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The mission of the Department of Planning, Housing and Sustainability is to “collaborate with our community and colleagues to create a sustainable, resilient, equitable and inclusive city, worthy of its setting where we can all thrive together.” The department does this by:

  • Working with our community to define the vision for Boulder’s future;
  • Developing and implementing policies, programs and processes to translate that vision into reality;
  • Collaborating with partners to catalyze action; and
  • Building and nurturing a team of outstanding colleagues and a work environment that cultivates service excellence and continuous improvement.


The PH+S Department encompasses the following divisions:

  • Planning
  • Housing
  • Climate and Sustainability
  • Administration

2018 Operating Budget: $19,714,525
2018 Number of FTE Employees: 71.89

Planning and Development Services (P&DS)
A “service area” known as Planning and Development Services (P+DS) coordinates the development-related functions across the PH+S and Public Works departments.



The Planning division contains four work groups – Comprehensive Planning, Development Review, Information Resources, and the City Design Team.

Comprehensive Planning leads planning and policy development projects and programs, including long range planning, historic preservation, and ecological planning. The division develops and implements the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP), prepares area plans and other special planning efforts, manages the historic preservation program, and coordinates both the urban wildlife management program and integrated pest management program.

Development Review provides project review and zoning administration services for the community and customers. Working with other work groups in the Planning and Development Services Center, the Development Review team helps ensure consistent application of city regulations and policies in both “by right” and discretionary review projects. The group also coordinates regular updates to the city’s land use code and development regulations, and oversees annexation processes.

Information Resources provides services that use technology to streamline and automate business functions. These include maintenance of systems that track land management, permitting, licensing, asset management, geographic information systems (GIS), records, research and reporting services. Information Resources also works with customers and staff to make information more readily available in a clear and concise manner.

The City Design Team leads urban design and architecture for the city. This includes facilitating community dialogue and providing leadership to achieve design excellence in the city’s built environment, acting as a technical urban design resource for the city, and playing a leadership role on special projects involving complex design issues.

  • 2018 Operating Budget: $5,255,574
  • 2018 Number of FTE Employees: 39.09


The Housing Division includes three workgroups – Community Investment, Homeownership, and Planning and Policy.

Community Investment uses city and federal resources in collaboration with partner organizations to increase and preserve the community’s affordable housing stock, support the capital needs of nonprofit service providers, and ensure appropriate oversight and compliance monitoring of these investments.

Homeownership serves the community by promoting and implementing affordable homeownership opportunities, qualifying and managing homeowner applicants, helping to match qualified households with permanently affordable for-sale home opportunities, and ensuring operation of the program in a manner consistent with city policies and community values.

Planning and Policy leads initiatives to address community housing needs through community and stakeholder engagement; supportive policy, market and data analysis; and development of effective policies and programs, working in collaboration with Comprehensive Planning and others.  The group also partners with Development Review and works directly with developer applicants to implement the city’s inclusionary housing ordinance in new developments and annexations. The group establishes and monitors appropriate metrics to measure program success and effectiveness.

  • 2018 Operating Budget: $9,885,044
  • 2018 Number of FTE Employees: 14.00

Climate and Sustainability

The Climate and Sustainability division includes three work groups – Climate and Energy, Zero Waste and Regional Sustainability.

Climate and Energy works with Boulder businesses, residents and key partners to reduce energy use in the city through energy efficiency and local renewable energy development, using a combination of education, incentives, technical assistance and regulatory requirements. Climate and Energy also responds to the challenge of climate change and develops effective strategies to achieve deep reductions in local carbon emissions, guided by the long-term goal of 80 percent reduction in emissions (from 2005) by 2050.

Zero Waste works with key partners and the Boulder community, as well as with the city organization, to reduce the generation of waste and divert reusable resources to the maximum extent possible through a combination of policy development, education, incentives, investments in zero waste facilities, technical assistance and regulatory requirements.

Regional Sustainability increases the city’s effectiveness in achieving its sustainability agenda throughout the community and the region through partnerships with groups such as the University of Colorado, Boulder Valley School District (BVSD), Boulder County, other cities, state and federal agencies and legislators.

  • 2018 Operating Budget: $3,356,225
  • 2018 Number of FTE Employees: 12.20


Administration provides administrative, financial and communications services to both external and internal customers by administering and providing support to the department’s programs and projects. 

  • 2018 Operating Budget: $1,217,682
  • 2018 Number of FTE Employees: 6.60