BOULDER, Colo. –

Developers should either build more affordable-housing units alongside the rest of the homes in their Boulder projects, or put more money into the city’s affordable housing fund, elected leaders said Tuesday night.

The Boulder City Council met to discuss the city’s “inclusionary zoning” ordinance, which requires developers to make 20 percent of the homes they build affordable.

But the program also lets builders pay cash instead of putting those units next to their market-rate homes. According to city data, builders have been doing just that. Since the ordinance took effect in 2000, 171 projects have been built, and only 28 of them have all of the affordable units on-site.

That’s a problem, city leaders said.

City Councilman Macon Cowles said the zoning was aimed to prevent economic segregation. But developers who opt not to build their affordable units on-site are stymieing that goal, he said.

“I believe there’s importance in having more on-site housing to integrate these neighborhoods, even the very well-to-do ones downtown, with people of common means,” he said.

But Councilman Ken Wilson said the city should keep its focus on making sure it has as many affordable places to live as possible — especially since Boulder doesn’t suffer from the kind of economic segregation that other cities see, he said.

“I think we meet our goals better by optimizing the number of units,” Wilson said. “We should keep in mind that half of all the units in Boulder are rentals, and that provides a tremendous amount of integration just by its nature.”

Council members said it might make sense to increase what developers are required to pay. Now, builders pay $110,000 for not building an affordable attached unit on-site, and $119,000 for not building a detached unit.

The “market gap” between the price of an average unit in Boulder and the earning power of a family making 80 percent of area median income, meanwhile, is $231,400 for attached and $226,765 for detached units.

The council will continue the discussion on its affordable-housing program later this year.

Councilwoman Susan Osborne said the city needs to be careful about making changes to the program, because the cash that builders contribute has been valuable for a wide range of projects.

For example, the city has used that cash and pooled funds with nonprofit and other governmental agencies to help build the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, and for the redevelopment of Boulder Mobile Manor.

“We have to be really eyes-wide-open that what that is doing is reducing some of the flexibility that we’ve enjoyed in our housing program,” she said.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Ryan Morgan at 303-473-1333 or

Archived comments

Developers should just leave Boulder altogether.


3/31/2009 10:00:06 PM

Why do we need more affordable housing?What is with the socialism in Boulder?If you can’t afford Boulder, then move to a surrounding community.

3/31/2009 10:16:49 PM

The Affordable Housing Program is unappealing to homebuyers in that it allows for little to none of the financial benefit of owning – appreciation is capped. Further, the program is simply a cover for more restrictive policies that have created such a supply and demand scenario that is badly out of balance: greenbelts and caps on new occupancies (new housing units per year), density aversions and height restrictions. I know many in Boulder believe in these policies. I myself believe in their intent – and they have been successful in terms of securing quality of life and amenities for Boulderites. It is a great place to live, perhaps because of these polices. The elephant in the room is the flipside of these policies: a city for the well-heeled only and their renter serfs; a monumental and absurd commute for the worker bees in the “L” cities (including your cops, your firemen, your plumbers, your teachers; housing that is unattainable in a place that provides more jobs than housing; etc etc. City Council and the citizens of Boulder need to look more deeply and see the underlying causes of these shallow issues they argue about incessantly…


3/31/2009 10:22:34 PM

Boulder name will soon change from ‘people’s republic of Boulder’ to ‘homeless urine drinkers kind of town’. Maybe.


3/31/2009 11:29:17 PM

Here’s hoping the developers will take a nice long drink– on their way out of town.


3/31/2009 11:42:44 PM

What is going to be done about affordable luxury cars? I really want a BMW 750 but unfortunately can’t afford one. Can the Council do something for me?

Clearly something needs to be done about those evil auto manufacturers.


4/1/2009 5:20:51 AM

So, they used the money to build the Shelter for the Homeless … which now draws more homeless from other towns and states – one of whom posts on his hometown blog that he’s “vacationing in Colorado”…now that’s really smart. (sorry Max, nothing personal .. I just find it hypocritical of you to decry the folks who come up here from Denver, when you’ve come all the way from Missouri.)


4/1/2009 5:35:44 AM

But …. I agree … the Shelter IS affordable!

marcpapp:why do we need affordable housing?Gee, I dunno … for the people who teach your kids?fight your fires?clean your bathroom?


4/1/2009 5:38:59 AM

Developers do not build affordable housing. It’s against their nature.

The builders in town go for the “Enclave, Exclusive, Luxury” thing. It appeals to the ego-centric Boulder crowd. For example, The Peleton is totally outrageous. It’s a high-rise Hamster House for Humans and costs a breast-n-leg.

Sadly, the only reconciliation is government because all they do is fill the void with tax money, providing affordable rent and creating an unsustainable reality.

I’d like to see the pomposity recede. The several folk who have torn down a modest home, in-line with the surrounding homes, who filled the lots from stem to stern with over-blown architectural grotesqueness, now sit on a home they can’t finish or sell. There are many of them. Derelict examples of fallen 401K hubris.

The enviro-friendly monstrosities continue to evolve. Exotic design and huge footprints, these home bodies must not like their families very much. Does everybody need their own little heated space? Regardless, if someone wants to claim green privilege that’s there privilege. But clearly there is no consideration for the landfill, chemicals and neighbors. Development full-speed-ahead. Hock yourself to the banksters. Build to the sky. Live like there’s no tomorrow. Affordability? Who cares? Just look at all the homes that are on the market!


