Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Council Pushes for New Building Height Limits

by Osman Parvez
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Looks like City Council is continuing their effort to destroy your property value in Boulder.

From the Daily Camera:
Builders now are allowed to go up to 35 feet in much of downtown Boulder. Building higher than that — up to the 55-foot limit set forth in the city’s charter — requires permission from the city’s Planning Board.
Planning officials considering those requests take into account sketches of the proposed buildings, how the projects will fit in with their neighbors and what kind of contribution they’ll make to pedestrians and “usable open space.”
Thus far, the current system has been working nicely, in my opinion. It has allowed infill that makes sense for the community, revitalizing downtown Boulder with jobs and housing, and generating long term value to the community.

Nobody is building skyscrapers in Boulder, these are 4 story buildings.
Gray and others said they’d like to see the city require developers to give back more “community benefit” for the right to build taller. For example, city officials might require developers to provide more affordable housing in return for a height allowance, Gray said.
Gray needs to talk to some developers. Many projects are already struggling, with sales volume occurring much slower than expected and substantial price reductions. In the current environment, if they are struggling to complete current projects under the existing rules, which require 20% affordable housing, adding more isn't a viable solution.

By the way, why are residents who can afford to pay market prices not a community benefit? People who can afford to pay market prices can also generally afford to visit shops, restaurants, and oh yeah, pay taxes. Those are good things.
City leaders Tuesday night will also consider whether to revisit the city’s “inclusionary zoning” program, which requires developers to make 20 percent of residential units in new projects affordable.
Some elected officials think the city’s become too lenient in allowing developers to satisfy that requirement by allowing them to pay cash to help pay for off-site affordable housing.
From early in their term, Council has made halting "unwanted" development a priority. From attempts to pass obnoxious, value destroying FAR limits (without community input) to rewriting the rules for developers after their projects have already been approved, Council has been running wild, their arbitrary anti-development, anti-property rights agenda hardly concealed.

What's next, a Good Taste committee? With their arbitrary attacks on property rights, that's where Council seems to be headed.

In a state known for protecting property rights, I admit that I'm surprised there hasn't been more outrage. With shifting economic tides, that may change quickly. We'll see how well City Council's agenda works in a struggling housing market with increasing unemployment.



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2 comments:

  1. You might want to consider what makes property in downtown Boulder so valuable today. Downtown Boulder has wonderful scenic views and a comfortable human scale. Will ever-taller and larger developments downtown increase property values?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Who said anything about ever taller?

    ReplyDelete