Important Meeting Tonight: BVCP Update

Important Public Hearing Tonight (May 23 2017):

Where: City Council Chambers of the municipal Building at 1777 Broadway,

When: 5/23/17 starting at 6:00 p.m. (you can sign up to speak between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.)

There is a very important Public Hearing tonight at the City Council Chambers concerning the 2015 (yes, we know it is a few years late) update of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP). The Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan is a planning policy document covering many issues including annexations, housing, Open Space, transportation and more. There have been numerous changes made to this 2015 update. Among these changes is elimination of the four-body review for Area II and some Area III properties. The Amendment Procedures Section covers land use and policy change requests, Area II & Area III boundaries and some annexation issues. This Section (Section II of the 2010 BVCP and Section VII of the March 24, 2017 draft for the 2015 BVCP update) was taken out completely in the May 15, 2017 Adoption Draft of the BVCP 2015 Update (only a week before the public hearing on May 23rd). I and many other citizens had sent comments requesting that this section remain in the 2015 Update as it is now in the 2010 BVCP document (see pages 2 and 22-27 of Attachment G-1 in link below). If the Amendment Procedures chapter is taken out of the BVCP 2015 update, then the Planning Commission and Planning Board will have no vote on the Amendment Procedures. If the Amendment Procedures are instead transferred to the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) update/renewal then only City Council and County Commissioners will have a vote on the adoption of those amendment procedures. Both the City Council and the County Commissioners have voiced that they would eliminate the four body review for some of the change requests including Area II requests which would mean that these requests would be voted on by only the City Council and the City Planning Board – and non-city residents would have no representation in the process. The four-body review needs to remain in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan if unincorporated residents want to have a say in land use decisions in their area. Who will represent unincorporated resident interests when decisions are made by City Council and Planning Board. It is critical that the amendment procedures remain in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan document and not be transferred to the IGA and that those amendment procedures stay as they are now written in the 2010 BVCP and that they do not get gutted.

Another Section of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan seeing many changes is Section 7 Housing. In the 2010 BVCP, policy 7.13 states: “Permanently affordable housing, whether publicly, or jointly financed will be designed as to be compatible, dispersed, and integrated with housing throughout the community.” In the 2015 March 24th draft the wording was changed to: “Permanently affordable housing, whether publicly, privately or jointly developed and financed should be dispersed throughout the community. Where possible, the city will encourage new affordable units to be provided on the site of and integrated into new housing developments.” There were numerous comments from members of the community (see pages 1 and 3-10 of Attachment G-1 in link below) requesting that the original wording from the 2010 BVCP policy remain and that the new wording has no teeth and waters down the policy. Instead of taking these citizen comments into consideration in the May 15, 2017 Adoption Draft, the wording was changed (from a suggestion by the Planning Board) to an even more watered down version – they changed “where possible” to “where appropriate“. We can see a lot of developers of market rate housing saying that it just isn’t appropriate to include the affordable housing on site. Also changing the wording of will to should gives this policy no teeth and just discretion of the developers. For instance, I can say “I should exercise.” But hey it is a lot easier to sit on the couch and watch TV so I won’t exercise because I really don’t want to. However, if I say “I will exercise and I will integrate in different workout routines.” that is much more of a commitment and assurance. A question to ask is “Why was this policy wording changed in the first place – wasn’t it fine the way it was?

You can look over information on the May 15th BVCP Adoption Draft, the IGA document (packet pages 23-25), and more at the City Council website:

Take some time to have a voice in the future of your community!

– Donna George