DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado needs more solutions for housing.
The governor and state lawmakers both said solving the state’s housing crisis was a priority at the start of this year’s session, but as time runs out, two separate bills relating to housing took big blows within 24 hours.
A bill that took aim at Colorado’s rent prices failed in committee Tuesday night. A separate bill looking to open the door to more types of housing development got a big adjustment Wednesday morning.
The bills are two different policies, but advocates of both measures say their goal is to provide more affordable housing so people can continue to live and work in Colorado.
Local control at issue in housing bills
Both measures also deal with local control. The rent measure would have given localities the ability to introduce rent control.
Gov. Jared Polis was skeptical about that measure. It failed in committee, with three Democrats voting for it and one Democrat joining three Republicans in voting against it.
A measure the governor is behind is a land use measure. The original bill called for Colorado cities to use more than 30% of their land to build affordable housing, like duplexes and townhomes, where state zoning law only allows single-family housing development.
A nearly 40-page amendment added to the bill Wednesday morning removed provisions that required that type of development and called for the forming of a state board to evaluate house needs and come up with long-term plans.
YIMBY Denver supported the original proposal and is still on board with the watered-down bill, but volunteers say they are disappointed.
“What this legislation did, even if it doesn’t pass, is say to local officials: You have got to do more. So what I’m hoping to see in cities and counties across Colorado, local officials start to say yes to more townhomes, duplexes, three-plexes, and little backyard apartments for people. And when that happens, housing will eventually become more affordable for everyone here in Colorado,” said Andy Bosselman, YIMBY Denver volunteer.
With the major amendment, the land use bill passed narrowly 4 to 3. It now heads to the Senate floor and will still need to go through the entire process again over in the House.