Boulder City Council votes to change occupancy limits for first time in decades

Boulder City Council member Rachel Friend was one of 6 who voted in favor of Ordinance 8585, to increase city occupancy limits for dwelling units across Boulder

For the first time in decades, Boulder City Council has changed its zoning policy to increase occupancy limits for single-family homes. In a 6-3 decision, Boulder City Council members voted to raise occupancy limits from its previous limit of 3 unrelated people to 5.

The new ordinance applies to 87% of housing in Boulder. It does not extend to between 5,00-6000 units, mostly located on the Hill and downtown, that were grandfathered in with denser occupancy limits.

The zoning limits overturned last night were enacted in Boulder in 1972. Since then, the city has shot down numerous attempts to reform the ordinance including a tenant’s rights movement in the 1980s and a ballot measure in 2021.

Occupancy limits have been a big point of contention across the US in recent years. California, Oregon, and Washington have all voted to prohibit local governments from regulating occupancy based on family status. State lawmakers in Colorado attempted to outlaw occupancy limits, like those in Boulder, earlier this year. Under pressure from several municipalities, on the last day of the state’s legislative session, the bill failed.   

Shay Castle,  the founder of Boulder Beat joined KGNU’s Alexis Kenyon to tell us more about last night’s vote and what this decision means for the future of housing in Boulder.  

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    Boulder City Council votes to change occupancy limits for first time in decades Alexis Kenyon

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Alexis Kenyon

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