4/1/2009 7:45:15 AM

As the owner of a affordable unit,I know for a fact that my wife and I paid the same by square foot for our tiny condo as our neighbors did for their $500,000 condos. Our neighbors also enjoy livable outdoor space that is not calculated into the number of square feet in their home. Just my $0.02


4/1/2009 7:45:58 AM

I watched Boulder grow through out the 90s they made claims of affordable housing blabla.

They have done a little bit but I watched a lot of good people more from Boulder because housing got more and more expensive and they were replaced by a bunch of rich trust fund jerks from other states.

$300,000 for a small run down tract home in Martian acres, so what is the monthly payment for that?

$1500.+ ? who makes that in Boulder? Mostly rich trust fund transplants with east coast money.

If you grew up in Boulder and have to try to live off of the local economy, basically you need to move out. Because some guy from New Jersey, Rode Island,__________ ect has more money then you.


4/1/2009 7:59:51 AM

Fish, Please provide your views on the Peleton.You complain constantly about “HOA-city council”

Just wondering how the pelton and the other nice buildings on Canyon etc fit into your thought process.


4/1/2009 8:01:07 AM

Once you start messing with the natural process of supply and demand, you can never stop messing with it.

Those nasty developers will only build what the market will buy, or they go broke.

When you force them to pay a fee for “affordable housing”, you cause the rest of their project to become even less “affordable”.This process increases the gap between what is “affordable” and what isn’t.


4/1/2009 8:24:20 AM

I’m a relatively poor guy and would love for a developer to sell me a house at half of its value. But there is no way I want to live next door to some rich lady that gripes about every little thing. I would prefer to live among my own kind where I can drink my budwisers and chew my skoal. Don’t make the developers put the affordable units on site with the rich people units. Developers should make it easier for us folks that don’t enjoy working.


4/1/2009 8:32:20 AM

The city leaders still tend to avoid more specific analysis of who the program is serving – what are the life-scenarios of those people living in affordable housing – such that the best type of affordable units can be built or bought with cash-in-lieu. On-site or not, what is the actual demand for units that are not allowed to accrue any meaningful long-term equity – and why would anyone choose to purchase such an “investment”?

Providing a housing unit (not rental) to someone at a discounted price that then never can truly accrue equity of any substance seems like a back-handed way to “help”. It’s as if the program is just a way to make people with means feel a little less guilty that other people can’t afford Boulder. We need X type of residents in Boulder to be, you know, diverse. This is the self-loathing rationale behind the program. Give less affluent people a discounted home – but they can’t count on property value increases like the rest of us – why is this a desired or even moral policy? It’s more of a curse giving someone such a property. After several years, any potential buyer will look at the most recently-built affordable units to buy, not those aging ones from today. It’s a program with built-in negative consequences under the guise of a positive social goal.

The city should either provide up-front down payment assistance and move on, or just require affordable rentals.


4/1/2009 8:33:39 AM

The city bought the mapleton mobile home park and promptly doubled the rent forcing many out.

lip service.More like gentrification.

Then they use the money from developers to build a homeless shelter … !!Way to go !Thats really solving the ‘teacher’ housing problem !

Im curious…what the heck is ‘affordable’ anyway ?Compared to many desirable areas and other cities, many properties in Boulder look like a bargain.

So you dont get to live downtown…? waaaah !.Gee, drive 10 minutes to a house thats a hundred grand less.

By the way, there are over a hundred properties for sale right now under 200 grand.

This council is a joke !


4/1/2009 8:43:11 AM

“Those nasty developers will only build what the market will buy, or they go broke.”That’s not true.Take a leisurely bike ride around any residential neighborhood within 2 miles of downtown on a Sunday.Look at all of the Open House signs and realtor graffiti – the signs all point to overbuilt, overpriced monstrosities, many of which have been empty and on the market for over a year.

They’re in the business of building things to maximize their profit, and they’ve been riding the housing bubble all the way up, banking on the hope that another hedge-fund sellout will buy a third house in Boulder.Maybe they’ll sell their McMansions, maybe they won’t.That’s not building for the market, it’s called speculation.

The same rich-man’s gambling games that ruined Wall Street need to be reined in in Boulder as well.Start by shifting the incentives toward building more reasonable housing that people who actually work here and contribute to this community can afford.

4/1/2009 8:51:42 AM

How about holding real estate brokers responsible for stealing from the poor?! That would be a great place to start as many are forced to live in towns like Lafayette where remax brokers are king & not held to the same laws as the rest of us!


4/1/2009 9:00:05 AM

Affordable Housing- is not welfare housing..

I think in Boulder County you can qualify for Affordable Housing if you make like $54,000 a year or less.

That is most of the people who actually have to work a regular job in Boulder.

The people who work for the county on the Affordable Housing could qualify for it, City Workers, Restaurant Workers, Auto Mechanics, the common folk who work 40-50 hours a week.

Basically the majority of the people who work in Boulder that are not sucking off of a east coast trust fund that mommy and daddy accumulated can qualify for Affordable Housing.

A lot the comments on here are why I get such a laugh from the housing bubble bursting, yes it is funny to know all of you smug Boulder real-estate owners will be losing 50% of your investment.

I see the same For Sale signs just sitting and sitting for months on end, Do you know why?

