Colorado Supreme Court Dismisses Boulder Ballot Case Surrounding Housing Policy
Court dismisses pointing to unresolved fact disputes precluding decision

by Avery Martinez

One week after the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to hear an elections case surrounding Boulder’s housing policies, the court dismissed the case, citing a number of unresolved factual disputes that preclude it from “properly deciding the questions presented in the appeal,” according to a court order dated Aug. 28.

“In entering this order, the Court expresses no opinion on the merits of the questions presented,” the order states.

The case arose from a group of Boulder citizens, under the name of Bedrooms Are For People, challenging the city’s housing restrictions. The activist group seeks to change occupancy laws in Boulder and previously petitioned the Supreme Court to decide a ballot issue.

“The Supreme Court’s failure to take a stand allows this injustice to stay in place,” the group said in a statement on their website. “The public in Boulder and across the country who have followed our campaign can plainly see the injustices happening in our city. The community is with us on the facts. The Supreme Court’s statement that the relevant facts were disputed is just not true, as these facts were agreed upon by both parties in the district court.”

According to the group’s website, it is illegal in most of Boulder for more than three or four unrelated people to live together in a home, regardless of the size of the property and the age of the residents.

Bedrooms Are For People says the current occupancy laws limit co-housing of seniors and retirees, affect affordability and economic hardship in Boulder, conflict with the occupancy standards recommended by the Fair Housing Act and “are oppressive and unjust” and don’t reflect the “progressive” community’s values. BAFP attempted to put a question about changing the laws on the November ballot.

However, as previously reported by Law Week, complications and lobbying efforts within Boulder changed not only the number of signature requirements to place the question on the ballot but also the dates required to place the question on the ballot.

In addition, the Colorado Independent reported that Boulder Beat, a local online news source, asked a judge to decide whether emails between two nonprofits and a city council member’s personal email are public record and subject to disclosure under the Colorado Open Records Act.

One of the emails in question allegedly contains the Boulder Mayor Pro Tem Bob Yates’ pertains to the possible BAFP limits on housing.