City Council election season is upon us and a boatload of candidates will be vying for your vote. I am not clairvoyant, but I can safely promise that they will all tell you that they favor diversity, inclusivity, affordable housing, resilience, preservation of neighborhoods, creation of walkable neighborhoods, open space is good, etc., etc. You will hear them at debates and meetings, and they will provide you with feel-good statements of intent with as few specifics as possible.
I call this candidate blather “Boulderspeak.” The problem is that many voters have been complicit in this electoral dance, responding positively to expressions of purpose without detail, and making decisions based on superficial information, slogans and buzzwords. This is no way to select our leaders.
The Nov. 7 election for the Boulder City Council will be one of the most important in the city’s history. There, I said it. Sound like hyperbole? Then consider this: The results will determine who will decide policy surrounding the extremely important planning issues of growth, housing and zoning/density — the NIMBYs (Not in My Backyard) or the YIMBYs (Yes in My Backyard).It’s going to be a very contentious race, based on candidates’ stands on these issues facing the city in the next few years.
Will new council members, YIMBYs, increase density and encourage the building of more housing to attract more people to move here and ease pressure on ever-climbing home costs? If we do increase density, will the housing supply ever keep pace with the demand in Boulder, which is becoming an even more desirable place to live because of its beauty and a rising high-tech presence?
Or will they, NIMBYs, leave density laws untouched? That would discourage, for example, the relaxing of the present regulation that limits the number of unrelated people that may live in one dwelling.
The review process for a proposed senior affordable housing project in south Boulder has been delayed, as developers consider a new arrangement with a slowed-down timeline.At 3485 Stanford Court, on the 5-acre site of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, Boulder Housing Partners and the local senior housing community Frasier have plans to build 45 one- and two-bedroom apartments — 100 percent of which would qualify as permanently affordable.
The project was set to go before the Boulder Planning Board for a public hearing and concept review on Thursday, but the applicants pulled out in order to reconsider a key aspect of the proposed deal.
What’s being rethought now is a detail in the plan that calls for Frasier to acquire the property from Mt. Calvary and have Boulder Housing Partners develop it. They would then lease space on-site back to the church for $1 per year for up to 15 years.
Boulder is the most expensive city in the region. With average single-family home prices near one million dollars, and many apartments renting for thousands of dollars a month, it is not affordable for most middle-, median- and low-income households. The City of Boulder has implemented a variety of affordable housing policies to address the issue, yet we continue to lose ground. Job growth continues to outpace residential growth causing upward pressure on housing prices, the local real estate market continues to skyrocket, and existing housing that is still relatively affordable is being redeveloped as high-end. If the current development trends continue, Boulder will be a place for mostly the very wealthy and a few lower income people in subsidized units.
Full Story: PBC
People with comments and suggestions about proposals for major updates to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan can present their arguments during a joint Wednesday afternoon public hearing by the Boulder County Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners.
4 Body Review Changes
CU South – Flood Mitigation
The most important and time-tested component of American democracy is the concept of checks and balances. It ensures the interests of a few never override the values and interests of the larger community. It protects against corruption. It protects against tyranny.On June 13, Boulder City Council’s nine members met to contemplate eliminating Boulder County’s most important system of checks and balances: the BVCP’s four-body review process for land-use changes. Boulder’s four governing bodies are the county commissioners, county Planning Commission, City Council, and city Planning Board.
When the County Planning Commission (CPC) recently — and wisely — voted to maintain the existing density and reject Boulder County Housing Authority’s overreach at Twin Lakes, it sent shock waves through the halls of power in Boulder County — and the city. How dare this governing body listen to the people they serve? How dare they defy the back-door power plays of the county?
There are viable options to consider other than the controversial development of CU South. Why not cap the enrollment of CU, so that additional housing, classrooms, and playing fields are not necessary?Since the doors to the University of Colorado opened in 1876 with 44 students, the University of Colorado has expanded and become a four-campus system including Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, and the University of Colorado Medical Campus. With a combined enrollment of over 62,000 students from these four campuses. CU Boulder supports over 31,861 students. In 2015, 6,208 freshman students were enrolled and more students are being admitted every year. It is time to cap the enrollment and consider what is best for the community of Boulder.