Boulder County Rejects Current House Size Plan

The Boulder County Planning Commission has spent over a year working on a house-size plan but we’re still waiting on the final outcome.

Wednesday, the commission sent a plan to county commissioners but it neglected to include any hard data on size restrictions. Instead, it said that the county should pursue a plan to restrict large houses and preserve small houses but that they weren’t ready approve the current draft.

The current plan referred to as the ‘expanded transfer of development right” or TDR program for short, is still in the works it seems and there’s no clear indication of when we’ll see firm numbers.

There have been four drafts of the TDR program. The most recent outlined intentions to limit the size of new houses built in unincorporated Boulder county. The draft outlined a limit of a max of 3500 sq feet in the suburban mountains and 5500 sq feet in the suburban plains.

The commission seems to agree that on the one hand they couldn’t approve the draft due to complicated language and arbitrary thresholds; and on the other hand, all felt that some kind of limits are important. One commissioner feels that there is a distinct relationship between size and sustainability goals.

I think this is the essential point with the plans the commission has been working on. Sustainability and green building may be buzz words but there’s substance behind these ideas. I’m glad to see Boulder county continueing to work on this and I just hope that the rules that eventually become implemented will not make it cost prohibitive for homeowners.

The county commissioners will review the TDR program again next month and they can figure out if they want to get rid of the program implement the latest draft or send it back. All are options of course but I think it’s unlikely that the program will completely go away so be prepared for some kind of change coming soon.

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