Landmark Land Use Bill Fails in Colorado Legislature

Colorado Governor Jared Polis’s effort to allow for more housing construction by preempting local control of zoning failed to achieve the required level of political support in the state legislature.

2 minute read

May 11, 2023, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Colorado State Capitol Building

Nicholas Courtney / Shutterstock

SB 213, which would have preempted local control of zoning in communities all over the state of Colorado, has failed after failing to reach a consensus between competing versions in the state’s House and Senate.

The zoning reform movement has shifted to the Mountain Time Zone in 2023, with Colorado considering SB 213 almost simultaneously with the Montana Legislature’s approval of its own state preemption of single-family zoning. Where Montana succeeded by appealing to Anti-California bias, Colorado’s effort, championed by Gov. Jared Polis, faced widespread opposition at the local level.

The failure of SB 213 prompted a wave of media coverage after weeks of attention to the political back and forth over housing affordability, local control of land use regulations, and property rights in the Centennial State.

Planetizen shared news in in April that state senators had gutted the bill’s mandate to rescind single-family zoning in many of the cities in the state. The Colorado House of Representative earlier this month seemed to get the governor’s efforts to achieve statewide zoning reform back on track, however, by reinstating density requirements in the bill earlier this month.

The comeback was short-lived, however. According to an article by Nick Coltrain, the bill split Democratic legislators. “The bill started out as a mandate that cities and towns zone for greater residential density before it was pared back in the Senate to a task force. The measure was then partially resurrected in the House to increase the number of multifamily homes around bus and train stops in Colorado’s large cities,” explain Jesse Paul and Elliott Wenzer in a separate article for the Colorado Sun.

“The Colorado state legislature will hand Gov. Jared Polis a significant defeat on the final day of the legislative session, refusing to pass his landmark proposal to overhaul Colorado’s rules for housing development,” reports Andrew Kenney in the source article, linked below.

The hopes of statewide zoning in Colorado are not entirely dead, however. California’s efforts to accomplish similar reforms required numerous legislative sessions over the course of more than a decade to achieve a similar measure of success.

Monday, May 8, 2023 in CPR News

Portland Bus Lane

‘Forward Together’ Bus System Redesign Rolling Out in Portland

Portland is redesigning its bus system to respond to the changing patterns of the post-pandemic world—with twin goals of increasing ridership and improving equity.

August 30, 2023 - Mass Transit

An aerial view of Milwaukee’s Third Ward.

Plan to Potentially Remove Downtown Milwaukee’s Interstate Faces Public Scrutiny

The public is weighing in on a suite of options for repairing, replacing, or removing Interstate 794 in downtown Milwaukee.

August 27, 2023 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Conceptual rendering of Rikers Island redevelopment as renewable energy facility

Can New York City Go Green Without Renewable Rikers?

New York City’s bold proposal to close the jail on Rikers Island and replace it with green infrastructure is in jeopardy. Will this compromise the city’s ambitious climate goals?

August 24, 2023 - Mark McNulty

A rendering of the Utah City master planned, mixed-use development.

700-Acre Master-Planned Community Planned in Utah

A massive development plan is taking shape for lakefront property in Vineyard, Utah—on the site of a former U.S. Steel Geneva Works facility.

August 31 - Daily Herald

A line of cars wait at the drive-thru window of a starbucks.

More Cities Ponder the End of Drive-Thrus

Drive-thru fast food restaurants might be a staple of American life, but several U.S. cities are actively considering prohibiting the development of new drive-thrus for the benefit of traffic safety, air quality, and congestion.

August 31 - The Denver Post

Air pollution is visible in the air around high-rise buildings in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Air Pollution World’s Worst Public Health Threat, Report Says

Air pollution is more likely to take years life off the lifespan of the average human than any other external factor, according to a recent report out of the University of Chicago.

August 31 -