The objective of this council priority is to consider an ordinance to increase affordable housing by revising density calculations, reducing parking, restrictions and looking at other zoning amendments that could better, incentive smaller, more affordable housing

  1. Plan

  2. Community Engagement

  3. Design

  4. Complete

Current Phase

Project Overview

The goal of this council priority is to amend the land use code in higher density zoning districts to provide flexibility for a wider range of affordable and attainable housing types through changes to how density is calculated by converting lot area or open space per dwelling unit to floor area ratios and reduced parking requirements.


One of the core values of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan is a commitment to “a diversity of housing types and price ranges.” There are many standards in Boulder’s land use code that determine the type, size, and number of housing units that can be built, particularly the code’s “intensity standards” (minimum lot area, minimum open space, maximum floor area ratio) as well as the parking requirements for housing. This project will consider updates to those standards that may create barriers to the development of smaller, more easily attainable housing.

Latest Updates

City Council has asked staff to explore changes to the Land Use Code which would remove zoning barriers to affordable housing by allowing more housing units where appropriate, enable more small, modest sized housing and allow the possibility for a greater diversity of housing types in the community.

The Housing Advisory Board discussed the project on March 22 and City Council on March 23. Both provided input on which potential options to focus on moving forward.

Community Engagement Opportunities

We want to hear from you! Share your thoughts in a short questionnaire on occupancy and zoning for affordable housing in Boulder.

  • June 15 - City Council open comment - an overview of feedback and further analysis of the proposal will be presented. Send comments to council in advance of the June 15 meeting.

City Council has asked that an ordinance to change the Land Use Code be brought before council by September 2023. Comments or questions about the project can be directed to Karl Guiler, Senior Policy Advisor.

Projected Timeline

  • Nov. 2022 – Update City Council on project status at Study Session
  • Dec. 2022 – Feb. 2023– Develop scope of project, community engagement plan and potential code change options
  • Mar. 2023 – City Council study session to discuss scope of work, community engagement and potential options
  • Mar. – July 2023 – Options refinement, community engagement and code change drafting
  • July – Sept. 2023 – Ordinance review by Planning Board and City Council. Potential adoption of ordinance and completion of project.