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Yo, yo, it's Alpine Balsam Area Plan time. *woot*
Staff has broken up the area into five "character districts."
Neighborhood center (Ideal Market shopping center, etc.)
Hospital Site
North/South Gateways
Transitional mixed-use
Mixed residential
Options to add housing in 3 and 4 (gateways, transitional mixed use) says Jean Gatza, senior planner
Major takeaways from public engagement so far: Neighborhood Quality of Life is High; Neighborhood Center functions well and is well-loved; Mixed views on new housing and density; Recreation, open and green space are valued; Support for Access and Mobility Hub
The city has done a traffic impact study. All of the proposed uses will "generate trips at a level that is less than half of the traffic estimated to have been generated by active hospital."
As far as flood mitigation goes, staff is recommending site-specific projects only. Not anything as part of larger efforts, due to impacts on North Boulder Park.
Staff is really flying through the presentation; apologies that I'm having trouble keeping up.
Gatza: "What we mean by high density: In Boulder, based on the comprehensive plan, anything above 14 dwelling units per acre." But that can be very different, from rowhouses to townhomes, apartments, duplexes/triplexes, etc.
Brockett asks about staff's reference to a height map.
Chris Meschuk takes this one, and I'm not entirely sure what he said, but maybe that instead of a broad height limit for the whole area, but maybe going higher toward Broadway, say, with lower toward the mts.
Jones: Could we require a variety of heights/roof lines?
Meschuk: That's exactly the idea.
Would tackle feedback that projects often get that buildings are too boxy.
There are 5 options for land use/zoning in the area plan. Public engagement on these still ongoing. It's about "how to craft the best path forward that meets goals and objectives and addresses ppl’s concerns."
Option 1: Few changes in the area. Only a few land use changes to reflect high-density housing that already exists, but mostly maintains/preserves what is there now. Low density, low potential for affordable housing.
Gatza: "Staff was not intending to include a low-density option" but did so bc of the community feedback. "Character of area would remain much as it is today," with only changes in the city-owned site.
Housing yield for the city's site: 65-100 or so units would be possible under this option. In the whole area, maybe 50 would be added under this option.
Gatza: These are pretty broad estimates, for comparison purposes only.
And to specify, when I say "site" that means the 8.8 acres the city owns. Area = the area around the site, that the city has no real control over except for land use and other regulations.
Option 2: Emphasize housing.
Some currently commercial/office zones could to be changed to residential. Higher density and more mixed-use. Has more potential for affordable housing.
Option 3: Strongly emphasize housing.
Converting non-residential uses to housing, with higher density. Good potential for affordable housing; would allow 3-4 stories of height.
Some potential housing unit counts "evolution over time, should properties redevelop," as Gatza says:
Option 2: Site 170-250; Area: 400 / 650 units total
Option 3: Site 230-300; Area 530 / 830 units
People are *freaking out* over the unit counts. Lots of heavy sighs in the audience, clutching of pearls, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if someone fainted.
OK, Options 4 and 5 emphasize mixed-use rather than housing only. 5 would prioritize city/county offices.
Option 5 would also require some construction of structured parking. Allow 30-90 units on the site / 400 units in the area
I missed Option 4, but the packet says 170-250 units on the site / ~400 in the area.

