The previously endless open comment period at the onset of Boulder City Council meetings soon will be limited to 20 speakers who will be selected at random.
Council members formalized the plan during a study session Tuesday night that followed a much longer discussion at the group’s January retreat regarding various strategies for cutting down the length of meetings that regularly run up to or beyond midnight.
Citizens will not be limited in their ability to address the council during public hearings, and will now see expanded ability to give input on call-ups — development proposals that the council seeks to intervene on — deemed potentially controversial.
However, the open comment period at the beginning of each council meeting, during which members of the public can address their elected representatives on any items other than those already being addressed by public hearing, will be significantly curtailed.
Some council members also were uncomfortable with a trend that has seen especially heated public hearings preceded by parties in the Municipal Building below the meeting chambers. Ahead of recent hearings on co-op housing, for instance, dozens gathered for pizza — a sort of occupation that the council felt might make uncomfortable those with views differing from those packing the building lobby before proceedings begin. “That gauntlet downstairs recently has become challenging for some people,” Mayor Pro Tem Andrew Shoemaker said.