Headlines March 4, 2021

Headlines March 4, 2021

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Concern Over Pollution in the South Platte River

State health officials are sounding the alarm on contamination in the South Platte River. E Coli bacteria levels are up to 137 times higher than the federal safety limit, according to the Colorado Dept of Public Health and the Environment. State officials sampled water at various points as the river flows through Denver. The fecal bacteria comes from multiple sources and gets into the river through the storm sewer system. Rain and melting snow increase the volume of E.coli going through the sewers into the river. To get the bacteria levels down, the state is using its permitting process to push Denver to invest in stricter controls for treating wastewater. But the Denver Post reports that the city says the new requirements are too expensive to implement. Denver may sue the state but right now the two parties are trying to reach a compromise.

Large East Boulder Mixed-Income Residential Development Gets Closer to Approval.

Shutkin Sustainable Living, the developers for the proposed 317 unit mixed-income residential development, crossed off another barrier on its list toward building the site.

The Daily Camera reports that there will be a public hearing today with the Boulder Planning Board to see if the project will clear site review and use review.

The site is located on Arapahoe Avenue near Cherryvale Road in east Boulder. The site was affected by the 2013 floods and was within the 100-year floodplain. It took two years to reduce flood hazards on the property to bring it into compliance with FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The 15-acre Waterview project will include 80 deed-restricted affordable units and 15,000 square feet of commercial space across 10 buildings. Units will range from studios to three-bedrooms and will have affordable units and market-rate units mixed in the same buildings and on the same floors.

If approved by the planning board, Waterview will undergo a technical document review before applying for building permits. Shutkin Sustainable Living are hoping to apply for permits by this fall and break ground early next year.

COVID Cases Falling in Boulder County

Boulder County is seeing lower numbers of COVID cases and hospitalizations but doesn’t expect the county to further relax restrictions anytime soon. Numbers are not low enough to move to what the state calls “ Level Blue” which would allow businesses to increase capacity and bars to serve alcohol until midnight. Gov Jared Polis told the Daily Camera Wednesday that he has no plans to get rid of the statewide mask order. While he’s encouraged by the lower case numbers and the vaccination rates, Polis says the data still does not support a return to pre-pandemic conditions for businesses and social interactions.

Governor Polis Demands that Customers Not Be Stuck with Higher Energy Costs from Cold Snap

Governor Polis demanded again yesterday that Colorado utility customers not be stuck with the full cost of emergency fuel boosted by last month’s frigid cold snap.

The Colorado Sun reports that the problem includes Xcel Energy as well as other providers which may try to pass on higher excess costs to gas and electric consumers. Polis however thinks the utilities should have warned consumers.

Polis: “I don’t think utilities should approach the state and say we want to charge consumers when during the period in time they weren’t out there notifying people: please cut back, turn off your lights, you know decrease your temperature by three degrees because that is a very simple easy way to show that yes you can reduce usage. If after all that every step you can within reason you’ve taken, to reduce usage, if there is still cost because of short term volatility then it’s a fair conversation about the proper allocation between shareholders and between customers.”

In a letter to Polis, Xcel said it would cooperate with the Public Utilities Commission as it looks into surcharge requests expected from five different Colorado utilities.