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Opportunity Zone Program

Latest News

City Council will discuss potential land use code changes to address the Opportunity Zone moratorium discussed below at its April 2, 2019 meeting. Staff analysis and recommended zoning changes are included in this memorandum to council pdf. No action will be taken on April 2nd, but council may direct staff to move forward with drafting ordinances to adjust the use standards in certain zones.

At the City Council meeting on Feb. 5, 2019, council adopted an emergency moratorium ordinance 8314 pdf, (amending ordinances 8312 pdf and 8308) pdf to temporarily suspend the acceptance of building permits, site review applications and other development applications for projects in the Opportunity Zone located in Boulder (census tract 122.03) that will result in adding non-residential floor area, any demolition that results in the removal of multi-family dwelling units or any nonresidential floor area, or the creation of any new dwelling units that do not meet the requirements of the ordinance until June 22, 2020.

The moratorium is intended to provide time for the city to help prepare for the potential of additional investment in the Opportunity Zone by completing a review of planning and zoning regulations to ensure that investment in the area will be consistent with community values, including those outlined in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. City Council intends to lift requirements of the ordinance as the analysis of each zoning district and planning area is completed.

The ordinance applies to land within the Opportunity Zone (tract 122.03) except for any land in a Business Commercial zone district (BC-1, BC-2) as shown on the Boulder Zoning Districts Map.

The moratorium does not apply to tenant finishes, or conversions of use within an existing building that do not result in new floor area. Other exemptions include:

Complete development applications submitted to the city prior to Dec. 18, 2018; 
Construction of an addition that does not exceed 10 percent of entry floor area or 2,500 sq. ft., whichever is less;
Demolition of any non-residential floor area that does not result in the removal of any exterior walls;
Buildings owned by community-serving Colorado nonprofit organizations, or the construction of any building or conversion of floor area for a museum use; 
Development within the Phase I area of the Transit Village Area Plan (TVAP) adopted in 2007, also known as the Boulder Junction access district; and
Construction of new housing units that meet certain requirements.
More detailed information can be found in Ordinance 8314. Additional information will be posted to this page as it becomes available.

OverviewMap of Opportunity Zone

The Opportunity Zone Program is a federal initiative arising out of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 intended to encourage private investment in low-income urban and rural community properties or businesses by providing a federal tax incentive on long-term investments. The Opportunity Zone located in Boulder (tract 122.03), highlighted on the map on this page, was certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in April 2018. 

Opportunity Zone-related funding may, in certain circumstances, fund public infrastructure or investments providing community benefit (for example, affordable housing, public infrastructure and start-up business investments). Specific business types, as specified by the IRS, are excluded from the program, including golf courses, country clubs, gaming institutions and liquor stores. Recent IRS guidance provides more detail on the establishment, qualification and uses of Opportunity Funds.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury certifies census tracts that meet eligibility requirements as Opportunity Zones. In June 2018, the federal process identifying 8,700 Opportunity Zones across the United States, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories was completed. Certified zones include 126 Opportunity Zones in Colorado, with one located in the city of Boulder and three in other Boulder County communities. Certification lasts 10 years.

Opportunity Zone certification does not affect the applicability of local tax code, zoning pdf or city regulatory authority. Opportunity Zone funds may be used with other incentive programs.

Facts about Boulder's Opportunity Zone

Boulder's census tract 122.03:

  • Comprises a 2.5-square-mile area
  • Includes approximately 4,000 households
  • Includes approximately 1,500 businesses
  • Has a median household income of $51,719 (compared to the city median of $58,484)
  • Includes, among other locations, the Diagonal Plaza area, Boulder Junction, UCAR, two mobile home communities (Orchard Grove and Vista Village) and Boulder Community Hospital

More Information

The city manager approved submitting census tract 122.03 for Opportunity Zone certification based on staff’s analysis of community factors that could be aided by designation, if selected, including housing, affordable commercial, public-private partnerships enhancing infrastructure investments and support for local businesses. In addition to census tract 122.03, there were 11 other eligible census tracts in Boulder, including areas such as Gunbarrel and the Alpine-Balsam area. The city’s primary focus was on providing incentive for redevelopment of the Diagonal Plaza, which is part of census tract 122.03 and which City Council previously had identified as an area in need of redevelopment. Census tract 122.03 includes other properties and many existing businesses across a myriad of industries.


City Priorities and Plans

The following resources are intended to aid potential investor awareness of the community's priorities and applicable zoning, as well as provide context for the greater community.

Additional resources that will be posted in the future include:

  • Local Opportunity Zone FAQ
  • Additional Overlay Maps/Links
  • The Boulder Citywide Retail Study

Opportunity Zone Communication

External Resources



For more information on the federal Opportunity Zones program, contact Yvette Bowden, director of Community Vitality and Parks and Recreation at  [email protected]  or 303-413-7215.

For more information on land use, zoning and regulatory matters, contact Charles Ferro, development review manager, Planning Department, at [email protected] or 303-441-4012.