Boulder, CO taps breaks on Opportunity Zones development

The city of Boulder, Colorado has seemingly been wary of the federal Opportunity Zones tax incentive since the very beginning. Only one of 12 eligible census tracts within the city was recommended to state leaders.

And now, that one opportunity zone (census tract #08013012203) is subject to an emergency permitting moratorium while the city sorts out its zoning and usage regulations.

Map of Boulder, Colorado's opportunity zone
Boulder’s opportunity zone (census tract #08013012203) lies to the east of the downtown area and includes some land adjacent to the municipal airport.

Many cities have been quick to embrace opportunity zones and the promise of additional investment and economic renewal. Cities like Erie, PA, Nashville, TN, and Stockton, CA have even drafted Opportunity Zone investment prospectuses in attempts to lure dollars to their localities.

But city leaders in Boulder are concerned that Opportunity Zones investments may result in unintended negative impact on residents without proper local guidance. As a result, Boulder’s City Council temporarily suspended the acceptance of building permits within the opportunity zone.

The moratorium includes some exemptions and applies only to development that would result in the addition of non-residential square footage or demolition of multi-family units or non-residential square footage. It will expire in June 22, 2020 and be replaced with a new ordinance reflecting the priorities of the 2017 Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan.