After reading Dinah McKay’s exposé of the theft of the Twin Lakes open space property from us Boulder citizens, “Help save Twin Lakes open space” (Daily Camera, March 12), I have become increasingly angry with our elected officials! It seems to me it’s about time to get rid of those people who supposedly work for us, but refuse to consider our needs and opinions.
At Twin Lakes, public scrutiny and action is needed. Do you know how Boulder County Housing Authority developers became owners of the 10-acre public property adjacent to the Twin Lakes open space at 6655 Twin Lakes Road? Was there any public review process preceding the transfer of this public land to BCHA developers? Was it a legitimate arm’s length real estate transaction?Boulder County purchased 6655 Twin Lakes Road on May 30, 2013, with public funds for $470,000. There was no public review process, public involvement or any public comment allowed before county commissioners deeded this publicly-owned property to BCHA developers on Oct. 1, 2015 for zero dollars down and a zero-interest promissory note due in 2025.
How can Boulder balance maintaining open spaces with its need for affordable housing?
For more than a year, Boulder County residents and government have squared off over a 20-acre stretch of land northeast of town. Tucked between residential housing and Twin Lakes Open Space in the unincorporated town of Gunbarrel, the Boulder County Housing Authority proposed a change to the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan—which has been in place since the 1970s and acts as a blueprint for the city’s growth—to allow an affordable housing development on this land, about 12 units per acre or around 200 units total, thus incorporating the area into Boulder city limits.
Source: When It Comes to Housing, Boulder Can’t Have It All – 5280.com
Boulder County Planning Commission members voted 5-4 Wednesday night to reject any changes to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan’s current land-use designations for 20 acres of now-vacant government-owned land along Twin Lakes Road in unincorporated Gunbarrel. The county planning panel’s action likely halts — or may at least stall, possibly for several years — the Boulder County Housing Authority’s and Boulder Valley School District’s proposals to develop an affordable housing project on their properties.
The Boulder County Planning Commission has an opportunity to reconsider its earlier approval of the change in the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan that would pave the way for the City of Boulder and the Boulder Valley School District to build sorely needed affordable housing, up to 240 units, in the Twin Lakes area of Gunbarrel.For decades the City of Boulder has implemented policies which, while making Boulder a very desirable place to live, drive the cost of housing up, to the point where middle class families, not to mention lower income families, cannot afford to live there. City efforts to address the issue to date have not made a significant impact on the cost of housing, and the city council’s unwillingness to follow recommendations of experts do not give cause for optimism.
Thanks to Alex Burness for covering the City Council-Planning Board session in “Boulder weighs tall buildings” (Daily Camera, Jan. 25) explaining that the council is weighing whether to end the moratorium that limits tall buildings to eight specific locations in Boulder and Gunbarrel.
This is clearly an issue that Boulderites care about. As staff showed at the meeting, the recent city survey showed that 71 percent of participants were opposed to allowing buildings taller than three stories (up to 55 feet) in additional locations in the city. Citizen comments included: “I have lived in a large city for much of my life. One of the reasons I chose to move to Boulder was its abundant natural beauty and smaller scale.” to “Leave the views!” and “The height of the new Daily Camera building is a travesty.” (This is the “Pearl West” building at 11th and Pearl.)
I thought that, in addition to Alex’s quotes from various council members, readers should know how they actually voted: Council member Bob Yates was the only one who voted to end the moratorium and move forward with allowing taller buildings in additional locations around the city. Council members Burton, Appelbaum, Brockett and Shoemaker were unsure about whether to do that. And council members Jones, Morzel, Weaver and Young were the only ones in tune with the 71 percent of the citizens and supported keeping the current policy that limits tall buildings.
The Jan. 19 Camera article (“Twin Lakes debate resumes“) accurately quoted my comments to the BoCo Planning Commission, describing efforts to annex Gunbarrel land parcels into the city of Boulder and upzone them to medium-density residential as “an outright theft from the Gunbarrel community.
Should dedicated lands be used for their intended purpose? Do property owners have adequate recourse when radical zoning changes are proposed on adjacent parcels? Does the intense pressure to build affordable housing justify trampling citizen rights, degrading existing neighborhoods and destroying valuable wildlife habitat? Isn’t it about time we had an honest debate about the merits and pitfalls of unbridled commercial development?