Again, want to emphasize that the area numbers are estimates over time given redevelopment. Not like the site, which is more immediate.
Weaver: In Option 5, how many acres of county's land at Iris/Broadway can be developed and how many housing units would that be? Bc we're giving up some land at the hospital site.
Yates: What we’re struggling with here is two things: housing density, and then office/housing. Can you guys do math on traffic loads on an acre of office vs. an acre of housing?
Gatza: With traffic input study, consultant looked at all these uses. There were some dif, but within any of the options, the existing network could accommodate that. Dif implications for peak times, etc.
Yates: We should lay that out for the community.
Young: It also depends on who lives there. If it's ppl with disabilities who can't drive and wouldn't have cars, etc. ... to what extent was that factored in? (to the traffic study)
Gatza: It looked at the higher end of traffic trips, not the lower end, bc that's what community was concerned about.
Staff continuing presentation.
"Go quick," says Mayor Jones. "Bc we're almost done listening."
Next steps: If council decides components are OK, final public engagement will be in June-July through boards/commissions (TAB, HAB, PRAB) and public comment
Planning Board, City Council public hearings in August
Adoption by September
BoCo commissioner Deb Gardner is here. Alpine Balsam is still their No. 1 site for county offices.
Jones: What's the synergy you see with the city there?
Gardner: We'd be providing human services, workforce services, etc. so it depends on what you put there.
Jones: Not too stoked to build more parking. Why won't our transportation district + existing parking garage work?
James Butler (also from BoCo): We'd have to do a traffic study to know for sure, but looking at Longmont hub, we have a lot of clients that come in for services.
Depending on the type of services, ppl have different expectations about parking, Butler says.
Jones: Do you see a possibility where we wouldn't have to build parking?
Butler: Transportation folks very much OK with reducing parking.
Gardner: As a principle, we're loath to build parking as well. Looking for a way to build min amount of parking would be a shared goal.
Gardner: Parking we're building at county office on Coffman in Longmont is being built in a way that the floors can be converted to housing in the future. We could do the same thing here.
Jones: Can you ballpark housing units we could do on Broadway/Iris?
Butler: It's all a factor of how much density you're going for.
Butler: "I can say confidently, a lot more than you can do on your site." Broadway/Iris is 17 acres, vs. 8.8 at Alpine-Balsam.
Gardner: "I think at this point, we should keep all options on the table."
Morzel: Can you live with 80,000 sq ft of office space?
County: No.
Morzel: Can you live without parking?
County: For our employees, yes. It's about our clients.
My lower back is *effed* right now. Someone bring me one of those Icy Hot patches, please.
Yates: We have a 401-stall parking garage there. Would that be enough for you, assuming we weren't there?
Butler: I think so.
Yates: Of 17 acres, how much is ballfields?
Butler: Half.
Yates: How much by historic building?
Butler: Half-acre
Yates: So roughly 8 acres there that are buildable?
Butler: There's also flooding...
Yates: So more than 2, less than 10?
(That was about Broadway/Iris, to be clear.)
We're doing qs about county clients, where they live, how they get to county offices, etc.
Carlisle: How many trips a day does the Longmont hub generate?
Butler: Idk.
Carlisle: That's something I'd like to know.
Gardner: We could get that level of detail via a survey.
County prefers Option 5, "bc that gives us the option to be able to have a hub there at that site," Gardner says. "With additional emphasis on housing doesn't really offer the opportunity for this kind of services at that site."
Brockett: Do you care much what your parcel gets zoned?
Nah, county says.
Yates: We're going to be deciding in September. Are you going to be ready to commit to this and Broadway/Iris by then?
Gardner: We'd rather it happen sooner.
Jones: In terms of what we're doing tonight, it doesn't matter what we think, what our personal opinions are right now, it's do we think options are ready to go out to the public?
Carlisle wants to know if staff read the community survey of 500 ppl.
Meschuk: We did.
Carlisle: That's the kind of thing I'd like to hear more of before deciding anything.
Carlisle: One of the staff reports said there wouldn't be as many (car) trips at the hospital generated, but however, this is part of my neighborhood in the sense that I've been shopping there. There has never been the kind of traffic congestion there is today.
"We need to know more about (transportation issues) before we start shoving something in there."
Jones trying to corral Carlisle and Morzel.
"We don't care what you think about the options," Jones says to Morzel. "Are these goals and objectives" a good framework?
"Yes," Morzel says.
Weaver good with the goals and objectives. (That's what council is addressing now.)
Brockett, too, but wants to tweak the language to make sure it's a goal to keep shopping centers, not replace them with new development.
Young is proposing that options 1 and 3 be taken off the table. That's the lowest density and highest density. She cites the split among public opinion. "Our job is to start the conversation of bringing ppl to a compromise."
Jones: On one hand, I appreciate that. But then the ppl who came to testify for 1 and 3 feel like, we were just not heard.
Young: I would respond, we did hear you. It's part of our job to make that tough decision.
"Part of it is for us to say we're going to start to bring you together" and not let "either extreme opinion prevail in the end, bc our hope is that it will end up somewhere in the middle."
Nagle: I'm really stuck on the neighborhood survey. Understands it's not statistically valid, but this neighborhood "overwhelmingly" favored low density, so I think Option 1 needs left on the table.
"I'm curious how robust we're going to be with engagement." 100 ppl on Be Heard Boulder wasn't robust with the neighborhood got 500 ppl on their survey.
Morzel would take Options 1 and 5 off.
Wanted to say that Nagle feels it's fair to leave Option 3 on if Option 1 is being left on. But back to Morzel... doesn't want offices there.
"It's all housing" there, Morzel says.
Jones: "It's a hospital right now."
Weaver "close to where Mary is" right now.
"I don't think we're going to spend $40M to keep it the way it is now."
Yates agrees with Morzel.
"I can't see myself ultimately supporting 1, but 5 is the one I hate the worst." It's "too much office jammed in a neighborhood."
"Is that why we spent $40M to get 30 units of housing?" (RE: Option 1)
Brockett: "It's not like you can just take 5, or just take 3. It's parts and pieces."
OK advancing all the options to the community for feedback.
Carlisle: "It just seems that we're being put on this really fast timeline."
Wants Option 5 and Option 3 off the table. "That's too intense; it's too dense." (Option 3 specifically)
What's the density of the Holiday neighborhood, she asks?
Brockett: 20 dwellings per acre, so high density. Other areas of it are 12 units per acre.
Jones: "We need to illustrate options so ppl can feel what they feel like."
She wants to leave all the options on the table. "We want to have a conversation about housing ... in a meaningful way."
Young: The thing about 1 is that it doesn't meet our objective around affordable housing.
Doing a straw poll to maybe eliminate Option 1 (no change, low density)
Weaver to staff: Do you want us to kill one? Or are you OK going forward with all five?
Staff: If there's one you don't want considered, then take it off.
Nagle: What's the lowest number of housing units we can have on site to have affordable housing?
Kurt Firnhaber: 170 is the number we put in there as a starting point.
Everyone but Nagle votes to eliminate Option 1: Leaving things the same.
Young, Nagle, Carlisle and Weaver want to eliminate Option 3 (the high density one).
Yates, Carlisle, Morzel vote to eliminate Option 5.

So only Option 1 is dying.
Kind of, not huge, but noteworthy. Council is saying things can't stay the way they are. (Makes sense, since they spent $40M.)
Jones asks for traffic info to be presented differently: "I think the reason ppl don’t believe us on traffic” is bc what traffic feels like is different than what the city says it is.
“Traffic has increased” in the city, thought it’s decreased from the hospital. “You need to ground it in reality. Just saying it won’t be worse than it used to be” doesn’t cut it.
Brockett suggests writing into the goals and objectives that density decreases to the west of the site. So most height and density toward Broadway, with the area getting less dense as it heads toward 9th Street.
Morzel: I don't think labels of low- medium- high-density help the discussion. It's about building bulk, height, mass and scale.
I'm sorry; I'm fading a bit. But Carlisle asked that staff explore options for where else city offices could go. Council is looking at its facilities master plan in August. "Where should gov't live in Boulder?" Meschuk says.
I think that's a wrap on this one. Next up: CU South. Yay? New thread for that.

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