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Boulder City Council Delays Approving Land Use Changes to CU South Land Parcel

Posted: June 14, 2017 at 7:32 am by , in Breaking News, Featured, Morning Magazine

Boulder City Council last night upheld the city’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement goals and then moved-on to wrestle with updates to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive plan. KGNU’s Roz Brown says the plan updates included land use changes to the area known as CU South.

There was no public hearing at the meeting but that didn’t stop representatives with Save South Boulder from sitting through the five-hour council meeting holding signs to express their view that CU Boulder South be separated from the five-year update to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. That separation would allow further time to review the proposed development on the 300-acre site at the entrance to Boulder on U.S. 36. Helen Burnside said their presence was a silent vigil for their position.

“It’s been really hard to follow the timeline and the process of how the four bodies, including City Council will be reviewing CU South as part of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan,” said Burnside. “The issue has been put on the agenda and then taken off agenda and it feels like community input and comment has been really hard so we’re here with our signs to say this is an important issue and we should slow down and separate CU South from the comprehensive plan.”

CU bought the gateway property 20 years ago. The University says it will eventually build 1200 housing units there, eight academic buildings and recreation fields. But first flood mitigation must be done to protect neighbors from a possible repeat of the 2013 flood when many homes were severely damaged. Those residents would like to see that mitigation begin as soon as possible and want the city to annex the property ASAP. Save South Boulder’s Amy Siemel understands her neighbors’ concerns but feels the process has been rushed.
“Flood mitigation on this property is a major concern and needs to go forward,” said Siemel. “But we don’t know how much land is needed, what land is needed, what the ground water flows are or how a potential dam on the site would affect the neighborhood or endangered species, so I think we’re putting the cart before the horse.”

Siemel lives near the site and regularly walks the property with her five-year old son and infant daughter.
“This is a beautiful natural area that was intended for open space since the ‘60s and ‘70s in Boulder,” said Siemel. “This is a gateway property – it’s the first thing people see and experience when driving into Boulder. The land is also contiguous with a State natural area including threatened tall grass prairie, which means encroaching development would harm the open space that Boulderites have taxed themselves to maintain for many years. We walk this land almost everyday – we watch birds, we hunt for insects, we collect clay and make models, we sail boats on open groundwater and my kids experience nature and see the views of the Flatirons. It’s a beautiful place and once again we’d be paving paradise.”

Boulder residents will get one more chance to comment on the proposal for the CU South property at a Boulder County Commissioners hearing on June 28. The positions of Save South Boulder can be found at, savesouthboulder.com