As I watched the City Council debate and then decide on the developer linkage fees on Nov. 15, I despaired at the outcome. It had already been decided days, perhaps weeks, before. Yes, the $12 per square foot figure, below the staff recommendation of $15 per square foot, was going to be the outcome despite hours of staff and consultant work, countless dollars spent, and significant citizen input. All for naught as the Chamber of Commerce/Boulder Housing Partners/Downtown Boulder Inc. etc. determined their own, unquestioned figure and presented it to the council unsubstantiated and unchallenged. And it was approved.
Most distressing is that, earlier in the day during a panel presentation on these linkage fees at the Boulder Valley Real Estate Conference, one well-connected speaker assured the audience that there were five council votes for the $12 figure. Done. Sure enough, the fix was in. The sham was in the wasted review and community input — all for show — since the number had already been chosen. Where is fair, transparent, and inclusive governance?