The bottom has dropped out of the market and your inflated prices are not realistic. lol


4/1/2009 9:18:01 AM

Affordable housing in Boulder.LOL

Why do you think so many people have to live in the streets?

Greed… every American’s hobby.


4/1/2009 9:28:24 AM

Boulder City planners appear to vary very short sights.Cap residential growth and expect affordable housing ? How is this even remotely possible ?Additionally, the capping of residential growth, while allowing business growth to occur incongruously has resulted in absurd traffic in and out of the city, which is if nothing else a huge air quality issue.


4/1/2009 9:28:38 AM

Raise taxes on developers!They are the cause!Or…wait a minute…maybe they supply what the market desires?

4/1/2009 9:50:10 AM

Why on earth do we need affordable housing?Poor people don’t belong in Boulder.


4/1/2009 9:57:00 AM

gilbysm – “They’re in the business of building things to maximize their profit.” and “the signs all point to overbuilt, overpriced monstrosities, many of which have been empty and on the market for over a year.”

Hmmm, I doubt that an overbuilt, overpriced monstrosity, empty and on the market for over a year is maximizing anybody’s profit.

There is no question there is a need for “affordable” housing in Boulder.A huge potential market for such properties.If we presume your assertion is correct, that developers are greedy, don’t you think they would fill that need if they could?

But, the cost of the land, the cost of the permitting, the cost of everything that goes into building in Boulder prohibits building “affordable” housing.

If we shift incentives to building such things, where does that money come from?Tax dollars used as incentives?Really think most of Boulder wants to subsidize “affordable” housing?No, they don’t.That’s why they want the developers to pay for it.

It’s feel-good political kibble.But, not one of those council members wants subsidized “affordable” housing on their block. Nor does most of Boulder.Most would rather the “hired” help lived in one of the surrounding “L” towns.


4/1/2009 9:58:59 AM

For all of full of class-envy and hate, don’t worry.Your president is working hard to make us all third world serfs.


4/1/2009 10:05:09 AM

If the city council ever reads this…I back r_mutt and similar posts.

It is a purely artificial constraint that hurts more than it helps.

“We are a successful town with a reputation as a good place to live.What can we do to make us less attractive?”

4/1/2009 10:06:07 AM

There’s plenty of affordable housing in Longmont, and great bus service to get the poor people to work.

In 10 years, Boulder is going to be like Aspen, full of trophy homes occupied only a few weeks a year, I can’t wait!Maybe the bums will be gone by then too.


4/1/2009 10:13:58 AM

Even though this is a mindset that has been prevelent in Boulder for some time, get used to it because this is where the Obama administration is headed as well.Telling business, not only what they must sell (affordable housing, small cars, etc.), but also how much they can charge and then how much they can pay their employees and management.Boulder can be proud that the socialist movement that will destroy freedom as we know it started here.


4/1/2009 10:39:24 AM

There is a certain kind of mean ignorance at work here. Plenty of affordable housing within 9 miles of Boulder in Longmont and Louisville and Lyons but we should put up another affordable unit in Boulder and let another family suffer from foreclosure in the outlaying areas? No community should flourish but our own? If affordable units weren’t being put up, people would be moving to those communities, adding to them, and the housing crisis wouldn’t be as pronounced. We don’t need more units, we need less of them-until all of the county’s housing stock is absorbed. Affordables in Boulder compete with homes which are the same price in outlaying areas. And no one’s quality of life is going to suffer by moving a few miles outside boulder. Same weather system, mountain views, and good schools. And it’s a slippery slope-if more families were moving to those areas, they’d be nicer to live in-instead of visa versa.

Maybe we can relocate the wildlife population to areas outside the county and solve the problem? ha.


4/1/2009 10:49:50 AM

Posted by lafayetteeast on April 1, 2009 at 5:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

marcpapp: why do we need affordable housing? Gee, I dunno … for the people who teach your kids? fight your fires? clean your bathroom?


But wouldn’t Longmont, Lyons, or Louisville benefit from these people moving into their community? A 9 mile 20 minute commute from some place like south longmont or 15 minutes from Lyons along the foothills is not an exceptional burden.We put up a hundred affordable units in Boulder and what….let 100 famillies loose their home to foreclosure in Louisville because they can’t sell them when they need to?The city is essentially competing with middle class families in outlying towns with these affordable units. It’s unfair.


4/1/2009 10:57:24 AM

I’ve got an idea.Why don’t the city council members sell their houses for 1/2 of what they are worth to people who need affordable housing.Get off of your little pedestal and lead by example.Until they do, they have no right to demand that of others.


4/1/2009 11:05:43 AM

Sidd, nice rant. Sorry you’re somehow missing the boat, but for hard working people who don’t sit around theorizing about east coast rich people, there are actually jobs in Boulder that can support a $1500 mortgage payment. I suggest that you stop your whining here, get off your rear, and get busy.


4/1/2009 11:21:13 AM

Have you driven those 9 miles (12-15 more like it) at rush hour? It is not a 20 minute trip (30? 40?), and many complain about the traffic. And besides, the commute is only part of the point. Strong communities benefit from a multitude of perspectives, economic strata, occupations, expertise, etc. The “L” towns have their own police, firemen, tradespeople, teachers, etc. who are able to live in the towns in which they work. Living in the town in which you work is the point. It is the most sustainable, eco-friendly, common sense path to the goals that Boulder holds up as their own and preaches (and are far from practicing). That’s the point. The affordable units in Boulder are not competing with the homes in the “L”s because they are not offered in true “ownership” scenarios (sell only to affordable qualifiers, caps on appreciation). That is why most choose to live in the “L” towns: true home ownership benefits. The commute is a nuisance and unfortunate side effect, and will continue to get worse as the “L”s grow and Boulder adds jobs while capping new housing. Foreclosures in outlying towns have nothing to do with affordable housing in Boulder.


