Sweeping Building Moratorium Issued in Response to Potential Opportunity Zone Investments

From opportunity zone to 'opportunity-free zone.'
December 19, 2018, 11am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Nelson Sirlin

"[The] Boulder City Council voted 6-3 to temporarily ban development of office space and demolition of apartment buildings in a broad eastern swath of the city designated as a federal opportunity zone," reports Shay Castle.

The decision prompted a soundbite that could only happen in 2018. Councilmember Bob Yates, one of the votes against the moratorium had this to say in response to the final decision: "With this moratorium, we just turned an opportunity zone into an opportunity-free zone."

The moratorium is drafted to remain in place through June 2020. In the meantime, the city is working on completing zoning regulations to implement the recently completed Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. New zoning regulations could move up the expiration date of the moratorium.

Although it's not totally clear from the article, it's implied that the moratorium was approved out of concern over potential investments following incentives provided by the federal Opportunity Zone program. According to statements by Councilmember Sam Weaver, the comp plan prioritizes the preservation or retail, while increasing housing and curb office spaces.

The implication, then, is that the Opportunity Zone program places those goals at risk. The moratorium was thus drafted in "emergency." City Councilmember Jill Alder Grano had this to say about whether the term was warranted: "To call this an emergency, as a member of the public I lose a little faith….It's a terrible way to govern."

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Published on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 in Daily Camera
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