January 25, 2016
Planning Board members:
We are writing to ask you to approve the site review application for the Reve development. The current proposal responds to the direction given by City Council at their call-up of the concept plan, and is far improved over the original concept presented.
On a general level, this development proposal does almost everything right. It proposes to add significant housing in close proximity to the new transit station, significant employment opportunities, and many shopping opportunities. It is a very important linchpin to making the entire Boulder Junction area an activated, multimodal hub for the community. The overall density is entirely consistent with both the Transit Village Area Plan and the other new development in the area, and the height of the buildings is appropriate for this location in the City. The mix of smaller housing units will help to provide relatively affordable market rate units in a location that will allow many people to meet their needs with very little need to get in a car.
We are also very supportive of the changes that have been made to the plan to make the area more human scale and not an auto-dominated space. In particular, the fact that all of the parking is underground makes the whole area much more of a pedestrian space. In addition, the single shared public access street between Solana and Reve is a great improvement over the earlier plans which showed two parallel streets. The interior plaza should be the type of activated public space that brings energy and vitality to the Boulder Junction area and serves as a gathering place for residents, employees, and visitors.
We offer a couple of suggested changes which we believe will further improve the project: First, we suggest a closer evaluation of the amount of parking proposed, to ensure that it is appropriate for the site. We suggest considering a clear set of binding TDM commitments, and a clear requirement for parking management (including unbundling and pricing) that is consistent with the Boulder Junction access and parking districts, even though part of the site is beyond the district boundary. Second, we encourage further development of the architecture at the street level. The detail on the first level of buildings is critical to a lively, dense, human scaled urban fabric. Looking at a zoomed-in view of the design of the first floor elevations, they are currently mostly unarticulated wall and sheet glass – for example, the rendering entitled 30th South of Slough. We would like to see the articulation greatly increased, with human scaled details such as awnings, blade signs, base materials, changes in the glass, warmer materials, brick detailing and other similar items used in the architectural palette to increase the perceptual connection between the pedestrian and the buildings.
In summary, we encourage you to approve the site plan review application for the Reve project. There has been a great deal of constructive discussion of this project over the last couple of years. Improvements have been made, and the project has evolved considerably to become what we believe will be an excellent addition to the Boulder Junction area. We thank you for your time and consideration of our comments.
Sue Prant and Ken Hotard, co-chairs