City Council Discussion on Growth
Tuesday, Sept. 16, 5-8 p.m.
Boulder City Council Chambers

Recently there has been talk of a “development binge” in Boulder, even though the construction we are seeing today in our Downtown and the new Boulder Junction area to the east are consistent with the existing Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, and its vision for Boulder to be a compact, walkable community.  Some citizens are even calling for an emergency moratorium on all development.

City Council will be having a special study session discussing the issue on Tuesday, Sept 16th, from 5-7pm in Council Chambers. Citizens will be able to comment on the issue in the Open Comment period at the beginning of the regularly scheduled City Council meeting that same night, beginning at 7pm. On the day of the meeting you can sign up in advance online to speak.  If you can’t make it in person please at least email your input to City Council:!

Our Comments:

Better Boulder welcomes a robust and inclusive discussion of our city’s physical form, population density, and urban design details. Boulder already has a well defined community process for talking about larger scale land use, growth, and development issues.  It’s called the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. It gets revised every 5 years, and we’re due to update it in 2015. The scoping of that process begins next month.

Furthermore, the projects getting built now were vetted and approved by many of our current city council members either while on council, or while serving on Planning Board.  The Boulder Junction area in particular had about as exhaustive a planning process as could be imagined, lasting at least 7 years.

We’ve also invested a huge amount of time and money in getting the US-36 bus rapid transit corridor built, and it’s due to begin service next year. Shouldn’t Boulder develop in a way that takes advantage of that investment? Shouldn’t we put new dense housing within walking distance of our most important transit lines?  Do we really want to risk the success of the BRT service Boulder has been fighting for over the past decade?

Many of the objections we’ve heard have to do with the aesthetics and design details of some of the larger projects going up today, and many of us agree: they could be improved.  We hope future projects can inspire our community’s love, create human-scale urban spaces and appeal to pedestrians at eye level.  However, it’s also worth noting: many of these buildings aren’t yet completely built.  We might at least wait until they’re done to criticize them.

Rather than grinding everything to a halt with little or no notice, let’s use the upcoming 2015 Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan update to address the issues being raised.  We’re looking forward to the lively conversation!