Broomfield City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday that aims to incentivize developers to provide more inclusionary housing.
“What we’re trying to do is provide housing that aligns with a person’s income, because affordable is a relative term,” Mayor Guyleen Castriotta said. “A lot of folks are cost-burdened with their housing-related costs, and the rule of thumb is, you shouldn’t be spending more than 30% of your income on your housing-related expenses, to live in a healthy way — to be able to afford everything else you need.”
City Council approved in 2020 an inclusionary housing ordinance that offers developers a choice between providing affordable housing, or paying a fee (referred to as cash-in-lieu). But since then, most developers chose the cash-in-lieu option, the mayor said. That has left Broomfield residents who make under six figures with little to no housing options that provide a decent quality of life, Castriotta said.
“About a third of your income should go to housing, but we know that’s not the case — many people are spending 50% of their income or 70% of their income just to pay for their housing expenses,” she said. “And that’s housing insecurity — that is not knowing if not having a paycheck could put you on the street. And that housing insecurity is what we are trying to address, and provide a variety of housing stock that aligns with all different incomes.”
While the cash-in-lieu payments over the past several years went to supporting inclusionary housing in Broomfield, units are simply not being built at the rate the city and county needs, the mayor said.
The inclusionary housing ordinance that Council passed Tuesday will change the municipal code to increase developers’ cash-in-lieu amounts incrementally each year, to incentivize developers to build more affordable units:
- 2023: $55,295
- 2024: $80,965
- 2025: $106,635 (+ metro Denver market rate adjustment for previous year)
Units for sale
- 2023: $88,556
- 2024: $127,112
- 2025: $165,669 (+ metro Denver market rate adjustment for previous year)
As of Tuesday’s Council meeting, no developers had spoken up against the new inclusionary housing ordinance.
Neighboring communities such as Boulder, Lafayette, Longmont and Denver have been charging higher cash-in-lieu amounts than Broomfield since their inclusionary housing plans were implemented, and those cities have seen more affordable units built than Broomfield, the mayor said.
“We don’t want to preclude development, but rather make it a more equitable choice,” Castriotta said.