Colorado Governor Wants to Preempt Local Zoning Control

Colorado could be the latest state, following Oregon and California, to legislate statewide preemption of local zoning codes to allow for more housing development.

2 minute read

March 27, 2023, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


The Polis administration in Colorado has released a “More Housing Now” proposal to preempt local zoning codes and allow more density in residential neighborhoods.

The expected bill will be sponsored by Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, Rep. Iman Jodeh, D-Aurora, and Rep. Steven Woodrow, D-Denver, with the support of environmental groups, affordable housing advocates, labor leaders, business interests, and some local government officials, according to an article by Andrew Kenney and Nathaniel Minor that broke the news.

Oregon was the first to use state preemption to overrule local control of zoning reform, in 2019. California joined the club in 2021. If Colorado approves the “More Housing Now” law, it would implement a tiered system of state-mandated residential zoning for the state’s communities.

“So-called ‘Tier 1’ cities would see the biggest impact from the Polis proposal. They include the state’s largest, such as Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Fort Collins, Lakewood, Greeley, Boulder, Grand Junction, Pueblo and Arvada, plus smaller cities within large metro areas, like Castle Rock, Edgewater, Louisville, Windsor and Fountain,” according to Kenney and Minor. “Those communities would have to allow the construction of ‘middle housing,’ defined as townhomes and multiplexes with up to six units, as well as accessory dwelling units, on lots in all residential neighborhoods. (New single-family homes would still be allowed, too.)”

As for the cities not fitting into the Tier 1 bucket, “smaller ‘Tier 2’ cities and high country resort areas would have to create housing plans to detail how they plan to address housing shortfalls and keep current residents from being priced out, with goals identified by the state,” according to the article.

Additional coverage of the More Housing Now policy is available from a paywalled article published by Denver Post.

Read the article by Kenney and Minor, below, for more details about how the More Homes Now policy would remake growth management and long-term planning in the state of Colorado.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023 in CPR News

Black and white Rideshare Pick-Up Zone sign

The Slow Death of Ride Sharing

From the beginning, TNCs like Lyft and Uber touted shared rides as their key product. Now, Lyft is ending the practice.

June 1, 2023 - Human Transit

Urban sidewalk shaded by large mature trees

Cool Walkability Planning

Shadeways (covered sidewalks) and pedways (enclosed, climate controlled walkways) can provide comfortable walkability in hot climates. The Cool Walkshed Index can help plan these facilities.

June 1, 2023 - Todd Litman

Traffic on the 405 interstate freeway through the Sepulveda Pass at Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California

Congestion Pricing Could Be Coming to L.A.

The infamously car-centric city is weighing a proposed congestion pricing pilot program to reduce traffic and encourage public transit use.

May 30, 2023 - Los Angeles Times

"Welcome to Texas" road sign with Texas flag and "Drive Friendly - the Texas way" slogan

Report: Austin’s State Roads Deadlier Than City Roads

Traffic fatalities and serious injuries grew on state-owned roads in the Texas capital, even as city-owned streets saw death rates plateau.

44 minutes ago - Smart Cities Dive

View from lakeside with green grass and pink blooming flowers

Who Benefits Most from Land Conservation Efforts?

A new study estimates that recent land conservation generated $9.8 billion in wealth nationally through the housing market and that wealthier and White households benefited disproportionately.

1 hour ago - PNAS

Close-up of black parking meter with blurred street in background

Richmond Repeals Parking Minimums, Encourages Off-Street Parking and Transit

The Virginia city is replete with underused off-street parking lots, which city councilors hope to make available for parking at more times while encouraging transit use.

2 hours ago - Next City

Project Manager III

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

UDO Transportation Planner

City of Charlotte - Charlotte Area Transit

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.