Colorado House plans revival of Polis’s gutted zoning reform bill

A week after the Colorado Senate gutted Gov. Jared Polis’s marquee land use reform bill, House Democrats are preparing to reverse some of those changes and return key zoning provisions to a measure that’s repeatedly been altered as its passed through the Capitol.

Under amendments set to be added to the bill Tuesday, SB23-213 would again allow for accessory dwelling units — like carriage houses — to be built on single-family lots, albeit only in more populous parts of the state. The amendments would also reintroduce provisions clearing the way for density and apartment buildings near transit areas in Colorado cities, along with encouraging looser parking requirements and new restrictions on what HOAs can prohibit.

All of those provisions, described to the Denver Post on Monday by lawmakers involved, were in previous versions of the bill and had been stripped from it in order to ensure that it passed the Colorado Senate. Their revival represents an effort to return the bill to some of its sweeping origins, and they signal that proponents — from lawmakers to advocates — are doubling-down on their goal of reshaping the state’s zoning laws in a bid to address its housing crisis, despite opposition from local governments and some of their own Democratic colleagues.

“In my mind, I think we’re taking something that we are receiving and bringing back the integrity that the bill was intended to do,” said Democratic Rep. Iman Jodeh of Aurora, who’s co-sponsoring the bill in the House with Denver Democrat Rep. Steven Woodrow. The two will bring the amendments during the bill’s first House hearing, before the chamber’s Transportation, Housing and Local Government Committee on Tuesday. “It’s an environmental bill, it’s a water bill, it’s a transportation bill, it’s a housing bill, and it’s a social justice bill.”

The bill, which would be the most significant change to the state’s zoning laws in decades, has been repeatedly amended and reshaped by each committee that’s touched it over the past month. The tug-of-war over the measure’s core provisions have turned it from a sweeping reform bill to a $15 million series of statewide studies and, with these amendments, back to zoning reform again. Those changes reflect the enduring influence of local governments in the Capitol, as well as the deep divisions over the state’s role in land use decisions, even within the near-supermajority of Democratic lawmakers.

The proposed changes, which are expected to be adopted Tuesday, won’t rebuild the bill entirely. The amendments wouldn’t restore any of the middle housing components, which had allowed buildings like quadplexes to be built on single-family lots. ADUs would only be allowed in cities and larger towns, rather than statewide or in resort communities. Transit-oriented development, which would open up property near transit stations for apartments, would remain limited to a certain radius from rail stations and bus corridors in cities.

In a session that’s been dominated by housing discussions, SB23-213 represents Polis’s primary policy goal to improve affordability and availability here. He and other supporters have cast …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Politics


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