Rishi Raj: Can ADUs enhance sense of community?

The ADU proposal currently before the City Council offers an unusual opportunity for us all to work together. The ADUs have something for mostly everyone. They can create income for senior citizens strapped in the tax-squeeze. They can provide homes for our young citizens who have always been the lifeblood of Boulder.

But the outcome I envisage requires much, much greater participation of our people in the political process. Here is a chance for all of us to come together around an issue that will affect us very significantly. I hold that once the process is allowed to run its course, it will create a new era of community participation in our beloved city.

One can split hairs with the 12 dictums being handed down to us by city staff. In the larger picture, “affordability” is being used as an excuse to unravel our neighborhoods. The incremental growth in affordable housing via ADUs will be minuscule and inconsequential. Thus, the staff wants larger units, no parking requirement, high concentration, and relief from design requirements, with one size fits all. The proposal does not recognize the great diversity and heterogeneity of our neighborhoods, which continue to retain their character. This heavy-handed approach must be put aside, for the moment, in favor of a community by community discussions of how ADUs can be of benefit. People are sympathetic. They realize communities must evolve to remain vibrant, but we need time to talk about it.

I urge our city to encourage an enduring discussion that not only leads to an outcome that benefits all, but also to a new era of collaboration between our citizens and our government. It can invigorate new creativity and engagement in the community.

Rishi Raj

Boulder






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