A smallish parcel of grassland habitat that abuts Twin Lakes Open Space is being considered for destruction and development. To the untrained human eye, this parcel may seem an eyesores compared to the surrounding human-manicured landscapes. However, to the wildlife species that call it home, it is all they have. Even though these two parcels are not pristine or even historically natural, they provide resources in the form of food, shelter and safety. They are also part of a migration and dispersal corridor that is unique and irreplaceable.
Rechberger, whose organization has pushed to keep the 20 acres designated as open space, precluding any future development there, accused backers of the change to a medium-density category of having engaged in “a pattern of manipulation and misrepresentation of the process and facts.”
Boulder County shouldn’t arrange or provide rides for affordable-housing supporters who want to speak at a county Planning Commission hearing next Wednesday, according to a neighborhood group opposing a medium-density-residential land-use designation for the properties being proposed for such a project.
In Gunbarrel, two 10-acre parcels near the Twin Lakes Open Space are being considered for medium-density residential development. With an MR designation and annexation, the rural-residential fields would go from allowing one dwelling unit on each parcel to allowing up to 140 units on each.
Along with other problematic issues, the area’s hydrology renders any development highly questionable. According to Boulder’s 2013 FEMA map, the properties are inside the zone most impacted by the 2013 floods in all of Gunbarrel, with that zone’s color corresponding to the assigned range of 66 to 137 claims.
In this myriad of broken agreements, broken rules and broken policies, it’s hard to decide which is the worst offense, but I choose the blatant abuse of dedicated lands owned by Boulder Valley School District. These dedicated lands were granted to BVSD as a county requirement of subdivision developers for one sole purpose: to build a school or park for the benefit of the contributing neighborhood. Period. If BVSD chooses not to build a school, then the land should serve as green space. Any other contrived use of dedicated lands should be considered stealing from the communities for which they were intended. Any other use would be breaking the agreement BVSD entered into when they took possession.
In 1993, the Boulder County commissioners created the Gunbarrel Public Improvement District, to purchase land within the district for open space.
The county used GPID funds, commingled into the general fund in 2009, to purchase a 10-acre parcel at 6655 Twin Lakes Road, within the GPID’s boundary. This land is thus purchased for the GPID, to further the GPID goal of retaining open space within the GPID boundary. Developing 6655 Twin Lakes Rd. for housing is improper, must be reversed and the land properly designated as open space.
Boulder County’s Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss a request Wednesday that it reconsider its 4-to-3 vote on Sept. 21 to approve a medium-density-residential designation for 20 acres of government-owned properties on either side of Twin Lakes Road in unincorporated Gunbarrel. Earlier this month, Dave Rechberger, chairman of the Twin Lakes Action Group — a neighborhood organization that opposes the higher density Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan land-use category for the properties owned by the Boulder County Housing Authority and the Boulder Valley School District — sent a formal request for the Planning Commission to revisit the issue.