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Planning, Housing and Sustainability


The mission of the Department of Planning, Housing and Sustainability is to “collaborate with our community and colleagues to create a truly great and sustainable city, worthy of its setting.” The department does this by:

  • Working with the Boulder community to articulate a shared vision for the city's future;
  • Promoting long-term sustainability, resilience and community quality through comprehensive, strategic planning and application of the community's values and sustainability principles in guiding preservation, new development and redevelopment in the city;
  • Preserving and providing safe, quality affordable housing opportunities through community planning, application of land use and regulatory tools, investment, regional collaboration and funding of programs;
  • Engaging the community to promote education and facilitate action for community sustainability and resilience; and
  • Supporting others in the city organization and community to carry out their mission in service of the community's planning, housing and sustainability goals.


The PH+S Department encompasses the following divisions:

  • Planning
  • Housing
  • Climate and Sustainability
  • Administration

2016 Operating Budget: $14,975,562
2016 Number of FTE Employees: 67.72

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



Comprehensive Planning leads planning and policy development projects and programs.  It includes long range planning, historic preservation, and ecological planning.  The division develops and implements the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, 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, zoning administration and enforcement services for the community and customers. Working with other work groups of 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.

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.

  • 2016 Operating Budget: $4,306,672
  • 2016 Number of FTE Employees: 36.56


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 to implement the city’s inclusionary housing ordinance in new development and annexations and helps establish and monitor appropriate metrics to measure program success and effectiveness.

Community Investment utilizes 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, 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.

  • 2016 Operating Budget: $6,059,449
  • 2016 Number of FTE Employees: 14.95

Climate and Sustainability

Climate Commitment leads collaborative processes with other departments and work groups as well as with the Boulder community to understand and respond to the challenge of climate change, and develop effective strategies to achieve deep reductions in local carbon emissions, guided by the long-term goal of 80% reduction in emissions (from 2005) by 2050.

Energy Services works with Boulder businesses, residents and key partners to reduce energy use in the city through energy efficiency, conservation and site-based renewable energy development, using a combination of education, incentives, technical assistance and regulatory requirements.  

Zero Waste works with key partners and the Boulder community as well as 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.

  • 2016 Operating Budget: $3,184,549
  • 2016 Number of FTE Employees: 11.05


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

  • 2016 Operating Budget: $682,916
  • 2016 Number of FTE Employees: 5.16
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