Last month I wrote about how Boulder was weighing an ordinance that would raise the city’s affordable housing linkage fee on new commercial development from $12 per square foot–a fee just 16 months old and the second highest in the country–to $25, $30, or $35 per square foot. Last week, by a 6-3 vote, city council voted to raise that fee to $30. The $30 fee falls short of the country’s highest, Palo Alto’s $35. But because of the difference in the price of land in Boulder versus Palo Alto, on a percentage basis, Boulder’s new $30 fee will be much greater than Palo Alto’s fee.
Importantly, the city council also approved a “tiered system” for the fee. For example, developers of office space will pay the full $30 per square foot, while hospital space and warehouse space will pay $20 and $10 per square foot, respectively.
Only time will tell whether the new $30 fee will accomplish the city’s goal to spur residential development over commercial development without detriment to the city’s affordable housing fund.
The vote will be made official on May 1.