Boulder Planning Board produces expected outcome: approves housing for homeless young adults at 1440 Pine St.

Boulder Planning Board produces the result they were expected to produce: they approved housing for young homeless adults at 1440 Pine St.

After 18 months of community debate — often unusually heated, even by Boulder’s standards — the city Planning Board on Tuesday night approved a proposal to build housing for homeless young adults in a new downtown facility.

The board voted 6-1, with member Crystal Gray representing the lone voice of dissent.

Read the Full Story at the Daily Camera

Jeff Schulz: Expert manipulation

I’ve been laughing about the battle over spending the “soda tax” income that basically says “Hey Suzanne and Matt, please save my children because I can’t say ‘No’ when they want a Dr. Pepper.” However, I will admit that it is the logical next step for kids already protected from ice cream sandwiches. Nuisances like these are really just diversions designed to keep citizens from asking real questions about the vast amount of money flowing through Boulder’s subsidized housing program. This shell game, billed as “affordable,” “compassionate,” “sustainable,” is really more like a Mob operation that funnels money to Boulder Housing Partners (BHP), Boulder Housing Coalition (BHC), and other crony capitalists, all with no success. Even after enough funds have been transferred into these organizations that would make Donald Trump blanch, nothing is “affordable,” traffic is at a standstill, and the town has been divided. The lubrication for this finely-tuned exploitation machine appears to be the cash-in-lieu program, a “compassionate” version of Chicago-style pay-to-play. Since the city attorney appears to be knee-deep in the deal, there is little motivation for him to shed light on this opaque system. And sadly, there are many excellent city employees who get a bad rap while their leaders disrespect them with these kinds of shenanigans. Even though the arrangement is all “legal,” it at least screams out for an independent review that charts out how it works and names the individuals involved.

I naively keep wishing that the Woodward and Bernsteins over at the Daily Camera would spend time investigating the situation, however, I understand they refuse to since their Pulitzer Prize display shelf is already full. Where is the D.A. when you need him? Well, at least citizens can still feel “sustainable,” “vibrant,” and “compassionate” all while being expertly manipulated.

Source: Jeff Schulz: Expert manipulation – Boulder Daily Camera

Why 1440 Pine Street Project is Bad for the Homeless – Judy Nogg

I am opposed to the current proposal for 1440 Pine Street.

I don’t live nearby. Indeed, I’d rather devote my attention to my own neighborhood issues, but I am so concerned about the dangers to young adults that I must present my concerns.

Of course, most people want options for homeless young adults. I believe that the well-intended people who support this project have not yet considered the ramifications of this particular plan. Continue reading “Why 1440 Pine Street Project is Bad for the Homeless – Judy Nogg”

Hugh W. Evans: How long before flood mitigation around CU South?

Only in Boulder does talk seem to take precedent over action when life and limb are at stake. I attended last night’s combined City Council and Planning Board meeting.

Source: Hugh W. Evans: How long before flood mitigation around CU South? – Boulder Daily Camera

Greg Wilkerson: Co-op ordinance is bad legislation

Dave Krieger’s Jan. 8 editorial inaccurately rendered the Boulder Neighborhood Alliance’s concern about City Council’s recently passed co-op ordinance as belief that neighborhoods have a right to stasis. That’s never been BNA’s position or belief. Nor did we hear this from hundreds of Boulder residents opposed to the co-op ordinance.

BNA’s issue with council’s new co-op ordinance is that it’s bad legislation, and a lack of real public process.

Change is one thing. We agree with Krieger that change is inevitable. But change is best done at a reasonable pace people can handle. Unfortunately, for the unsuspecting low-density neighborhood resident who wakes up one day to a co-op next door, with quadruple the previous number of allowed occupants, the co-op ordinance’s change won’t be measured, reasonable, or fair.

Many homeowners purchased in low-density. single-family neighborhoods because they’d lived next to high density before, and didn’t like it. High density shouldn’t be force-fed onto residents who don’t want it. What about freedom of choice for everyone, including people who don’t want to live next to 12-15 unrelated people? Evidently, only co-opers have the right to choice. The co-op ordinance creates a Russian Roulette situation whereby thousands of single-family-neighborhood homeowners can rely only on luck, to not end up next to 12-15 unrelated people (in neighborhoods where houses, on-street parking availability, plumbing, sewer lines, etc. were all designed for far fewer).

