Developers hold up Colorado bill on affordable-housing
The Denver Post
A bill supporters hope will preserve affordable housing, especially in pricey ski-resort towns, has stoked the ire of developers and landlords, who equate it to New York-style rent control.
The legislation, House Bill 1017, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village, has already passed the House and a Senate committee. But its journey to the Senate floor has slowed as supporters seek to ease concerns of opponents.
Proponents, which include cities, counties, local affordable housing authorities and advocates for the poor, say the legislation is needed because of a 2000 Colorado Supreme Court case. In the case, the court ruled that a Telluride ordinance requiring developers to build affordable housing violated Colorado’s law banning rent controls.
Proponents worry the ruling is being used to unravel existing voluntary agreements between local governments and developers.
“You can have speculators coming in and snatching up properties where you have an agreement in place and going to court to get them thrown out,” said Kevin Bommer, a lobbyist for the Colorado Municipal League.
“If you’ve got two willing parties to something, that ought to be protected by law,” he said.
The bill clarifies that agreements between a government entity and a developer setting aside land for affordable housing are legal. It also calls for such agreements to remain in place if the property is sold.
But apartment owners and developers say the bill does not make clear the agreements would be strictly “voluntary.”
As a result, they claim, the bill allows cities and counties to strong-arm developers into including affordable units in order to get permission to build the property.