4/1/2009 11:27:22 AM

KR –

The cops and teaches are busy and up off their rears, not sure they can afford that $1500 mortgage (how many houses are available at that payment level anyway? 0 without a large downpayment, save attached dwellings). I would not assume that everyone who cannot afford such a payment is lazy and whining. On the contrary, I would suggest that many work harder for less money than the white collar folks in Boulder. If you are fortunate enough to be in such a position – congratulations, but don’t condescend or criticize with a basis of pretension.


4/1/2009 11:35:04 AM

Boulder affordable housing was relocated to Commerce City many years ago. Tough luck!


4/1/2009 11:55:24 AM

Gee, Linda, it’s been over a year since Brinkley has seen Missouri, he has no any immediate plans to return, and now considers Boulder, CO his home (albeit in a sleeping bag outdoors). What’s a little hypocrisy for a confessed charlatan, anyway?

Old Doc, unlike most homeless visitors from Denver who come here during Boulder Shelter’s winter season Oct. 1st through Apr. 30th, does not try to trash the town by drinking, drugging, panhandling, etc. But, a few from Denver are decent enough, and they are very thankful that Boulder is available as an escape destination.

Seriously, North Boulder Park ought to be made into a homeless people’s tent city, which is the only type of “affordable housing” for hundreds who are now here.

Linda, don’t you live over in Lafayette? Talk about hypocrisy . . .


4/1/2009 12:11:48 PM

Come on up to Gilpin County, lowest property taxes in the state and still in Boulder School District. I tried to move back to Boulder 6 years ago from Oregon, could not afford it. Moved to Gilpin and it is much better and only 45 minutes to Boulder. And 2/3 of the County is either National forest or State Park: free Open Space.


4/1/2009 12:16:22 PM

Rmutt – do you think the 150 or so attached units currently for sale under 200K are enough inventory ?-Or do you think these folks should be subsidized so they can be in a detached residential home ?

Should people who choose lower paying careers be subsidized so the have the option of detached homes instead of attached homes ?If so, why ?


4/1/2009 12:16:39 PM

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t wonder why all the elitist trust fund trash had to move to my home town. Those who don’t want to rub elbows with the hard working commoners should pack their c–p and move to Aspen, before the rest of us get out the pitchforks and torches and help them leave.

Wouldn’t that be sweet?


4/1/2009 12:25:55 PM

Everyone I know who has tried to get into affordable housing was scamming the system. Like they were self-employed and making nothing one year and wouldqualify, but knew they were going to make 300k the next.

I think the consensus is clear. The only people (at least here) who support affordable housing in boulder are the people hoping to get into the system and are snobs, turning their nose up at affordable housing options very close to town.


4/1/2009 12:28:10 PM

The basic cost to build the cheapest structure possible is upward of $200 per sqft.A 1,000 sqft (tiny) home for the construction alone would be $200 grand.Add the cost of land and you are easily into $300 grand with no profit whatsoever.

Ever try to figure out what the numbers are that these ‘greedy’ developers are trying to work ?

People expect someone to build and sell something for less than the cost to build it ?

Why isnt the City using the money to provide below cost housing specifically for low income people ?

I agree – this issue is politcal kibble that the council members must continuously bring up along with open space, growth control and other no-longer-effective programs.

The reality is, Boulder is 95% built out.Debating the remaining 5% will have very little impact to the overall qualities of our town.

I say, it aint broke …. no need to fix it !


4/1/2009 12:29:11 PM

Whoever scams to get into a fixed equity gaining affordable unit is a financial idiot.In five years when you go to sell, you cant afford anything in town because it doesnt keep up with values.It is fine for people who never want to move or move up, but for people looking to work their way up the ladder it is a trap.


4/1/2009 12:41:52 PM

i really wish someone could tell me why Boulder is so expensive for housing in the first place?????i just don’t get’s just an old little town with the poorest quality of housing i’ve ever seen.


4/1/2009 12:43:22 PM

Posted by KR-there are actually jobs in Boulder that can support a $1500 mortgage payment.


There are a few but a very small percentage.

The reality of the Boulder economy is there is not that many jobs that pay enough to live in Boulder. Most money flows into Boulder from other places like east coast trust funds and inheritances.

For every one well paying white-collar job there are hundreds of low paying and average paying (for the area) jobs.

This is Colorado.. most people don’t make 6 figures only a small part of the population. But Boulder is a nice place so lots of rich and wealthy have moved here and driven up real-estate prices and drove out the local population.

But don’t get to smug because we are entering some interesting times..

Trust funds and stock portfolios have already lost 50% of wealth, real-estate is tittering on a cliff and we still have a ways to go..

The most exciting part our government owes more then can ever be paid off so now they have started to print trillions of dollars, The recipe of hyperinflation..

What happens in an economic collapses? Rich people can turn poor overnight.

Look at a lot of countries that have been through economic collapses a lot of very wealthy families went from mansions to filthy little shacks overnight.

So don’t be so sure of your bank account or your inheritance..


