Fall 2020 Newsletter Article by BJ Scott, co-founder of the Affordable Housing Collaborative and longtime health care expert across the Pikes Peak Region.

Colorado Springs is undergoing a comprehensive revision of its zoning code right now, which presents a huge opportunity for positive change. The process, known as RetoolCOS, began in January 2020 and will likely extend until the end of 2021. The review is divided into three different modules, each dealing with a different element of the code.

A first draft of Module 1, which deals with the zone districts themselves and what is allowed in each, was made public this past May. Drafts of Modules 2 and 3, which have to do with things like parking requirements, design standards, and review procedures—all of which have the potential to increase the cost of housing if overly onerous—will be released this Fall and Winter.

The following analysis of the current code and its challenges to affordable housing is provided by the Colorado Springs Pro-Housing Partnership:
Right now, our zoning code allows only single-family homes on over 83% of residential land, driving housing unaffordability in two primary ways:
1) by preventing new housing construction on the vast majority of our residential land, single-family zoning depresses the growth in housing supply, ensuring it won’t keep pace with demand as our population grows;
2) by banning smaller, more affordable housing options—like bungalow courts, townhomes, and duplexes—on more than four-fifths of our city’s land, it limits our ability to build the kinds of housing most people can afford to rent or own.

One of the concerns that we hope to see addressed in upcoming proposals is the allowance of more kinds of housing in single-family zones.

The next module review has been postponed, but we will keep you updated as to when it is available. For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/ColoradoSpringsProHousingPartnership

Photo Credit: coloradosprings.gov

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