Colorado Affordable Housing Bill Set To Pass May 8
The soon-to-be finalized Senate Bill 23-213, or SB23-213, is intended to amend legislation and promote Colorado Affordable Housing. While this bill is considered a significant step in assisting densely populated towns and cities, there are still concerns that more needs to be done. Advocacy groups are urging the Senate House to include zoning regulations in the bill, which would make zoning a matter for the state government rather than local municipalities.
How does Bill 23-213 affect Colorado Affordable Housing?
Governor Polis supports Senate Bill 23-213, which calls for more populated towns and cities in Colorado to permit multifamily development projects and accessory dwelling units in single-family home neighborhoods. The bill includes various measures to promote affordable housing and population density. Colorado and Denver have been struggling with a growing housing shortage for a long time. Despite a shrinking supply and soaring home prices in recent years, there has been a lack of incentives for land developers and construction companies to build multifamily housing.
The bill hopes to encourage developers and construction companies in building townhomes, duplexes, and Accessory Dwelling Units in communities all over the Front Range.
Local Government Do Not Support the Bill
While the objective of promoting more affordable housing is a common concern, local governments are opposed to the proposed bill amendment and express concerns about government overreach. Mayors and other local officials object to the state's intervention, seeing it as an attempt to seize power from communities that have traditionally been responsible for making decisions regarding land use. The bill appears to eliminate local government constraints on the construction of modular and manufactured homes. Additionally, the bill prohibits communities from imposing residential occupancy limits on unrelated individuals, a group that is subject to different limits than families.
Does the bill incentivize land development?
Addressing the issue of housing affordability in Colorado is a complicated task. There is no single solution that can guarantee an increase in affordable housing without any drawbacks. However, the current version of the bill does appear to offer incentives for land developers and construction companies that focus on multifamily housing. By permitting multifamily construction on lots that were previously zoned for single-family homes, land developers may find more viable options where there were previously none. Governor Polis' proposed housing plan would enable the construction of duplexes, townhomes, and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in numerous cities throughout Colorado.
Bill deadline May 8th
Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno successfully passed an amendment to SB 23-213 last Friday, removing the state's authority to override local government zoning and refocusing the bill on the Front Range and mountain resort communities. Moreno believes the bill will create more sustainable housing growth by linking housing, transportation, and land use planning across the state, prioritizing strategic growth, and collecting essential data to meet Colorado's housing goals.
Meanwhile, a coalition of 22 advocacy groups in housing, environmental, transportation, and energy continues to push for the state to have the power to override single-family zoning limits.
It remains uncertain whether lawmakers will attempt to amend the bill to restore state preemption of zoning regulations before the May 8th deadline, leaving little time for formal opposition to be presented.