4/1/2009 12:49:40 PM

Posted by lanikai on April 1, 2009 at 12:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

i just don’t get it. it’s just an old little town with the poorest quality of housing i’ve ever seen.


Right? couldn’t hit the nail harder. Ugly houses, poorly built. You can go around town and see the different economic boom times, the redwood siding homes thrown up by whoever in the mork and mindy boom of the 70’s, the white elephants on mapleton that only billionaires can afford to fix built during the mining booms, etc etc.

I think most of it is because of the constant run down of towns out, especially by the Camera. People here running down longmont on a daily basis.


4/1/2009 12:51:28 PM

Posted by sidd on April 1, 2009 at 12:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Posted by KR-there are actually jobs in Boulder that can support a $1500 mortgage payment.


The most exciting part our government owes more then can ever be paid off so now they have started to print trillions of dollars, The recipe of hyperinflation..


Good report on This American Life about three weeks back and they said that our debt is now equal to our GDP. Only other time that happened in history was during the great depression. We’re headed their folks. Anyone who doesn’t recognize it is rightly trying to stay optimistic. But facts is facts. Might as well face reality and deal.


4/1/2009 12:54:36 PM

How is Affordable Housing helping a potential buyer? They are capped at how much profit they can make if they can sell their affordable house. Then it’s not easy finding a qualified buyer who is willing to participate into the housing program. The buyer is better off buying from a regular home they can afford even if it means living in another city or just renting. They should have affordable rent instead.


4/1/2009 12:55:16 PM

Posted by bouldermom on April 1, 2009 at 12:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How is Affordable Housing helping a potential buyer?


I guess if you’re on a fixed income an plan to stay forever or get a price so cheap that you can life there and qualify but make more money the next year and save excess.

So ask yourself who is benefiting? It’s like open space- Who really benefited from it? Developers. Who is benefiting from this? I can’t figure it out. Someone else here probably knows. Maybe they don’t really expect these units to go up and just see it as a cash grab? They get people to support it, people who think they’ll benefit, but in the end the units don’t get built and it’s just money for the city? As I said before, I think it’s just a way of keeping money away from the middle class towns and people in them that surround us.

Any one got any ideas on how people are going to qualify for these units even if they build more? Days of subprime lending and easy money or gone. I wonder how loans on these are issued. Banks know they can’t repo and sell for more and recover their costs. What bank lender would be dumb enough? And at least a few (not all) of these borrowers are people with bad credit.


4/1/2009 1:17:46 PM

Posted by JakPott on April 1, 2009 at 12:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Whoever scams to get into a fixed equity gaining affordable unit is a financial idiot.


Lol. yes he is. But he is older-past 60 and it would allow him to buy and not pay full price and that’s what matters to him. He just likes to scam everything and everyone. And he’s not going to live long enough to see huge price gains or flip into something else again.What he wants is to buy now when he’s not making anything, but next year he fully expects to be pulling in over 300k. He’s really into giving the appearance of having lots, but is incredibly cheap. Cheap to the point of mean. Rips off his friends. Don’t get me wrong, he’s got suitcases of money. But what matters to him is that he not spend it. He likes to buy luxury cars and not make payments on them. He’s just one of these bizzare self entitled baby boomers in town.


4/1/2009 1:24:44 PM


i totally agree.boulder has so many of the ugliest houses i’ve ever seen.the insides are in horrible condition, and all kinds of companies rent these!i’ve lived in A LOT of places, and i’m a renter, and i’ve never seen poorer quality, for such high prices (even in cali and hawaii)!.i went to a showing the other day, and was discusted.the lady from the company said, “why dont you like it, it’s victorian so its supposed to look like this” (like she was totally surprised that i didnt like it)?i told her that “i’ve lived in the largest victorian community in the U.S. and believe me, they do not look like this when they are taken care of!”horrible, horrible housing in boulder, cant even find a decent place to rent!


4/1/2009 1:30:52 PM

Posted by sidd “The reality of the Boulder economy is there is not that many jobs that pay enough to live in Boulder. Most money flows into Boulder from other places like east coast trust funds and inheritances.”

Unsubstantiated rubbish. You can try to make this about class and privilege if you want, but as I said before, you’d be much better off if you got off your rear and got to work, like the rest of us do every day to pay our mortgages.


4/1/2009 1:44:15 PM


You’re right in some respects about this not being as scary, but I can’t help myself because all my neighbors are suffering big time. And even living within my means means having means if you know what i mean. Jobs are disappearing on a massive scale. Looked at a list of fastest growing jobs in colorado no.3 was waitress. WTF? Waitress. Obviously that was printed by the department of labor before the restaurants started closing. so the number 3 job “opportunity” is gone.


4/1/2009 1:52:18 PM

Posted by KR on April 1, 2009 at 1:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Posted by sidd “The reality of the Boulder economy is there is not that many jobs that pay enough to live in Boulder. Most money flows into Boulder from other places like east coast trust funds and inheritances.”

Unsubstantiated rubbish.


Wow. Pretty hyperbolic. Most jobs offered here don’t pay to support the level of housing prices is absolutely a substantiated fact. I don’t know if it equates to people from east coast coming with money though, have to agree with that. But I look around and it’s mostly white people over 60 and think they just came from a time when they got good pensions and retirement and salaries. Some of it’s trusts, some of it’s people from another generation that made way better money, and some of it was sub prime and easy lending. Lots of people here bought homes and really did only have those 50k incomes and are making it by having like ten room mates or something. Some people here participate in the underground cash economy. It wasn’t all east coast inherited money-that’s like one of five things that went on here.

