Boulder Ballot Measures Headed to City Clerk Amid Threats of Lawsuit

Two Boulder groups that collected petition signatures to place measures on Boulder’s November ballot will submit those signatures to the city clerk Wednesday. But based on City Council decisions last week, KGNU’s Roz Brown says neither group knows if voters will actually get to decide the measures, and if not, at least one group plans legal action.

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The group “Bedrooms are for People” wants to reform Boulder’s strict housing occupancy limits that prohibit more than three unrelated people from living together in most parts of town.

“There are a lot of people affected by this,” said petition organizer, Eric Budd. “Boulder has many exclusionary housing laws including occupancy limits.”

Through direct democracy, the group hoped to ask voters if they wanted to reform Boulder’s housing laws which Budd says disproportionally impact people with lower incomes and people of color and essentially make it illegal to share resources which he says have nothing to do with health and safety codes.

He believes the new law would simplify occupancy requirements.

“Let’s say you have a three-bedrooms house, with this charter change, a minimum occupancy allowed would be one person per bedroom, plus one,” said Budd. “The same would apply to a four or five-bedroom house. Those limits would be allowed as long as building codes and safety are followed.”

The group was proceeding toward an August 5 deadline to gather about 4,000 signatures when on July 16 city attorney Tom Carr sent them a letter that said after further review, he’d determined the deadline was already past – it was actually June 5 and 8,000 not 4,000 signatures were needed. Budd says that’s when the group got attorneys involved.

“The whole petition process is meant to be in place for citizens to put a measure on the ballot and we’re being blocked from doing so and in that case we had to get legal support,” said Budd.

According to Budd, the group is adhering to the original instructions by turning in signatures Wednesday, even after city council members said last week they were not inclined to refer the measure to the ballot despite the city-caused fiasco.

“We are hoping the city will adhere to the original guidance they gave us,” said Budd. “We’re going to turn in 7,000 signatures, which haven’t been validated yet, but we believe we have a valid rate. It’s our belief that the city council cannot sit in a meeting and retroactively change the law and that’s what they tried to do. We’re very confident that we’re going to be on the ballot.”

A second ballot measure that has encountered the same hurdles, “Our Mayor, Our Choice,” will also submit signatures to the city clerk on Wednesday.

 

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TFW you collect over 7,000 signatures during a pandemic 🥳 Thank you to all our amazing volunteers, supporters, donors, and signers — couldn’t have done it without you. This is far from over, but it’s a big milestone nonetheless! . . . . celebrating yesterday w/ @ourmayorourchoice2020 and @_cosmospizza 🍕😋 #bedroomsareforpeople #bouldercolorado #boulderco #boulder #localgovernmentelections #localgovernmentmatters #bouldergov #bouldergovernment #boulderbedrooms #bouldercampaign #boulderpolitics #bouldervoter #bouldervoting #grassrootscampaigns #boulderelection #boulderelections #boulderballot #bouldervotes #bouldercitycouncil #bocoelection #bouldervotesearly #bouldernonprofit #bouldernonprofits #politicsboulder #openboulder2020 #grassrootscampaign #boulderbedroom #boulderhousing #boulderhousingcrisis #boulderhousingmarket

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