In preliminary results, Boulder voters reject raising residential occupancy limits

Denver appears likely to keep allowing five unrelated adults to live together

By: - November 2, 2021 10:56 pm
The Boulder County Courthouse

A view of the Boulder County Courthouse on the Pearl Street Mall in downtown Boulder on Aug. 14, 2021. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)

Based on initial election results, Boulder voters appeared to reject a ballot measure that would have raised the number of unrelated adults who can legally reside in the same home within the city.

As of 10:30 p.m. Nov. 2, the citizen-initiated Ballot Question 300 had received the approval of approximately 41% of voters, while 59% of voters rejected the measure.

Eric Budd, co-chair of Bedrooms Are For People — the organization behind the ballot question — appeared to be holding out hope that Question 300 would pass.

“Votes counted so far are only 20-25%,” he wrote on Twitter at 8:50 p.m. “So many votes to count!”

Ballot Question 300 aimed to permit one unrelated adult per bedroom in a home, plus one additional unrelated adult. So, if a home had five bedrooms, the measure’s approval would allow six unrelated adults to live in that home. City code currently allows three or four unrelated adults, depending on the area of the city, to live in the same house.

“We look forward to working with the new City Council to create an ordinance that guarantees greater access to housing that will be affordable and also protects our residential neighborhoods from exploitation by rental housing investors,” Lisa Spalding, organizer with the NO on Bedroom$ committee opposed to Question 300, said in an email.

Boulder City Council candidates Lauren Folkerts, Dan Williams, Nicole Speer and Matt Benjamin had endorsed the initiative. Three of those candidates — Benjamin, Speer and Folkerts — won a seat on the Council, based on unofficial election results.

Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver; City Council members Mirabai Nagle, Bob Yates, Mary Young and Mark Wallach; and state Rep. Edie Hooton, a Boulder Democrat, were among the elected officials urging a no vote. City Council candidates Steven Rosenblum and Tara Winer also opposed Ballot Question 300.

Boulder voters were charged with choosing five candidates to elect to the Boulder City Council this November, from a slate of 10 people running. Two of the candidates opposed to Ballot Question 300 were among the city’s top vote-getters.

Early election results showed Wallach, who is up for reelection, in the lead with 14.4% of the vote as of 10:30 p.m. Wallach was followed by Winer and Michael Christy, who respectively claimed 12.5% and 12% of initial votes counted. Benjamin was in fourth, with 11.4%. In fifth place, Speer, with 10.9%, had a slim lead over Rosenblum’s 10.8% of the vote.

The unofficial results were later updated to show a different set of winners. As of the results posted Friday evening, Wallach led with 13.1% of the vote. He was followed by Benjamin and Speer, who claimed 12.2% and 12% of the vote, respectively. Folkerts held the fourth spot, with 11.6% of votes, and Winer got 11.3%.

Meanwhile, in Denver, initial results showed voters rejecting Referred Question 2F, a measure that would have reversed a City Council decision earlier this year to increase the number of unrelated adults who can live in a single housing unit from two to five.

Based on votes counted as of 10 p.m., 68% of Denver voters had rejected Question 2F, while 32% had opted in favor of the measure.

“We are delighted that Denver voters had the good sense to reject this discriminatory, racist initiative,” Denver resident Jack Teter, who shares housing costs with multiple unrelated adults, said in a statement from the Vote No on 2F committee. “The group living amendment was the result of years of research and community input, and we’re sleeping well tonight in the knowledge that our family can legally continue living together.”

Editor’s note: This article was updated at 12:45 p.m. Nov. 9, 2021, to include comments from Lisa Spalding and Jack Teter, as well as the final unofficial Boulder City Council results.


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Faith Miller
Faith Miller

Faith Miller was a reporter with Colorado Newsline covering the Colorado Legislature, immigration and other stories.