I applaud City Council for supporting lower density at 3303 Broadway and in following the lead of Planning Board that voted unanimously against the developer’s proposal to bring high density and commercial components to this 1.3-acre site. High density is not appropriate for every piece of land and certainly not adjacent to Foothill Elementary School, where children on foot and on bicycles are a component of one of the busiest intersections in Boulder.
Late last year, developer Margaret Freund brought forth a proposal for a mixed-use high-density development, with … 50 middle-income housing units. Her vision for the currently vacant lot, which sits near the corner of Broadway and Iris Avenue, was shot down in a unanimous decision by the Planning Board.
Council members did appear open, however, to re-evaluating 3303 Broadway for its potential as a project with lower density than that which Fruend proposed.
That opportunity for re-evaluation came Tuesday, and the council, by a 5-4 margin, voiced reluctant support for a designation of the site that allows for as few as 10 units per acre, and gives a density bonus of up to 20 units per acre if Fruend decides to develop on-site affordable housing.
The city of Boulder is headed down a slippery slope known as “the end justifies the means.” The end in this case is the creation of more affordable housing units in Boulder, even if it includes the taking of lands dedicated for public use as in the case of Twin Lakes and Palo Park. Be aware: although this may not be happening in your neighborhood, there are many who are currently arguing for the taking of our public lands for private development, and there is no telling where this slippery slope will lead.
The Boulder City Council is interested in the potential of the vacant, roughly 1-acre plot at 3303 Broadway as a housing site in the future. But the plan, dubbed “Iris & B” by the plot’s developer, Margaret Freund, is not going to be the vehicle for that housing. Freund’s pitch … was unanimously rejected by the Planning Board last month, consistent with the recommendation of city planning staff. On Tuesday, the City Council had a chance to rescue the project by calling it up for an additional review following the Planning Board decision. It declined that chance by a 7-2 vote, but agreed to consider a land-use change for the site later this month.
I would like to say the proposal to build luxury apartments at 3303 Broadway illuminates a long-term deficiency in Boulder’s approach to the need for affordable housing.
I find it hard to believe that the creation of a discordant collection of maxi and mini apartments will do anything towards alleviating the need for low-income housing in Boulder. Rather, these apartments target the wealthy, single resident. Rental rate per square foot is stratospheric. There is no possibility of squeezing a low- or mid-income family into 425 square feet. We need to provide a real neighborhood of family housing; there are examples of this in Boulder.