If you purchased a 500k house (normal for boulder) and put 20 percent down-100k of your savings, you’d have a 400k mortgage which is around 2700 or roughly 30 percent of a 10k salary a month-around 120k a year (30 percent of salary what they’re lending on now and what’s always been recommended). That salary is way above average and way above the national average where people make around 30k a year.


4/1/2009 2:00:38 PM

laughinghard: That’s one scenario. Another is that you spend 10 years living in a tiny and cheap apartment so you can save a down payment, you then buy something for less than $500k (there are many options) and you and your spouse continue to work full time (and quite hard, too) — you do that without the benefit of any trust fund or inheritance. You do that, and maybe you too would feel a little resentful when people like sidd start shooting their mouths off about trust funders.

It takes two incomes and a lot of sacrifice. The single breadwinner making the 120k salary you speak of? Rare.


4/1/2009 2:12:02 PM

maybe this will help with the good intentions crowd:

let’s suppose hackysacks are getting too expensive. you could buy a used one or a lower quality one for 7 bucks that maybe doesn’t look quite as cool, but the really nice ones that everybody wants cost 10 bucks. it costs 8 bucks to make it, $1 for overhead and $1 for profit. the government deems that this is a social problem because the really nice hackeysacks are too expensive at $10 a pop. so government tells the hackysack manufacturer that it must add a $2 “affordable hackeysack” fee (or provide free hackysacks, at its expense) so as to subsidize the purchase of the nice hackysacks for those people not content to own a $7 hackysack. amazingly, the cost of hackysacks goes up $12. those darn greedy hackysack makers! bloodsuckers!

affordable housing requirements may help a very small group of people by subsidizing their homes but the larger effect is to make housing more expensive for those that do not qualify.there is no way around this fact. fees imposed by government (affordable housing, tap fees, building permits, grading permits, etc etc) must be included within the cost of any building project like any other cost and ultimately it is the consumer that pays these costs. developers and builders work within the same economic constraints of any business – if they don’t cover the costs of production they will go out of business.

boulder has a high level of demand (for obvious reasons) for a limited supply of housing stock with above average levels of fees and requirements (many of them for good reasons). that is why housing is expensive.adding costs to building is no way to make it cheaper.


4/1/2009 2:17:13 PM

the trust funder: boulder’s loch ness monster.

i went to an expensive east coast prep school (20 years ago) and i have yet to meet a trust funder…


4/1/2009 2:25:46 PM

The only way to get more affordable housing, is to build more houses.

The only way to build more houses is to allow more building permits ……… allow some zoning restrictions ……. eliminate the 2-3 year approval period ……… eliminate the requirement for 10,000 citizen approval signitures.


4/1/2009 3:14:21 PM

I am not arguing for or against subsidizing anything, I was simply dropping my 2 cents on the reality of the situation – why housing is expensive and why the problem is an important one to study. If people choose careers that don’t “pay enough” to live in Boulder that is their prerogative. However, last I checked, all communities require the services of cops, teachers, landscapers, laborers, clerks, social service employees, and worker bees of all stripes. It is inherently hypocritical for a town which molds its image in the name of “sustainability” “eco-friendly” “green” “progressive” etc etc to then implement policies which are in direct opposition to those goals. Simple as that. I am trying to point out what I see as conflicts between stated goals and policies. Jobs, no housing. Diversity, construction permit caps. Anti-sprawl height caps and greenbelts, sprawling outlier towns which house communities of said town’s workers.

This is a complex problem. Boulder’s well-meaning growth policies are coming home to roost in ways unintended. It serves no one if we ignore the cause and effects of these policies. The elephants in the room should be acknowledged and studied in order to come to useful solutions. I do not know what they are yet, either…


4/1/2009 3:20:43 PM

I like the hackysack analogy, works for me……….


4/1/2009 3:23:05 PM

hahaha… I think it’s funny how many people don’t want to see something like this happen because it will put a dent in their pocket books. Most of whom aren’t really expierencing the hard times so many others are.

I, for one, would still like to believe that Boulder is still part of America. A place where social classes come together to form a community.



4/1/2009 3:41:25 PM

Eesh. I just don’t get why some folks get so angry about affordable housing. IMHO, it’s extremely important for communities to include all levels of income/work levels. I bought an affordable home because in my 20+ years living and paying taxes in Boulder, I wanted to pay my own mortgage. I didn’t buy it as an investment. I bought it so I had my own permanent home.

Regarding the question about the loans on these places: homeowners pay for loan insurance.


4/1/2009 4:12:31 PM

This constant bashing of rich people must stop. STOP BEING SO MEAN SPIRITED. I hear that rich people even pay taxes.


4/1/2009 4:23:09 PM

sej4108:your point about the necessity of having people of all income levels able to live in / near boulder is a good one.just don’t call it “affordable” housing – it should more properly be termed “subsidized” housing so that everyone knows that overall, housing will be more expensive since the onus for that subsidy is placed upon developers and then onto purchasers as costs increase. if you make the argument that we are all better off when our teachers and firefighters are living in the community, fine, I can buy that – I’d just like to see our politicians be more honest about what the financial ramifications of that choice will be. there is no free lunch, as the politicians want you to believe when they suggest that “developers” pay for it. anyone who wants to improve their property might be called a developer depending upon how these fees are structured.home ownership in this town is a form of musical chairs – too many people want to sit in too few chairs and unless we drastically increase the supply of chairs (ain’t gonna happen), not everyone will get a place to sit.


