Tag Archives: co-op

Support Permanently Affordable Co-ops at Planning Board

On Thursday, November 2nd, the Boulder Housing Coalition will be asking Planning Board to allow us to house up to 16 people in our proposed co-op in South Boulder.  We offered a bit of background on the project here.

We need your help to ensure this co-op can house
& families, especially single parents.

  • The new law enabling co-ops allows up to 12 residents in low density areas, but gives permanently affordable, non-profit co-ops the option of requesting additional occupancy. All the other requirements of the land use code must still be satisfied.
  • We have already had 5 separate single parent families walk away from our membership process. The occupancy limitations prevent family members from sharing rooms. This could mean a parent and a child, siblings, or a couple. This is our primary reason for requesting additional occupancy.
  • Increasing occupancy will not increase the rent. The Boulder Housing Coalition will not make any more money from the co-op because it has more people in it. Instead, the co-op will become more affordable.

What you can do:

  • Email Planning Board: boulderplanningboard@bouldercolorado.gov,
  • Write a Letter to the Editor and send it to: openforum@dailycamera.com.
    • Letters are 300 words or less, and must include your name, address, and phone number.
    • Only your name and city will be published.
  • Speak at the public hearing:
    • Location: 1777 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302.
    • Date: Thursday, November 2nd, 2017.
    • Time: You can sign up to speak starting at 5:30pm. The Planning Board meeting will probably run all evening. We can’t know exactly when our agenda item will take place. The earlier you sign up, the earlier you’ll be able to speak.
    • Format: Each person will have 2 minutes to speak. This means about 200 words if you want to write something ahead of time.
    • RSVP and share this event on Facebook. Invite your friends! Public hearings are more fun with company.
  • Voice support on your neighborhood email list, especially if you live in Martin Acres.
  • Engage with others on social media, including NextDoor, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.
  • Get other people to do all these things too! Especially if they live in Martin Acres, or have experience with kids in co-ops.

What should you say?

Planning Board will be considering the following criteria:

  • The potential impacts of the co-op on the surrounding community,
  • The proposed number of co-op residents,
  • The proposed habitable space per person,
  • Available off-street parking,
  • The mission of the cooperative.

We’re asking folks to speak to the above criteria in their own words, and based on their own experiences.  Some possible points to make:

  • Allowing 16 people to live in the house will allow families to live in the co-op. Single parents will be able to share rooms with a small child. Siblings or couples will be able to share a room.
  • The BHC’s mission, and the mission of this co-op, is to provide permanently affordable, community oriented housing. The cost per person will go down if the occupancy goes up, because we’re charging rent per room, not per person.
  • At 4,600 square feet, this house is more than 40% larger than either the Masala or Chrysalis cooperatives, each of which are allowed to have up to 16 residents.
  • Even with 16 people, the new co-op would have more space per person than any other BHC co-op.
  • Many of our other co-op members help organize neighborhood EcoPass districts.
  • Co-ops are quiet — they have their own internal quiet hours because people inside the co-op have different schedules, and they respect each others.
  • The BHC is a responsible long-term property owner, and will invest the long-term care and maintenance of the building, more than many rental landlords would.
  • No matter how many people live in the house, we’ll still only be able to park 3 vehicles on the street. The BHC is writing the vehicle restrictions into our leases, making these rules enforceable. Increasing the occupancy will not increase the parking and traffic impacts.
  • The BHC offers all our members a comprehensive mobility package. This includes membership to eGo Carshare and Community Cycles, as well as RTD EcoPasses, when they are available in the neighborhood. We make it as easy as possible for our residents to live without their own car.
  •  The BHC is working with eGo Carshare to get a shared electric vehicle at the house. This would be available for all the house members to use — and also to anyone in the neighborhood who is an eGo Carshare member.

If you want more detail about the project, check out this post.

Allow More Community Housing in Boulder

Dear City Council (council@bouldercolorado.gov),

Zane SelvansI understand that May 14th you will be studying the question of Boulder’s developing barbell shaped income distribution, and the issue of supplying moderately affordable housing for folks in Boulder’s middle-income brackets.

From today’s Daily Camera article my sense is that the focus of the discussion is likely to be on the supply of detached single-family homes, which for many years have been the housing option of choice for families in the US.

However, I think that this is really too narrow a focus. Co-housing developments like Wild Sage in North Boulder and housing cooperatives like the ones developed by the Boulder Housing Coalition make use of multi-dwelling buildings, and yet can provide many of the amenities that draw families to detached houses, especially quiet outdoor spaces that are safe for children, and a sense of neighborhood community. They can also be much more resource efficient than standard single-family dwellings. Looking further afield, one can find examples of entire neighborhoods designed with these goals in mind, like Quartier Vauban, in Freiburg, Germany.

These relatively high density (for Boulder) community and family oriented housing options might not be for everybody, but there is a hunger for more of them in Boulder. The Housing Co-ops developed by the Boulder Housing Coalition (whose board I sit on) are regularly over-subscribed by a factor of 2 or 3 when we seek out new members. Our new 22-26 member co-op in the old BHP apartment building at the corner of 9th and North will likely be completely leased within a month. We should work to make creating more of them easier and more cost-effective than it is today. Current zoning regulations — especially our out-dated, 1950s vintage parking requirements — too often make the creation of this type of housing difficult, prohibitively expensive, or simply impossible. This is in many ways at odds with a lot of the city’s high level policy statements surrounding transportation mode choices, sustainability, and affordable housing.

I hope that we can work together to make the creation of more community and family oriented multi-unit housing a reality in Boulder.

Thank you for your time and attention,
Zane Selvans

(TAB member and Boulder Housing Coalition board member, speaking on my own behalf)