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ADU Update

ADU Update

2018 Accessory Dwelling Unit Update

 

New ADU Regulation Adopted

City Council adopted Ordinance 8256 on Dec. 4, 2018 amending standards for accessory dwelling units that address parking, saturation, allowed zones, unit size, lot size, design, the five-year requirement, permit renewals, short-term rentals and accessory unit occupancy.

A 2-page summary of the changes is available here pdf.

Ordinance 8256 with underline and strikethrough language is available here pdf. If you have questions about how the new regulations affect your property, project specialists in the Development Services Center are available to assist you at 1739 Broadway, third floor (303-441-1880, or www.bouldercolorado.gov/plan-develop).

 


Background

City Council responded to community requests to encourage the creation of new Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) by requesting that staff bring forward a list of incremental changes to city regulations that better allow accessory units while still addressing potential neighborhood impacts. Council has identified this as a work plan item for the past several years. On Aug. 22, staff presented council with a list of potential regulatory changes that would remove some of the barriers to creating accessory units, including but not limited to, addressing standards regarding unit concentration, sizes, and parking. The project will include incremental and focused changes to the regulations, not wholesale changes.

Why Statement 

Accessory units have been discussed as one tool to address Boulder’s housing challenges over the past decade or more to help provide “a diversity of housing types and price ranges,” which is a core value of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. The current regulations regarding accessory units are intentionally restrictive and have resulted in a relatively small number of legal accessory units (230 as of January 2018) being constructed since the first ordinance was adopted in 1983.

Purpose Statement   

The city, with the community, will craft a proposal for incremental changes to the relevant regulations addressing accessory units (i.e., Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Owner’s Accessory Units (OAUs)) to simplify the regulations and remove apparent barriers to the construction of this housing type in ways that are compatible with neighborhoods.

The ADU Update project is intended to achieve the following:

  • Provide additional flexibility to homeowners to stay in their homes by allowing for options that may either create supplemental revenue sources or allow for aging in place on the property.
  • Increase workforce and long-term rental housing opportunities while balancing potential impacts to existing neighborhoods.

Important Dates

City Council voted on Nov. 8, 2018 to adopt incremental changes to regulations that removed some of the barriers to creating accessory units (also known as garage flats, or in-law apartments). On Feb. 27, City Council held a study session to review a survey of ADU owners in Boulder, the results of community engagement activities, and staff recommended regulation changes. Based on council feedback, staff refined the list of options for proposed regulation changes and requested community input prior to the formal public hearings with the Housing Advisory Board, Planning Board and City Council.

Below are the important dates and materials from the adoption process.

April 24, 2018 – Housing Advisory Board Public Hearing

The newly created Housing Advisory Board held a formal public meeting on the ADU Update and made a recommendation to City Council for consideration in June. View the staff recommendation here:

https://bouldercolorado.gov/boards-commissions/housing-advisory-board pdf

Location: Alfalfa's Market - Community Room
1651 Broadway (SW Corner of Broadway and Arapahoe Ave.), Boulder, CO 80302
Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Time: 5 p.m.

May 3, 2018 – Planning Board Public Hearing

Planning Board held a formal public meeting on the ADU Update and made a recommendation to City Council for consideration in June. View the staff recommendation here:

Staff Recommendation to City Council pdf

Location: Council Chambers, Municipal Building, 2nd Floor
1777 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302
Date: Thursday, May 3, 2018
Time: 6 p.m.  

June 5, 2018 – City Council Public Hearing

City Council held a formal public hearing on the ADU Update. City Council closed the public comment portion of the hearing and continued the discussion to July 17. View the agenda and staff memo here, including the recommendations from Planning Board and the Housing Advisory Board: 

ADU Update Memo June 5, 2018

Location: Council Chambers, Municipal Building, 2nd Floor
1777 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302
Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Time: 6 p.m.  

August 29, 2018 City Council Public Hearing continued (special meeting)

City Council passed to 3rd reading an alternative ordinance with changes unanimously. The 3rd reading is currently scheduled for October 2 (see the October 2 meeting below for more details).

Location: Council Chambers, Municipal Building, 2nd Floor
1777 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302
Date: Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Time: 6 p.m.  

October 2, 2018, City Council Third Reading

City Council will continue the adoption process for the ADU Update. There will not be an opportunity for public comment because the public comment portion of the hearing was closed on June 5. On August 29, council passed an alternate ordinance to third reading. On October 2, City Council will consider an amended ordinance based on direction from the council motion that passed unanimously. Below is a link to the staff memo and the amended ordinance. Please note that the effective date of a new ordinance will be April 1, 2019 to allow city staff time to create the internal processes to accept the different type of ADU applications. Also, the ordinance may change between now and adoption (currently scheduled for October 16) and that the city will not be able to accept applications for ADUs under the new regulations until April 1, 2019.

