce age residents in Boulder to work them. We have roughly 104,000 jobs and 103,500 residents.  But only 70,000 residents are of “work force age and intent” meaning, they are not a) in K-12 school, or younger b) retired, or c) not looking for work.
  • This is why we have 60,000 daily in-commuters.  The City of Boulder has far overshot the mark in economic development, yet appears to be “partying like it’s 1999,” and continuing its frenzied job push, regardless of facts, and the obvious crisis they’ve created.
  • DellaCava, and his developer colleagues who are building more and more commercial office spaces to entice more and more major employers and workers to come to Boulder, are contributing in a major way to our housing crisis.  They simply increase demand and pressure on an already ridiculously stretched, tight housing market.
  • Because many of these new workers won’t be able to afford to live in Boulder, many will apply for the City of Boulder’s affordable housing program – a public, tax-funded program.
  • It’s very appropriate that commercial developers, who are driving this crisis, be taxed to help solve the problem they’re creating.  Whereas, it’s absurd to tax the everyday citizens for this, many of whom are patently against this increased commercial growth which will only add to our 60,000 in-commuters, and further strain our housing situation.
  • New commercial office developments bring new workers to Boulder.  Most won’t be able to afford to live in Boulder.  Many will apply for the City of Boulder’s affordable housing program, funded by the City.  Thus, new commercial developments create a public, i.e., social cost.  (An externality, in macro economic terms.)  Assuming responsibility for these costs ought to be part of the business’s cost of doing business in Boulder, plain and simple.  To do otherwise is privatizing profit (the developers’ millions they’re making) and socializing the cost, or risk, by asking existing residents to pay the costs of housing new workers, through our property taxes.
  • Since we aren’t receiving a dividend check from Lou DellaCava from the profits he’s making on his developments, we shouldn’t have to pay his “cost of doing business in Boulder,” specifically, assuming responsibility for the affordable housing needs of the workers he brings here.
  • Boulder historically had a growth limit on residential, but never commercial, growth.  In fact, the City of Boulder’s economic development department has engaged in a degree of all-out commercial growth courting that one would only expect to see from a poor, struggling town in Mississippi, not a city like Boulder, with stable employment bases like CU, the national labs, IBM, etc.  Even since 2011, when job surplus became obvious, the City has kept its foot on the gas.  The City’s active courting brought Google.  A fine company, but the last thing a city struggling with affordability needed.
  • The City of Boulder appears to be beholden, in a large way, to the Chamber of Commerce.  Boulder’s Chamber of Commerce, like most any in the U.S. are there to promote jobs, jobs, jobs, regardless of anything.  The Chamber is also there to promote, protect and gain advantages for developers.
  • All of this is responsible for Boulder’s 60,000 daily in-commuters, enormous housing pressures, and soaring housing prices.
  • Unfortunately, the Daily Camera is in on it, too.  There’s never been a newspaper in the U.S. that wants anything short of all-out growth.  They sell more ads that way, and their subscription base climbs as the population grows.  We saw this in the Camera’s endorsements in the last local election: they endorsed pro-business, pro-growth growth candidates.  And the Camera actively campaigned against the citizens’ initiatives that sought to manage growth responsibly.