A bill pending before the Colorado State Legislature would make it possible for local governments to require the creation of affordable housing in new development projects.
House Bill 1117 is a response to a Colorado State Supreme Court ruling handed down more than two decades ago saying that it was illegal for a city or town to require that developers make available a portion of their developments for affordable housing units.
The court determined that such ordinances are essentially a form of rent control prohibited by state law.
Now, under the bill proposed by Representative Susan Lontine, local governments will be able to foster affordable housing requirements, but in so doing they will have the choice of either building that housing at another site or contributing financially to an affordable housing fund.
The measure is being seen as one way of addressing what is regarded as a lack of affordable housing in the growing state of Colorado, where average rents now exceed $1,300 a month.
Among the groups opposing the legislation is the Investment Community of the Rockies, a realtor’s association maintaining that “unfunded affordable housing mandates will stifle the development of new housing and transfer the full cost of subsidized rent to the other residents in the community.”
The bill, which has passed the Colorado House Transportation and Local Government Committee, is now on its way to the full House.
By Garry Boulard
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