ADU Update Memo and Amended Ordinance 8256 - October 2, 2018 pdf  

Location: Council Chambers, Municipal Building, 2nd Floor 1777 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302
Date: Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Time: 6 p.m.

October 16, 2018, City Council Fourth Reading

City Council will continue the adoption process for the ADU Update. There will not be an opportunity for public comment because the public comment portion of the hearing was closed on June 5. On October 16, City Council will consider an amended ordinance based on the council adopted motion from October 2 (see below).

ADU Update Memo and Amended Ordinance 8256 - October 16, 2018 pdf

Location: Council Chambers, Municipal Building, 2nd Floor 1777 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302
Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Time: 6 p.m.

November 8, 2018 – City Council Fifth Reading

City Council will continue the adoption process for the ADU Update. There will not be an opportunity for public comment because the public comment portion of the hearing was closed on June 5. November 8 will be the fifth and final reading assuming no additional changes are requested. This is the potential adoption date. However, the implementation date of a new ordinance will be February 1, 2019 to allow city staff time to create the internal processes to accept the different type of ADU applications.

ADU Update Memo and Amended Ordinance 8256 - November 8, 2018 pdf

Location: Council Chambers, Municipal Building, 2nd Floor
1777 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302
Date: Thursday, November 8, 2018
Time: 6 p.m.  

 

December 4, 2018 – City Council Sixth Reading

City Council will continue the adoption process for the ADU Update. There will not be an opportunity for public comment because the public comment portion of the hearing was closed on June 5. December 4 will be the sixth and final reading assuming no additional changes are requested. This is the potential adoption date. However, the implementation date of a new ordinance will be February 1, 2019 to allow city staff time to create the internal processes to accept the different type of ADU applications.

ADU Update Memo and Amended Ordinance 8256 - December 4, 2018 pdf

Location: Council Chambers, Municipal Building, 2nd Floor
1777 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302
Date: Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Time: 6 p.m.  
 

Open Houses

The city launched an update to the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) regulations with two open houses, one in north Boulder and one in south Boulder, to solicit community input prior to crafting a proposal.

South Boulder - Nov. 27, 2017

Location: St Paul's United Methodist Church
4215 Grinnell Ave, Boulder, CO 80305
Date: Monday, Nov. 27 - COMPLETED - View Comments From Event pdf
Time: 5 – 7 p.m. 
(drop in any time, an optional presentation will start promptly at 6pm) 

North Boulder - Dec. 11, 2017

Location: Shinning Mountain Waldorf School
1179 Union Ave., Boulder, CO 80304 
Date: Monday, Dec. 11 -  COMPLETED  - View Comments From Event pdf
Time: 5 – 7 p.m. 
(drop in any time, an optional presentation will start promptly at 6pm) 

Central Boulder - Mar. 15, 2018

Location: St Paul's Boulder Public Library - Canyon Theater
1001 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80302
Date: Thursday, Mar. 15 - COMPLETED - View Comments From Event pdf
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.  

 

Online Feedback Results

Be Heard Boulder, the city's new online engagement platform, was used to gather opinions on the proposed recommendations to ADU regulations. View the results here pdf.

Feedback from the Public 

How does the ADU Update process relate to the nine-step decision-making process adopted by council on Nov. 21 as part of the Engagement Strategic Framework? View memo here pdf.

Open Houses

What we've heard during the open houses:

Share Your ADU Experience Online Form

What we've heard online through the "Share Your ADU Experience" online form:

Be Heard Boulder Recommendation Survey

  


Why Statement 

Accessory units have been discussed as one tool to address Boulder’s housing challenges over the past decade or more to help provide “a diversity of housing types and price ranges,” which is a core value of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. The current regulations regarding accessory units are intentionally restrictive and have resulted in a relatively small number of legal accessory units (230 as of January 2018) being constructed since the first ordinance was adopted in 1983.

Where are ADUs?

 

ADU Map - 2017

Map of ADUs in Boulder from 2012

Click Map for the full view.

Where are ADUs Allowed?

Allowed Zone Map for ADUs

Zone map for allowed ADUs

Click Map for the full view.

Allowed Zone Map for OAUs

Zone Map for allowed OAUs

Click Map for the full view.

