Boulder, Colorado

From HousingWiki

Boulder, Colorado, located about twenty-five miles northwest of Denver, is a municipality of over 97,000 people (its larger Boulder US Census-designated CO Metropolitan statistical Area consists of over 294,000 residents).


See the Colorado section of Politics, Elections, and Legislation for additional information.


The city of Boulder is governed by a nine-member City Council that includes a Mayor and a Mayor pro-tem (chosen from the Councillors by the Council members). Boulder’s Mayor and Councillors are elected at-large and the terms they serve (either two or four years) are determined by the number of votes they receive. A Boulder City Council member is limited to serving three terms in his/her lifetime.

The City of Boulder has a council-manager governmental structure, meaning that the elected Council makes determinations and sets the policy for the city, to be carried out by the City Manager, who is appointed by the City Council.


Boulder County is the county in which the city of Boulder sits and of which it is the county seat. The county includes three other cities, several towns as well as unincorporated areas. The County is governed by the elected, full-time, three-member Boulder County Board of Commissioners, consisting of three commissioners. The Board of Commissioners is responsible for long-term planning for regional development, transportation and other forms of development.

The County is divided into three districts (of roughly equal population). A county commissioner is drawn from each of these districts (in which s/he must reside) but each is elected by county voters as a whole, regardless of voter residence. As the governmental structure aims to provide representation for all of the county’s districts, no two commissioners can reside in the same district. County Commissioners serve four year terms.

In addition, the County is served by other elected officials, including a County Clerk and Recorder, an Assessor, Coroner, District Attorney, Sheriff, Surveyor, and Treasurer.

In addition to the Board’s efforts, the County uses committees to do its work. Committees of note:

  • The Planning Commission (Note that zoning services are provided for the county for unincorporated areas; towns and cities have their own zoning functions)
  • The Boulder County Regional Homeless Systems Executive Board
  • The Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee


Co-operative Housing

Co-operative (co-op) housing has become an increasingly used option in Boulder. For many years, co-ops were essentially illegal, as Boulder's bylaws stipulated occupancy numbers of not more than three or four unrelated individuals.

Boulder's ordinances have changed to include co-op housing but the bylaws still do not appear to meet the needs of co-op residents and new co-ops have met resistance in the community and at the City. 

Land Use

Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan ( BVCP)


YIMBYTown 2016

In June 2016, Boulder's Better Boulder group organized the first annual YIMBYTown conference which brought together hundreds of pro-development activists. Better Boulder advocates for a range of smart development initiatives: affordable housing, walkable communities, sustainable transportation, infill development, environmental stewardship, and inclusiveness.

Click here for more on the YIMBYTown conferences.

Organizations in housing / land-use

  • Better Boulder - YIMBY-affiliated group. @abetterboulder.  
  • Livable Boulder - key proponents of 2015 growth-control / neighborhood control initiative.  
  • Plan Boulder.