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

Outdoor Recreation

AlonaWi / Shutterstock

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

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

Denver City Hall building with green lawn and red flowers in front, Denver, Colorado

Denver Makes ADU Rules More Flexible

The city hopes adjusting its regulations for accessory dwelling units will make the process more affordable for residents and help ease the city’s housing crunch.

58 minutes ago - Denverite

Interstate 55 with cars and green freeway signs in Chicago, Illinois

Illinois Legislators Pass Controversial I-55 Road Expansion Legislation

Legislation to enable the addition of express toll lanes on Interstate 55 in the Southwest Side of Chicago, opposed by environmental justice advocates, cleared the Illinois General Assembly last month.

1 hour ago - Chicago Tribune

Close-up of front og MARTA public transit bus in Atlanta, Georgia with logo wrap

What Is ‘Arterial Rapid Transit?’

Atlanta is planning to build ‘BRT lite,’ a version of bus service that offers signal priority and fewer stops but keeps buses in mixed-traffic lanes.

2 hours ago - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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.