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Development-Related Impact Fees and Excise Taxes

​Development-Related Impact Fees and Excise Taxes Update

On April 17, 2018 the City Council will hold a public hearing to consider an ordinance to change the affordable housing commercial linkage fee. The ordinance considers three changes:

  • An increase of the fees for all uses, with office uses increasing  $25 to $35 per sq. ft. 
  • A provision to assist nonprofit organizations with rates that remain at today's levels
  • A phasing of the increase over three years, beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

Memo for April 17, 2018 Public Hearing: First Reading of Ordinance 8247 revising the affordable housing commercial linkage fee pdf

On Feb. 20, 2018 the City Council held a discussion to consider changing the affordable housing commercial linkage fee. 

Feb 7, 2017 - City Council approved changes to the Capital Facility Impact Fees and the Affordable Housing Linkage Fee. The updated fee and tax changes will go into effect on July 1, 2017 . Development impact fees and excise taxes are assessed at the time of building permit application. To find more information on the detailed rate increases, visit this page

Final Studies and Ordinances

Graphic timeline showing project phases and a callout for July 1 effective date

The principle that "growth will be expected to pay its own way," as well as a share of the cost to offset the impact to existing infrastructure, is enshrined in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP), Policy 1.30 . The city requires private developers to construct any city infrastructure that directly benefits their project, such as sewer and water mains, road improvements and multi-use paths. 

In the fall of 2015, City Council directed staff to start a review of these fees and taxes. The policy analysis phase began in March, and staff along with consulting firms, TischlerBise and Keyser Marston Associates, worked with a community stakeholder group and City Council to complete this project. Memos and the presentations given at those hearings can be seen below in the section for City Council memos and presentations .

In February 2017, City of Boulder concluded updating the studies that support the fees and taxes it charges to ensure that new development pays its share for needed facilities and services. Development-related impact fees and excise taxes help the city build new facilities, purchase equipment such as fire trucks, develop multimodal transportation facilities and support affordable housing. 










This section contains prior studies by consultants, memos to City Council, BVCP policies and other background material.

City Council Memos

Feb. 7, 2017 -  Public Hearing - 2nd Reading of an Ordinance for Changes for the Affordable Housing Commercial Linkage Fee

Jan. 17, 2017 - Consent Item - 1st Reading of Changes for Affordable Housing Commercial Linkage Fee

Nov. 15, 2016 - Public Hearing -   2nd Reading Ordinance 8152 and Final Direction on Commercial Linkage Fee

​Nov. 1, 2016 - Consent Item - 1st Reading of Changes to Capital Facility Impact Fees and Transportation

Sept. 20, 2016 - Matters from the City Manager Agenda Item - Final Direction on Capital Facilities and Transportation

Aug. 30, 2016 - Study Session - Follow Up to June 14

June 14, 2016 - Study Session - Narrowing the Options

April 12, 2016 - Study Session - Draft Reports

Oct. 13, 2015  - Study Session - Scope and Introduction of Consultants

Additional studies and resources

Capital Impact Fees and Excise Taxes

Transportation background

Housing background

General background links, information, and reference material


Development Fees Technical Working Group

To assist the city and its consultants in developing recommendations for the studies and potential fee or tax changes, the city organized a technical working group to provide input and feedback on the work products being prepared for different components of the project. Members of the group were selected to represent a diverse group of stakeholders in the community. Members of the community are welcome to attend and observe the working group's meetings. Meeting agendas and information packets will be posted online in advance of the meetings. 

Technical Working Group "Virtual Binder"

Information and reports the technical working group receives prior to each meeting is posted here. To open a binder, click on the blue text.

Preliminary information

Meeting 1 - Feb. 2, 2016

Meeting 2 - March 2, 2016

Meeting 3 - May 9, 2016

Technical Working Group meeting No. 3
Library Boulder Creek Room -1001 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80302
6 to 9 pm

Meeting will include a review, presentation and discussion of the draft reports and recommendations for all four project components.