It’s wildly specious to say co-ops of 12 to 15 unrelated people are somehow unfairly treated by previous zoning rules, because zoning allows families of 12-15 to live in such houses. Reality: average family size in Boulder is 2.79 people. Co-op proponents and council would have you believe that 12-to-15-person families commonly exist throughout Boulder, and therefore, co-opers are discriminated against. Basing policy on falsehoods is irresponsible.

Further, council and co-opers used only macro analysis to describe co-op impact: “Ten to 14 co-ops a year, out of all the single-family homes, is a small number.” But that was never the point. BNA repeatedly pointed out that it won’t be small for the homeowner waking up to find their next door dwelling’s density has quadrupled or quintupled. Council’s lack of concern for this ordinance’s highly localized impacts was a major failure. We can only assume council is willingly throwing under the bus the unwilling individual homeowners surprised by co-ops next door.

Among the many problems with this ordinance is that it’s extraordinarily unlikely that any council members will get a co-op next door to them. A primary goal of co-ops is cheap rent. Thus, our prediction is that Boulder’s most expensive neighborhoods (such as most council members’) will remain that way. While, despite this bill being sold to the public as a city-wide ordinance, there are no provisions whatsoever to prevent Boulder’s lower-middle income neighborhoods from getting most, if not all, the co-ops in the future. The paltry 500-foot radius does nothing to prevent this. These cheaper neighborhoods are already diverse and already experience heavy impact due to their proximity to CU, student rentals, etc. And 12-to-15-person co-ops, with deeper pockets (collectively), will price out lower-middle-income families vying for the same houses.

Finally, while nearly 100 percent of co-op supporters were intimately familiar with the ordinance’s details, perhaps 2 percent of typical low-density, single-family residents were. Council frequently quoted public surveys showing affordability as a core concern. We agree. That’s why we’ve suggested other solutions that would accomplish real affordability, rather than this co-op ordinance, whose few dozen beneficiaries won’t represent a statistically measurable gain in affordability. And having no rent caps on co-ops is inexplicable.

Boulder’s surveys never asked, “Would you like the density in the house next door to you quadrupled, or quintupled, despite your living (intentionally) in a low-density neighborhood with occupancy limits of no more than three unrelated?” Shame on council for never asking that question, yet charging ahead with this ordinance that pits one group of residents’ gains at the expense of others. Yes, there’s divisiveness in Boulder. And it’s created by City Council, through winner/loser policy like this. There’s a better way to govern, that doesn’t pit residents against residents.

Greg Wilkerson is on the BNA steering committee.

Source: Greg Wilkerson: Co-op ordinance is bad legislation – Boulder Daily Camera

Boulder City Council to take public comment, discuss new co-op ordinance tonight – Boulder Daily Camera

The Boulder City Council will take another round of public comment tonight ahead of what could be a final vote on the city’s controversial new co-operative housing ordinance. The council already has held two lengthy public hearings on the matter, in addition to receiving more than 1,000 comments via email in recent months. But on some of the most important details of the ordinance, including maximum occupancy, the council remains unsettled. Some council members believe that proposed co-op occupancy limits of 12 and 15 people — the former in low-density zoning districts and the latter in medium- and high-density areas — are far too high. During the most recent discussion of the ordinance, Councilman Sam Weaver was keen on reeling those back to 10 and 12.  Councilwoman Mary Young pitched possibly limiting occupancy to six people in low-density areas. The public can view the latest drafted version of the ordinance here: Public Comment on Co-ops Jan 3rd.

Source: Boulder City Council to take public comment, discuss new co-op ordinance tonight – Boulder Daily Camera

Co-op ordinance is draconian

Dear City Council,

I am voicing my concern regarding the upcoming vote on co-ops. I can’t believe that you are actually considering such a sweeping, game-changing ordinance! My understanding is that this is a done deal except for some possible tweaking. I won’t go into all the arguments and details against it that have been so eloquently stated in letters and commentaries like the one recently by Steve Pomerance. From what I’ve read in the paper, the ordinance is draconian and could drastically change the neighborhoods that we citizens have fought so hard to improve and maintain. For example, I bought my house on West Arapahoe in 1975. It was affordable back then because it was rundown, only 850 sqft and was on a busy street. Continue reading “Co-op ordinance is draconian”