Colorado Mountain Communities Line Up to Oppose Statewide Zoning Reforms

State preemption isn’t going over well with local government officials in the remote corners of Colorado.

2 minute read

April 6, 2023, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

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Ali Longwell reports from Eagle County, Colorado, where town managers from Vail and Avon have used their platform to strongly oppose a bill recently proposed in the Colorado State Legislature that would force local governments to allow more permissible zoning in residential neighborhoods.

According to initial reports, published before the details of the proposed legislation had been drafted into legislative form, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is seeking state preemption of local zoning to remove barriers to housing in the state. The bill, SB23-213 has since been published online, coming in at a whopping 106 pages.

The town managers in Eagle County disagree that the legislation will have its intended effect, according to Longwell’s article. “It’s really important for this community and all affected rural resort communities to understand: this is not going to help housing,” Avon Town Manager Eric Heil is quoted in the article. Vail Town Manager Russ Forrest called out the specifics of the bill as too onerous. “It’s complex, it’s broad, and the interpretation of it continues to evolve and will continue to evolve,” Forrest is quoted saying in the article.

“Generally speaking, the bill would impose substantial planning and mandatory land use regulations on municipalities across the state in an effort to increase residential density,” writes Longwell to summarize the contents of SB23-213. “The bill addresses several broad topic areas including housing needs planning, accessory dwelling units, middle housing (a term for multi-family housing), transit-oriented development, key corridors, and adoption of model codes and minimum standards.”

A lot more detail on the emerging rural political opposition is included in the source article, linked below. Longwell’s coverage is granted feature-length space to consider the issues.

If the state approves the legislation, Colorado would follow in the footsteps of Oregon and California in preempting local control of zoning codes in the hopes of removing obstacles to the construction of new housing supply.

Friday, March 31, 2023 in Vail Daily

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