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Governor Polis’ housing plan aims to loosen zoning regulations to create affordable housing

COLORADO (KRDO) -- Wednesday, Governor Polis announced a bill meant to create affordable housing in Colorado's large metro cities by loosening zoning regulations.

If passed, the bill would allow for more dense building and the development of multiplexes, townhomes, and accessory dwelling units in all Colorado Springs, Fountain, and Pueblo neighborhoods.

"We're taking a key step forward," said Governor Jared Polis. "Legalizing the building of the most affordable housing types of homes, and creating options for property owners, empowering homeowners to be part of the solution, incentivizing multifamily housing near transit-oriented development."

Polis' "More Housing Now" proposal comes as Coloradans are still searching for solutions to the affordable housing crisis.

According to Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity, one in seven Coloradans currently pays over fifty percent of their income toward housing.

Under SB23-213, developers in large metro cities would be able to build multi-family homes with fewer barriers. However, the bill doesn't require the cities or developers to do so.

Kris Lewis, CEO of Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity, says she's encouraged by the momentum from the state toward addressing affordable housing.

"We're 12,000 units short here in Colorado Springs, 14,000 in the county," said Lewis. "That is leading to not being able to hire, recruit, retain teachers, firefighters, our service industry people across the spectrum. If we don't have the working force housing available, how are you going to have the workforce here to sustain all of the white collar jobs that are being brought in?"

Lewis said she is taking a critical eye to the 105-page bill to make sure she fully understands what the plan entails.

"Will this bill be effective and efficient? We need to see," said Lewis. "Are those workforce families really going to find the housing that they need or will potential developers say, 'Well I need to make more money than this'?"

Lewis said she hopes the bill will open doors not only to more rental opportunities but also to home ownership.

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Annabelle Childers

Annabelle is a reporter for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about her here.


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