Hayden joins opposition of Gov. Polis’ housing bill | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden joins opposition of Gov. Polis’ housing bill

Hayden is opposing Gov. Polis' housing bill as it’s currently written, believing that the bill, if passed, could take local control away from the town. Hayden Town Council also has signed onto the Colorado Municipal League's official letter of opposition.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Hayden has taken a formal position of opposition to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ housing bill.

In addition to sending a formal email to Sen. Dylan Roberts expressing concern, town officials also signed onto Colorado Municipality League’s official letter of opposition.

According to Hayden Town Manager Matthew Mendisco, Roberts has indicated he plans to vote against the bill unless significant amendments are made.  

Hadyen’s opposition concerns power the bill would give developers and take away from municipalities, as well as provisions regarding public infrastructure and municipality growth. 

“This would shift cost burdens of some of that development cost, which normally would have been on the developer, to the city, which is really shifting it to the taxpayers of the city,” Mendisco said.

Mendisco indicated that if this bill were to pass, Hayden would likely have to amend its master plan, a painstaking task. Additionally, Mendisco takes issue with the fact that the bill would tax the citizens of Hayden for infrastructure that would contribute to its growth as a municipality.

“It’s unfair and and many of the bill mandates are unfunded,” Mendisco said. “This bill does not give municipalities the control of how their cities grow. This would shift the price of infrastructure back to our taxpayers who are not the cause of the new growth.”

Mendisco said the bill also has provisions that the town already has in its land-use code. Along with arriving late to the game, enacting policies that municipalities already have, it has the potential to flip municipalities’ land-use codes and provisions on their heads.

For instance, Hayden already has an inclusionary zoning policy for affordable housing that passed in November. Mendisco said that according to an analysis done by the Colorado Municipal League, this bill would render this inclusionary policy null and void.  

Alongside Hayden, Steamboat Springs City Council and Routt County commissioners have shown opposition for the bill unless it is significantly amended. Fears of losing local control are fueling the local officials’ opposition.

“There’s a reason we have so much local control in Colorado,” Commissioner Sonja Macys said. “It’s because local government entities are in the best position to figure out what is best for their communities.”

Commissioners plan to attend an emergency land-use meeting called by Colorado County Commissioners Acting Together on Wednesday, April 5, to discuss the group’s position on the bill. Commissioners indicate that the group, composed of mostly rural counties, will likely oppose the bill. 

The Colorado Municipal League has been among the loudest voices of opposition in this matter, deeming it unconstitutional under Colorado law while citing Coloradans’ decision to adopt home rule charters. 

“The Colorado Municipal League is very concerned with the centralization of decisions that are hyper local being made at the state level,” said Meghan MacKillop, CML’s legislature and policy advocate. “The bill is a grand attempt to take local control away from our communities.”

The Colorado Municipal League is particularly apprehensive about the bill’s imposition of top-down zoning and land-use standards, stating the bill “flies in the face of local government efforts to solve the affordable housing crisis.”

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