The city has a policy that new growth should pay its own way, which is articulated in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP). Policy 1.30 states:

1.30 Growth to Pay Fair Share of New Facility Costs

Since the public costs of annexation and developing several areas concurrently could prove excessive, the city will limit said costs to those, which can reasonably be accommodated within the Capital Improvements Program and are compatible with anticipated revenues. When permitting additional development or redevelopment, the city will consider whether public facilities and services are adequate to reasonably maintain current levels of service or service standards given the impacts of such additional development or committed funding sources for such adequate facilities are sufficient to ensure their provision in a timely fashion. Growth will be expected to pay its own way, with the requirement that new development pay the cost of providing needed facilities and an equitable share of services including affordable housing, and to mitigate negative impacts such as those to the transportation system.

To the extent this policy is implemented, it is through the BVCP Service Standards and Criteria, (BVCP Policy 1.27) Departmental Master Plans, and development excise taxes, and impact fees, city sales and use tax, and user fees.

City Council last fall directed staff to start a review of these fees and taxes. The policy analysis phase began in March, and staff gave council updates at study sessions in April and June. Memos and the presentations given at those hearings can be seen above in the section for City Council memos and presentations .

The city hired consultants;TischlerBise and Keyser Marston Associates to conduct the study and formed a technical working group to contribute feedback as the process goes forward.

Public Meetings

For more information about how these fees and taxes are calculated and collected, see the video of the presentation from the special seminar the city hosted on the subject in February. The seminar was developed as an introductory-level class for community members with no prior knowledge of how impact fees work. This handout pdf was distributed at the seminar, and these are the presentation slides pdf.

A public information session was held on Aug. 31, 2016 to provide information on the project to date, findings from the studies, and final options as directed from Council. The information session included staff stations for Development Fees 101, Capital Facility Impact Fees, Transportation and Affordable Housing. A handout was available at each station.Handout and information packet pdf

Requirements of New Development

The city requires private development to construct any city infrastructure that directly benefits the site (such as sewer, water and storm sewer mains, detention facilities, road improvements, sidewalks, multi-use paths) and dedicate to the city any necessary easements on the site (such as flood control & conveyance, utility, and pedestrian easements).

When a development enters the discretionary review process (such as site review), additional items are requested to be provided by private development such as higher quality and enduring materials, enhanced site amenities, (landscaping, lighting, benches, bike racks, etc.) energy performance upgrades and public spaces. 

Facilities that are directly attributable to new growth, such as basic infrastructure like streets, utilities and drainage, are required to be provided by the developer creating the impacts or the need for infrastructure.  The land use code also includes laws that allow property owners to construct infrastructure early and collect assessments for later developing properties that also directly benefit from the construction of facilities.

For properties that require annexation to come into the city, in addition to the improvements described above, are also required to demonstrate “community benefit” under the BVCP Policy 1.24.

Development Related Fees and Taxes Update

The city is currently updating the development-related fee studies. The city has retained TischlerBise and Keyser Marston Associates to assist in the analysis. The update is examining four different areas:

  1. An update of the 2009 Impact Fee study .  This update will include all of the components of the Capital Facility Impact Fee (Fire, Human Services, Library, Municipal Services, Parks and Recreation, and Police) and an update to the Park land component of the Excise Tax Study. This update will look at the current and projected development, and capital facility needs. (TischlerBise)
  1. A study of both the capital and operating impacts to multimodal transportation facilities and services of new development . The purpose of the study would be to develop a multimodal transportation impact fee and/or excise tax as well as other mechanisms to provide capital improvements and possibly initial and on-going operations and maintenance funding associated with new development. This study will go beyond impact fees and into operational funding tools including some level of consideration of both the needed capital facilities created by new growth as well as identifying revenue sources for both capital facility deficiencies and associated revenues to sustainably fund programs, operations and maintenance. (TischlerBise)
  1. Affordable Housing Linkage Fee on Non-Residential Development . The city recently adopted an affordable housing linkage fee that was recommended by the 2009 impact fee and excise tax studies. This component will include preparation of a nexus study for an affordable housing linkage fee on new non-residential development that would mitigate the need for affordable and workforce housing created by the development. (Keyser Marston Associates)
  1. Preparation of a study to create a public art program for new development . The City Council will soon be considering a recommendation in the Community Cultural Plan to establish a public art program, which will require a sustainable and sufficient source of funding to implement.  The purpose of this study would be to identify best practices across the country including both regulatory and fee based approaches, and recommend options for the city to develop a program. (Keyser Marston Associates)


Chris Meschuk, at [email protected] or 303-441-4293.