Picklebric – The Real Story

The following article was written in response to a so-called “news story” published in the Daily Camera on July 16, 2016.  This article has also been published as a Daily Camera Guest Opinion.

Facing the front of 765 13th St., one would see nothing to indicate the home is particularly different from its surrounding properties – except for the gaggle of “mature responsible adults” hanging out on the front porch, the tacky Christmas lights still lit up in the middle of July, untended “gardens” choked with weeds, and several dilapidated vehicles displaying expired neighborhood parking passes.

Yes, I’m talking about the “technically” illegal boarding house known to some as “Picklebric”, recently featured on the front page of the Daily Camera.  I’m not sure how something can be “technically” illegal.  It’s also technically illegal to drive 60 mph in a 25 mph zone – but if there’s no enforcement, you can often get away with it.  That’s how it is with occupancy limits in Boulder, where the only means of enforcement is to rely on neighbors to “tattle” (and even then you can probably get the City Council to squelch the complaint). Continue reading “Picklebric – The Real Story”

The Glorification of an Illegal Co-op

This article has also been published as a Daily Camera Guest Opinion.

The glorification of the illegal co-op Picklebric by reporter Alex Burness in Sunday’s Daily Camera in conjunction with the simultaneous publication of Picklebric member Steven Winter’s guest opinion creates the impression that the co-op is being persecuted for speaking out in favor of co-operative housing and for being a “good neighbor.” Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the City is well aware of many of the illegal co-ops that exist (including Picklebric) and has affirmatively chosen not to enforce its over-occupancy ordinance. Mr. Winter seems to think that his neighbors were accepting of Picklebric’s existence until its members spoke out in favor of the proposed co-op ordinance. I would suggest that having 10+ residents and a revolving door of short-term “guests” has more to do with Picklebric’s current situation than its political advocacy. Add backyard concerts, dog parties, group projects and an exponential number of friends with cars and pets and you have created an untenable situation for the neighbors. Continue reading “The Glorification of an Illegal Co-op”

55-foot Height Limit Exception will not be on 2016 Ballot

Boulder will not, after all, ask its voters in November to allow certain rooftops to exceed the city’s 55-foot height limit, the City Council decided late Tuesday night. But it’s possible, the council agreed, that such a measure could appear on the 2017 ballot.

Source: Boulder’s dream of rooftop deck at Ninth and Canyon may be fizzling – Boulder Daily Camera

Picklebric Story Lacks Journalistic Integrity

The following letter was sent to Kevin Kaufman, Executive Editor of the Daily Camera, in response to the Picklebric Story in Sunday’s paper.

Dear Mr. Kaufman,

It appears that flagrantly flaunting the law these days, yields you a glorified sob story on the front page along with a self-serving guest opinion published that same day. Alex Burness’ biased, one-sided article on Picklebric’s rental contract not being renewed shows a complete lack of journalistic integrity.

I may not have a degree in journalism but I do know that any quality reporter worth his salt would have had the knowledge to recognize that there are two sides to every story. Burness could have found other people in the community to speak with who are concerned about these proposed ordinances as they are plentiful. He could have referred to the May 17th city council meeting and pulled quotes from concerned citizens during that recorded session. Continue reading “Picklebric Story Lacks Journalistic Integrity”

Andrew Baron: Austin did development wrong 

After 13 years in Manhattan, I moved to Boulder 2 1/2 years ago and love it.  … Height ordinances, open space ordinances and other “well-being” types of ordinances are critical to maintaining what makes Boulder special and should not be considered to necessarily result in higher prices and limited availability.

Source: Andrew Baron: Austin did development wrong – Boulder Daily Camera

Susan Osborne: Rebuttal to NYTimes Boulder Story

In response to that recent NYTimes article about growth in Boulder:

Susan Osborne, a former mayor of Boulder, Colo., says zoning and land use regulations have not necessarily promoted inequality.

Source: Bigger and More Equal Cities – NYTimes.com

Recommended Reading: Cadillac Desert

Cadillac DesertA recent article in the Denver Post, Hickenlooper backs $380 million Denver Water project to divert Colorado River water, reminds us that the communities of the Front Range depend on water captured and delivered from elsewhere – water that is seriously over-promised to places as far away as Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Over 30 years ago, Marc Reisner wrote the definitive book on land development and water policy in the western United States: Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water.  Starting in the early twentieth century, when the city of Los Angeles began importing water from hundreds of miles away, it chronicles how urban and agricultural development in the arid Western United States was built upon dubious assumptions about the availability of water.   Continue reading “Recommended Reading: Cadillac Desert”