“Council wants to see something happen there, so let’s get the land use changed there and have a community conversation about what belongs there…”
Boulder City Council began its initial discussion on Thursday of the five-year update to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. KGNU’s Roz Brown reports that part of that discussion will include a prime piece of real estate at 3303 Broadway, recently labeled IRIS & B. But at a recent Council meeting it was clear that there’s no agreement on what should go there.
The property has been vacant since 2009 when the People’s Clinic moved out. Everyone on Boulder City Council seems eager to see the one-acre site developed. But when a developer wanted to put 50 middle-income apartments and townhomes, a café and a wellness center on the site it was denied. The property is not zoned for that kind of high-density development and the City’s Planning Board wouldn’t approve it. City Council later refused to overturn the Planning Board’s decision. Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones says if council agrees to change the zoning of the property through the comprehensive plan, the next decision would be how much and what kind of housing belongs there and if transportation challenges can be solved at the busy intersection of Broadway and Iris.
“Council wants to see something happen there, so let’s get the land use changed there and have a community conversation about what belongs there, keeping in mind that it’s a privately owned parcel and the city doesn’t get to decide that it wants to make it all permanently affordable,” said Jones. “There are more options than medium or high density for that site ¬– there’s mixed-use density that could offer a different number of units, including some permanently affordable units that might help reach a compromise.”
At a recent council meeting, Amanda Bickel spoke on behalf of 135 concerned neighbors living in the Newlands Neighborhood west of the 3303 Broadway site. She says the neighbors are supportive of having affordable housing on the site but the neighborhood does not support high-density there and would instead like to see around 18 affordable family housing units that would be more compatible with the neighborhood and the nearby school.
Dan Powers with the group, Boulder Tomorrow says his group believes the proposal recently rejected was appropriate for the site and thinks with so few in-fill properties left in Boulder, it’s hypocritical not use the property to its maximum potential.
“We believe what was proposed for the site was reasonable and expected and deserving of support,” said Powers. “As we surround ourselves with open space, this proposal meets with what Boulder has tried to say is its ethos and philosophy for decades. Boulder likes to see itself as visionary – look at the open space policy– and we can make dense, in-fill housing decisions today that 20 years from now will look brilliant, obvious and sophisticated in retrospect.”
A final decision on how the property at 3303 Broadway be zoned and developed isn’t likely before June of this year.