Boulder Real Estate Home Size Limits

Homes in the Boulder real estate market have been in jeopardy of being tightly restricted in recent months as the city council considers legislation to limit the size of a home should you choose to remodel or build new.

Boulder City Council recently backed away from an emergency action to limit home expansions at its meeting on March 18. In an email posted on March 17 councilor Macon Cowles proposed a severe, city-wide .35 floor area ratio (FAR).

The proposal suggested that the .35 FAR would be an interim ordinance until the end of 2008, while city officials developed and adopted permanent regulations.

Apparently that drew a firestorm of critics which resulted in hundreds of emails to the Boulder City Council. The opposition reportedly ran upward of 90 percent. Also, a coalition of community leaders, including the Boulder Area Realtors Association, engaged in broad outreach that produced a significant number of these communications.

The City Planning Board was scheduled to take up the interim ordinance this Thursday, March 27, but that was pushed back to April 3. That means the Council will not take the issue up again until its April 8 meeting, at the earliest, with possible adoption of an interim ordinance on April 22.

It is now very unlikely Council will adopt an interim home expansion regulation as severe and restrictive as was proposed and it is likely such and interim measure will be limited to six months rather that the two years we’ve heard about earlier.

I hope to see very limited restrictions that address only the out of scale home expansions while respecting the property rights and well being of Boulder’s home owners.

Here’s a link to a City of Boulder FAR/Neighborhood Character Survey. If you are a city resident, you should fill it out and send it in to Council so they have your input before they begin considering exactly how they will regulate home expansions in the future.

If you have family, friends, clients or customers who could be affected by these types of regulations, pass the survey along and encourage them to respond.

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