 


Accessory Dwelling Unit Survey 2017

A new ADU survey was sent to the 230 owners of accessory units in Boulder to update the 2012 study. The 2017 survey response rate was 70 percent and includes a comparison of the 2012 and 2017 results. The full report is available here pdf, and a summary of key findings is below:

Key Findings 2017 Survey

  • For most respondents (74 percent), supplemental income through rental of the ADU was the reason they had created or retained the ADU and also supplemental income was also seen as the primary benefit.
  • When asked if they had noticed an increase in their property taxes after building their ADU, 20 percent said they noticed a large one and 18 percent said they noticed a small increase. About 30 percent said they had not really noticed an increase, and 33 percent could not remember.
  • When respondents were able to make an estimate of the annual household income of their ADU tenants:
  • 35 percent were estimated to have incomes of less than $40,000;
  • 40 percent were between $40,000 to $80,000; and
  • 25 percent were more than $80,000.
  • Overall, about 1 percent of ADU owners reported receiving occasional complaints about their unit from their neighbors. When examined by type of unit, OAU owners received zero occasional complaints, while 1 percent of ADU owners reported receiving occasional complaints.

 Read the full report is available here pdf,

 

Current Uses for ADUs

ADU Usage Pie Chart Graphic - Long-Term 64%, Short-term 11%, For Visitors 6%, Other 5%, For Relatives 5%, Owner Occupied and rents out main 4%, Extra Space 3%, Rental in exchange 1%

 

Ages of ADU Occupants

Ages of ADU Occupants - Not Occupied or Rented, 19%; 1 or more under 18, 4%; 1 or more 18-29, 36%; 1 or more 30-65, 59% and 1 or more 65 plus, 11%

 


Community Engagement - Project Milestones

1. Launch Community Engagement and Complete Foundations Work. Oct - Dec 2017

Create a community engagement plan pdf that meets Council and Planning Board expectations for an incremental change to the regulations related to accessory units. The initial engagement will focus on getting community feedback on the draft WHY and PURPOSE statements and the draft list of focused code changes – prior to crafting a specific proposal.

  • Clearly articulate and communicate the scope of this effort and what is not getting addressed.

  • Reinforce the incremental nature, rather than whole sale change.

  • Clearly identify project milestones where community input into the process is most effective.

  • Conduct additional qualitative and quantitative analysis to update and support the 2012 ADU Study.  The information will be used to understand how neighbors of existing ADUs perceive impacts from the units.

  • Continue to explore options for ensuring ADUs are affordable (either through covenants, voluntary agreements, or incentives such as fee waivers).

  • Community Outreach in October/November 2017 – Planning Board meeting to seek input prior to public meetings on the following: discussion of DRAFT why statement, DRAFT purpose statement, and the draft list of focused code changes.

  • Hold 2 separate open houses in November (North and South Boulder) to request input on the above. Open house will include posters on background materials, draft why and purpose statement.

  • Create the opportunity for attendees to share their ADU story (written or video).

  • Explore opportunities to combine outreach efforts with the Building Height project.

  • Issue an open invitation to meet with any stakeholder.

Deliverables: Detailed project schedule; community engagement plan; final why and purpose statements; draft list of focused code changes; Planning Board meeting; project website and project launch press release.

2. Community Discussion Draft Proposal. January - February 2018

Based on community and board input from previous engagement, publish a discussion draft of a staff report that identifies barriers and details potential changes to the ordinance. This will include additional analysis and data collection to support the discussion draft and a summary of community engagement activities and input to date.

  • Community Outreach in – review of discussion draft. Hold 3-5 separate open houses in January (North, Central, East and South Boulder) to request input.

  • Conduct targeted outreach (coffee talks, office hours, meetings with stakeholders, etc.)

  • Coordinate outreach with the Building Height project.

  • Issue an open invitation to meet with any stakeholder.

Deliverables: Discussion Draft Proposal; survey results

3. Planning Board and Council Public Hearings. Mar - Apr 2018

Based on community input, publish a Planning Board memo with a staff recommendation for a final round of community events to inform the public hearings with Planning Board and City Council. Included in the recommendation will be a summary of community input and how that input shaped the contents of the proposal.

Community Outreach – public hearings with the Planning Board and City Council. Deliverables: Planning Board and Council memos; Adopted Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance.

Deliverables: Planning Board and Council memos; Adopted Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance.


Notice of Nondiscrimination

Equal Housing Opportunity logo

The City of Boulder, Division of Housing does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation or military status in any of its programs, services or activities.

Reasonable Accommodation

The Department of Housing and Human Services, upon request, will provide appropriate aids and services leading to effective communication for qualified persons with disabilities so they can participate equally in programs, services and activities. Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid, communication service, or a reasonable accommodation to participate in a program, service, or activity of the Department, should call the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator at 303-441-3231. For hearing or speech impaired residents, please dial 7-1-1 for Relay Colorado.

For more information on legal notices and resources, visit: bouldercolorado.gov/housing/legal-notices