The Broomfield City Council voted to take the position to oppose the SB23-213 land use legislation at a special meeting held Tuesday, April 4. Overall, Broomfield’s view on SB23-213 is that it expands state authority by imposing a top-down, blanket approach to address some of the most complex and challenging issues we are facing, specifically affordable or income aligned housing.
Several council members stated in Tuesday’s meeting that they appreciate the goals set forth in the bill, but they and Broomfield staff are very concerned about many things including preemption of local control, removing local input from land use decisions, and mandates that would be imposed, especially without clear direction on funding for those mandates.
In their meeting, several city council members stated the importance of affordable housing for the Broomfield community and the state of Colorado, which is why the Broomfield City Council identified housing affordability as a top priority beginning in 2015 and have made great progress in the last few years.
It is also a concern for the Broomfield City Council and staff that, if passed, this bill will change fundamental aspects of local land use decisions. As currently written, the bill does not provide for each community to be able to address the uniqueness of their housing markets and it denies Coloradans and their local government officials the ability to determine what is right for their communities.
“I share our staff’s great concerns about the bill’s unprecedented preemption of home rule authority. I think removing local input from land use decisions would be a step in the wrong direction for our state,” Mayor Guyleen Castriotta said. “I am also concerned that the extra layers of bureaucracy and regulations in this legislation would potentially restrict development of new housing instead of encouraging it.”
One sentiment echoed by most city council members was the concern of the many inflexible minimum code standards in this legislation which does not take into account the unique challenges and solutions required for individual local governments. There is no one solution that will fit all communities and stripping local governments of their ability to address the individual land use challenges they’ve been elected to address is not the answer.
“I truly wish severely impacted municipalities had been brought to the table sooner to help craft legislation that would better address the issues regarding housing affordability,” said Castriotta. “While I and this council cannot support SB23-213, we believe that there is much that can be done to advance housing affordability and we are committed to continuing those efforts in Broomfield.”
The Broomfield City Council and staff have been following this bill for months, although the specific bill language was not introduced until March 22. City council directed staff to review and analyze the bill and to identify staff concerns on what impacts the bill would have both fiscally and operationally. An outline of key concerns identified by Broomfield staff was shared with city council and the public last week.
Mayor Castriotta, along with other Councilmembers, plan to testify on SB23-213 tomorrow at the state capitol.