Boulder Council Member Pulls Back Moratorium Proposal But Concerns Remain

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September 16, 2014

In response to Council Member Sam Weaver's proposal of a complete moratorium on infill and redevelopment projects that could have had devastating economic impacts on our community, the Boulder Chamber made a call to action. Leveraging the reach of its membership into the community as well as strategic partnerships, the Chamber joined with other community members to voice their concerns to the Boulder City Council.

As a result, Council Member Weaver issued a revised proposal that  walks back from the extreme measure of a moratorium in favor of suspending existing major planning process and instituting a new process overseen by an appointed body of citizens with a majority controlled by Council Members. The proposal puts forth a list of issues*  that this body would take on with the goal of recommending changes to code and regulations.

The Boulder Chamber is still urging members to attend tonight’s Study Session from 5-7pm and sign up IN PERSON to speak at the Public Hearing on Item 5B which we expect to begin at around 8pm. DETAILS HERE.

Angelique Espinoza, Public Affairs Director for the Boulder Chamber states "We appreciate Council Member Weaver’s efforts to respond constructively to the many emails and calls he received, and we pledge to participate constructively in the process that will follow Council’s discussion this evening. Our concerns are;

  • I don’t think we would agree with the premise that there is a problem with the current trajectory for our community planning in all the areas identified.
  • Some of the areas we would identify as problematic are not listed.
  • The Comprehensive Planning process already in place is not broken – we can always strive for improvement, but should respect the considerable contributions of so many to our guiding document.
  • To the extent that the proposal suspends or supplants the existing Comprehensive Plan Update process, it has potential to undermine community confidence and participation in future planning efforts
  • We are concerned about the degree of uncertainty this could introduce, thus delaying or nullifying good projects.
  • Any new process must include representation that reflects the whole community, including those whose busy lives typically preclude regular vocal participation in city planning efforts.

We recognize that it is the prerogative of City Council to address issues of community concern, including those of specific concern to business interests. They have heard strong opinions from diverse sectors of the community. Now the hard work begins. We look forward to participate in a constructive manner regarding the issues that a majority of City Council agree are worthy of tackling."

The complete text of Council  Member Weaver's new proposal and input from other members of the Boulder City Council can be found on the City's public listserv hotline.

*The list for consideration includes that;

  • representations of features to be included in a project site or use plan review be more binding than they are currently,
  • a neighborhood liaison position be instituted,
  • a Housing Advisory Board be created and seated,
  • Planning Board responsibilities be expanded to include generation of legislative proposals,
  • density bonus policies be reviewed,
  • significant community benefit be received by the citizens of the City for height and intensity variances,
  • adequate public facilities impact fees to be receive by the City to offset development impacts,
  • calculation of development metrics such as open space area be reviewed to insure they are not incentivizing larger units over smaller units;
  • and all other such issues as the committee and Council deem appropriate;
  • the quantities and qualities described should include consideration during the process of
    • residential population and rate of change,
    • employment base and rate of change,
    • annual greenhouse gas emissions and rate of change,
    • levels of service for all public services and rate of change,
    • neighborhood walkability and transit access indices and rates of change,
    • delivered building quality and accessibility at human scale,
    • and all other such issues as the committee and Council deem appropriate;

The Boulder Chamber is Boulder’s flagship business support and advocacy organization.  For more information, on upcoming events or to become a member, visit www.boulderchamber.com.

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