Boulder County Planning Commission would lose veto power on key parcels; County commissioners would not.
City Council members, a slight majority of whom would like to limit Boulder County’s control over future city expansion, appear to have come to some agreement on a proposed revision to the procedure by which city and county cooperate on long-range, land-use planning.
In an unofficial straw-poll vote taken late Tuesday night, the council supported a compromise that would let the Board of County Commissioners retain veto power over changes to parcels in categories known as Area II and the Area III-Planning Reserve.
However, the Boulder County Planning Commission would lose its voice in those two areas, under the straw-poll plan.
The implicit theory of growth behind Boulder’s current expansion is that it can become a fast-growing commercial center and retain its residential quality of life at the same time. That idea is proving to be a fantasy, along with many of the other visionary positions of our local government.Now the City Council has voted overwhelmingly to insert co-op housing in virtually any zoning district in the city and is pushing density through such bizarre ideas as “density transfer.” The inadvisability and destructive quality of this pro-density and anti-neighborhood position has been ably described in dozens of letters to the Daily Camera, as well as in editorials by Leonard May, Steve Pomerance, Spense Havlick and others.The indisputable fact is that the unaffordable housing problem is being driven by the push for commercial expansion. As one letter write wrote prior to the 2015 election, “You can’t build your way to affordable housing” — as has been demonstrated in San Francisco and Aspen. Boulder has fallen behind the wisdom of Palo Alto and other cities, which now understands this fallacy well. “Affordable” housing is really only more building, and not affordable at all. Indeed, much of the so-called affordable housing built in the city over the last two years opts out of the affordable housing requirement. Millions are being made, to a great extent by non-Boulder residents, by selling off beautiful downtown and neighborhood space.
There are viable options to consider other than the controversial development of CU South. Why not cap the enrollment of CU, so that additional housing, classrooms, and playing fields are not necessary?Since the doors to the University of Colorado opened in 1876 with 44 students, the University of Colorado has expanded and become a four-campus system including Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, and the University of Colorado Medical Campus. With a combined enrollment of over 62,000 students from these four campuses. CU Boulder supports over 31,861 students. In 2015, 6,208 freshman students were enrolled and more students are being admitted every year. It is time to cap the enrollment and consider what is best for the community of Boulder.
The proposed development at 1440 Pine St. was given final approval on Tuesday night, as the Boulder City Council declined an opportunity to call up the project for further discussion.
That decline upholds a 6-1 vote of the city Planning Board last month to approve the project, which will see a three-story building built on a surface parking lot just northeast of the Pearl Street Mall.
The Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP) is an agreement that guides land use in the Boulder County area that surrounds the city of Boulder (about 12,000 residents and 44,000 acres of land) and within the city (about 104,000 residents and 16,000 acres). Recent comments from several Boulder City Council members indicate some frustration with implementation of the BVCP using a process called “four-body review.” Under these time-honored and effective procedures, some BVCP changes of policy and land-use designation must be approved by majority votes of the four bodies with expertise in land-use decisions: City Council, Planning Board, county commissioners, and county Planning Commission.As former members and chairs of the county Planning Commission (both of us) and the city Planning Board (one of us), we believe we have a thorough understanding of BVCP processes. The four-body approval process ensures both responsiveness to the electoral process (all those formally involved in the approval process are either elected or appointed by elected officials) and long-term stability necessary for BVCP implementation, providing residents and local government a clear indication of how their neighborhoods and lands are to be managed in the coming years. Because of the BVCP’s important role in coordinating city and county actions and decisions, representing the interests of both city and county residents, and its generally acknowledged success over the past four decades, changes to the process by which the BVCP is adopted should be considered only with great care.