4/1/2009 4:33:27 PM

Who is noting the increased shootings and crime in Boulder and surrounds?

They are rioting at the G20 Summit, as usual,to make the leaders aware of the economic plight of the common man.

Increased crime, in addition to poverty, is related to guns and drugs AND CROWDING.

BOULDER CITY COUNCIL, as you and the DEVELOPERS TURN BOULDER INTO A GHETTO – why don’t you evaluate the relationship between crime and crowding?

Boulder may have more murders than D.C or Phila. this year.


4/1/2009 4:42:31 PM

Posted by KR-You can try to make this about class and privilege if you want, but as I said before, you’d be much better off if you got off your rear and got to work, like the rest of us do every day to pay our mortgages.


I’m not sure where you keep getting the idea that I don’t work or the idea that I can’t afford a house.

I’m saying the average worker can’t afford a home in Boulder.

I do have a decent white-collar job and I could pay 30% of my wages and pay a mortgage on a small junky home in Boulder.

Do I want to invest 30-40 years of my life paying off a small junky house? HELL NOâ ¦

I live in Boulder because of outdoor activates I live in a small apt and play outside.

But back to the subject just because I can afford a home in Boulder doesn’t mean most people who work in Boulder can.

Seriously look around most homes cost muti millions of dollars.

Oh yeah just go out and get a job and buy a 3 million dollar home. Not..

Make $30,000-$40,000 a year and buy a junky small box in Boulder. Not..


4/1/2009 4:44:27 PM


Point taken. I can’t claim to have the answers on how to make this all work as equitibly as possible. When I bought my place, I felt comfortable about it being affordable/subsidized since I had been a contributing member of the Boulder community for half my life. However, most people are subsidizing something for someone else to one degree or another. For example: the higher fees people pay to use the Boulder rec centers vs. say, the Longmont rec center subsidize the free programs the Boulder rec center provides. Yes, my home was “subsidized” by others, and I subsidize programs for Expand.


4/1/2009 4:58:47 PM

Posted by sidd: “Make $30,000-$40,000 a year and buy a junky small box in Boulder. Not.”

OK, so you have a choice, and you have chosen not to buy a house in Boulder. Why, then, are you complaining and spewing theories (trust funds, etc.) about those who have made a different choice?

My house is a small box in Boulder. There are plenty of them. If they’re not good enough for you, stop whining and go buy in Longmont.


4/1/2009 5:00:41 PM

the median income in boulder is $54,000 / year.the median price of a single family residence in boulder is $366,000.assuming a mortgage of $300K at 6%, monthly payments would be around $1100 / month, well within the affordability range for a pre-tax income of $4,300 / month.that home won’t be a castle, it might be a “junky small box” but it will be a good long term investment because the land is so valuable. the median age in boulder is 33, which may explain many of the chicken little comments.


4/1/2009 5:03:15 PM

In a way I do feel sorry for you poor fools that bought into a junky little 30 year old house for $300,000 that will be worth $180,000 (if your lucky) in the next couple of years and need tons of maintenance.

That’s a big loss..

I guess that’s what happens when you buy into a housing bubble. lol


4/1/2009 6:53:24 PM

“In a way I do feel sorry for you poor fools that bought into a junky little 30 year old house for $300,000 that will be worth $180,000 (if your lucky) in the next couple of years and need tons of maintenance.”

Like I said, go buy in Longmont. We’ll talk in the “next couple of years” and see who the “poor fool” is at that point.


4/1/2009 7:32:46 PM

‘ The only way to get more affordable housing, is to build more houses. ‘

Simply not true for two reasons:Boulder is 95% built out.Even if you crammed in twice the density allowed in the last 5%, there would be no meaningful impact on the cost of homes in town.

Second:Compare the average price of a house in Boulder to other much denser places like LA or New Jersey.The houses here are about half.And when you consider living there, you would soon think of Boulder as a bargain…

‘ In a way I do feel sorry for you poor fools that bought into a junky little 30 year old house for $300,000 that will be worth $180,000 (if your lucky) in the next couple of years and need tons of maintenance. “

Extremely unlikely.And if it did, the houses in the ‘L’s, would be proportionally lower (like $120 grand).You think the prices of houses are going to be what they were some 20 years ago ?Please, send me what you are smoking…

Underpants has a more realistic depiction of the numbers.My ‘working class’ friends all eventually bought houses in town or started in a condo and worked their way up.Some chose larger homes outside of town, but that was their choice.

There are many homes in the mid-300’s.Considering that is about 30% higher than the national average, Id say that is not shocking at all, in fact, Id also say there isnt a big problem like there is in ski towns or other desirable towns.Boulder is hardly close to places like Ketchum, and in fact about the same as Bozeman Montana…

‘ Seriously look around most homes cost muti millions of dollars. ‘

Seriously false….2 million plus for most homes ?? are on another planet.Unfortunately the city council listens to people like you.Cry wolf some more please so they can create more make-work tax supported programs and preserve their job security !


