When I heard about the Attention Homes project at 1440 Pine, now under review by the Planning Board, something about the large size and high number of at-risk young adults that would be housed there didn’t ring true to me. Then I learned that this was the result of a “density transfer.” I couldn’t remember ever hearing that term in my 10 years on the City Council, so I inquired as to what was being proposed. What I learned was, frankly, pretty bizarre.
Chloe Pachovas’ May 11 letter suggested that ultra high occupancy co-ops are necessary for there to be artists and innovators in Boulder. Actually, Boulder’s low-density neighborhoods are filled with artists and innovators who abide by the zoning regulations. If Pachovas attended an “Open Studios” tour, she might be surprised at the number of participating artists in low-density neighborhoods.
Noteworthy in the last few weeks has been the coverage of making Boulder a “brand.” It seems we are no longer a community of human beings but have morphed into a brand. To be sold, exploited, manipulated, monetized, etc., which is what happens when people market brands. The essence of our community is being sold by our leaders (Council, Planning Board et. al.) to the highest bidder, further driving up housing prices and adding to our 60,000+ in-commuters. There are already far more jobs in Boulder than work-age adults to work them, yet the alliance of developers, Chamber of Commerce, and City Council continue to floor the accelerator on growth via our brand. And, on the recreation side, attractions such as Chautauqua are turning into over-use nightmares. This should be alarming, and I hope Boulder residents realize what is happening as we change from a city to a brand. To paraphrase the British: “The city is dead, long live the brand.” So sad. And unrecoverable. Just drive down “Box” Canyon Boulevard west of 28th and see the towering results on either side of you. Again, so sad, so unrecoverable. Let’s stop being a brand and return to being a city of human beings.
I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with John Tayer, Dan Powers, and Sue Prant, three of the people who signed the guest opinion “Let building height moratorium lapse” (Daily Camera, March 5). These are all fine people, and I share their view on some transportation issues concerning our fine city of Boulder.
However, concerning the issue of density and building height I could not disagree more. Now is the time to hold firm to the height moratorium, as it is for the Blue line — and we should also hold firm in our commitment to open space. Having lived in Boulder for only 40 years, I still hold tight to the reasons I came to adopt Boulder as my home town — open space, beautiful vistas, and a smaller town feel. If I had wanted to live in a big city I would have moved to Denver.