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 has been breaking Colorado open-records and open-meeting laws, a Gunbarrel resident alleged in a lawsuit she filed this week.
Kristin Bjornsen charged in her Boulder District Court complaint that Boulder County commissioners have engaged in a “persistent pattern of conducting improper closed-door discussions of public business, violating the procedural requirements for conducting an executive session.”
Bjornsen’s lawsuit accuses the county commissioners of “holding unauthorized executive sessions and then retroactively authorizing them after the closed-door meetings have occurred.”
Source: Gunbarrel resident says Boulder County violates open-meetings, open-records laws – Longmont Times-Call
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.
Source: Boulder County planning panel rejects Twin Lakes land-use proposal – Boulder Daily Camera
I am a resident of Boulder who is working with TLAG on the Palo Parkway land dedication issue. I have read the demand letter sent by TLAG’s attorney, and note that the allegations raised in the letter appear to be well substantiated both factually and legally.
Source: Dean Wolf: Defending land dedication laws – Boulder Daily Camera
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.
Source: Twin Lakes plan is flawed | News | lhvc.com
An attorney for the Twin Lakes Action Group has sent a formal cease-and-desist letter to Boulder Housing Partners, the Boulder Valley School District, Boulder and Boulder County demanding a stop to development at a proposed affordable housing development. The group contends two sales of the property where the proposed Palo Park is located were not legal or valid and argue that work on the development must stop until the title on the property is cleared, according to a demand letter.
Sara Toole lives in Northfield Commons, near the proposed development, said … “We should not have had to resort to a lawsuit for the city to follow its own laws regarding dedications,” she said. “The city could have simply listened to us and lowered the density for this development and increased the affordable ownership ratio.”
Full Story: Twin Lakes group issues cease and desist on Boulder’s Palo Park housing development – Boulder Daily Camera
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?
Source: Kimberly Gibbs: Trampling citizens’ rights – Boulder Daily Camera