4/1/2009 10:07:32 PM

The point has been made though that the developers really don’t pay for affordable units and neither does the city. Other people in the development pay a higher price to offset the cost of the affordable units the developer is forced to sell. So instead of paying 500k you pay 550k-which only adds to the unaffordability for everyone else as well as contributes to artificially high prices. You’ll loose that equity in your home if you paid too high a price, where as the guy in the affordable unit probably won’t see his equity go down because the city protects them from that. It’s really everyone else in town that’s being screwed by this. Wake up. Can you really afford to pay more for your home so that someone who can’t afford to live here can? I just don’t think most working people have that kind of money. It’s just another tax on the middle income people that buy into developments like Dakota Ridge or Holiday.


4/1/2009 10:35:50 PM

Perhaps Boulder developers could line up and offer”happy endings” to people who can’t afford to live in their new developments?


4/1/2009 11:15:36 PM

Posted by KR on April 1, 2009 at 2:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It takes two incomes and a lot of sacrifice. The single breadwinner making the 120k salary you speak of? Rare.


I agree with you that sidd is being ridiculous when he’s on about back east trust funders. But there is a big disconnect here between what can be bought on the salaries paid. There are 300k houses, but A lot of housing in Boulder needs work-you’re going to pay more than 300k. I read somewhere that a house has a life of 30 years before materials begin to break down and we’re way there for most of our housing. It’s going to cost major money and why you’re seeing so many pops and scrapes around.


Posted by KR on April 1, 2009 at 7:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Like I said, go buy in Longmont. We’ll talk in the “next couple of years” and see who the “poor fool” is at that point.


And you’re wrong about Longmont. They too will see price increases in ten years. People like Tebo wouldn’t be building big shopping villages out there if it was a loosing deal. They’ll rebuild the mall, a light rail might go out there, it’s surrounded by open space which will push up prices, and it’s the straightest commute into boulder. Longmont will get it’s issues worked out.

But I have to say, though I agree with you on some points and think sidd’s obnoxious, this attitude that many people such as yourselves have and vent here on a daily basis, that you’ve got to run down longmont to make yourself feel superior about buying in Boulder, it’s not right.It’s almost like you’re trying to reassure yourselves and not let doubt creep into your mind. It’s really coming off as pathetic.


4/1/2009 11:23:08 PM


Check a mortgage calculator. You obviously have not been home shopping in Boulder or anywhere else in a long time. The reality:

A mortgage of $240K @ 5.5% means a monthly payment of $1362.00. Add in taxes at about $1600/yr and your monthly nut is about $1500. This assumes a down payment of 20% or $60,000 for a house price of $300,000.

There is one detached house in Boulder (Gunbarrel) under that price today, btw. Your back of the envelope calcs justify a viewpoint that is easy to have from the inside looking out…


4/1/2009 11:36:17 PM

And once again a valid, real Boulder problem is reduced to a debate of semantics between by thewealthy “what about me?” elite and pseudo-activists. Sadly, this board is just as mired in ridiculous knee-jerk opinions as the meeting itself. Did any of you even watch this? Or is this just merely a contest of know-it-alls jeering each other for their vapid, empty words. You all might stand to learn something by actually informing yourself of the situation before ranting at each others ignorance and snide judgments.

Macon talked about One Boulder Plaza, like it was the shining beacon of downtown development. And that by requiring the developer to buy up affordable housing elsewhere was somehow better than including them in the actual building. So in his mind, lets keeping cutting off noses to spite our faces. Good idea Macon, lets keep outsourcing this and as such avoiding the issue entirely.Classic strategy by the person who faked outrage at the the 55 foot Robbs Music “redevelopment” and lack of affordable housing…..right before he and the other Council sellouts voted for it.

Good ole business crony, Ken Wilson, took the cake for being the least informed at the meeting however. As he “seriously doubted” there was a reasonable demand for affordable housing in Boulder. This was about 5 seconds before the City Housing official gave us the real facts. That there is a waiting list hundreds of people long, that every “affordable” house that goes on the market sells almost immediately, and lastly that currently the majority of Boulders “affordable housing”is still under construction with projected finish dates at least a year off. Hmmm Ken….as a paid CITY COUNCIL MEMBER did you even bother to research to this topic, or does your mansion on the hill put you so far above everyone that we can now take your feeble, unsubstantiated opinions as fact?

And as usual, the meeting adjorned with nothing being actually done and not a single hard question asked. And why do we continue to allow our city officials to topically debate something they will never address….because its a great distraction and allows corrupt CC members to appear concerned while secretly lobbying the public with falsities. There has yet to be a single discussion with this group was that wasn’t so deadlocked in partisanship, that anything actually happened. They prefer to hand off their responsibilities to a myriad of vastly more corrupt, ineffectual Boards, Panels, and Study Sessions that only exist as a way to subvert progress through bureaucracy.


4/2/2009 5:01:41 PM

Why should private developers be forced to fund Boulder’s socialist experiments?

Free Market economy dictates that they should build the most expensive, most profitable units they can.


4/3/2009 10:45:59 PM

Crooks in suits!


4/4/2009 10:34:08 AM

Well I see Old Ben kenobe changed his handle,

The biggest “Swine Virus” is Old Ben and his mouthing off about peoples private information on other posts..

Don’t tell this guy anything private as he will blab it all over.

Tough guy behind the keyboard, smiles to your face and stabs people in the back to show off and build his fragile little ego..

Your handle was easy to track to who you really are, should I post your private info here?

I wouldn’t do this to you as I respect others privacy…


5/12/2009 8:18:39 PM