, 107 tweets, 12 min read Read on Twitter
This is the CU South thread.

Tbh, my heart's not in it, but I'll tweet when they get to the council discussion over options.
Here's the gist of what's being discussed tonight. To recap: CU wants 129 acres of public land, 30 acres for fields. The current plan will inundate that acreage with water.

Also, the flood wall can only go partially in CDOT's right of way. The rest will have to go in open space
2 qs being decided by council tonight:
Should staff proceed with a design that puts the floodwall on open space?
What’s the better change to accommodate CU: Land use changes, or change to 500-yr design to 100-yr or more?
I realize that last tweet wasn't well-worded; apologies.
The council will debate land use changes vs. changing the detention area. Right now, it's big enough for a 500-yr storm. It could be made smaller, for a between 100-yr and 500-yr storm
For the uninitiated, the 100-yr or 500-yr designations are measures of how likely a storm of a certain size is to occur in a given year. I forget the exact figures, but with climate change, bigger storms are becoming more likely.
Jeff Arthur: All of the options that have been considered since 2015 include impacts to open space. Wants council to keep that in mind as they consider if doing flood mitigation is worth the impacts to open space.
5 acres would be impacted by the flood wall itself, underground foundation, groundwater conveyance system, maintenance road, construction/maintenance activity
Construction in open space will impact federal and city wetlands, habitat for federally threatened plant and animal species, and South Boulder Creek State Natural Area, which contains high-quality tallgrass prairie, best remaining in the state/region.
3 of 90 acres of the state natural area would be "permanently lost," Weaver says, quoting the council memo.
Here's what's in impacted areas: Preble’s jumping mouse (federally threatened species), wetlands that include Wooly Sedge Wet Meadow, a globally vulnerable plant community; Ute ladies’ tresses orchid (federally threatened), northern leopard frog (classified as sensitive)
I terms of threatened species, "any sort of impact to them could potentially destroy them," says someone I recognize but have forgotten his name.

I'm sorry, dude, and followers.
City has given up some of this acreage before: 1 acre, in 2013, for the U.S. 36 bikeway. They tried to transplant some Ute ladies' tresses, but they died.
Arthur: Do you want us to move forward with this plan, or go back to "pre-2015" plans that don't include using this at all?

Council will revisit that later in the evening.
Hey, Arthur is saying what I tweeted earlier about 100-yr and 500-yr storms.
500-yr storm is 0.2% chance of happening every year; 100-yr is 1% chance.
So if Boulder does smaller than 500-yr but bigger than 100-yr, it would be for a storm that has between 0.2%-1% chance of happening in a given year.
The "design storm" (500-yr vs. 100-yr or something in between) also impacts the height of the flood wall, Arthur says. 4-5 foot difference between the two.
The 100-yr floodwall is 30-40 ft high (from the inside) so 15-30 ft (ish, Arthur says) when viewed from the highway side. Add 4-5 ft to that for 500-yr.
I'm as confused as Carlisle appears to be in some question she's attempting to ask.
It's about over-topping of U.S. 36.
Which is the whole point of this project: Whatever they pick has to prevent that but not make flooding worse downstream.
Now we're talking land use. In 2015, a Boulder Valley Comp Plan update drew the current maps:
Public (129 acres)
Parks, Urban, Other (65 acres)
Open Space- Other (118 acres)
CU, in its letter to council in June, requested that any Public land that gets inundated (36 acres) be replaced with OSO land that they can develop. Plus whatever acreage they can't use for athletic fields.
Here's what a land use change would require:
Planning Board public hearing to approve/deny (2 months)
City council public hearing (two months)....
... and County Commissioners could call-up the land use change within 30 days of council’s decision. Public hearing must be held by them within 60 days of the call-up decision. They can approve, deny or modify the changes.
That's per the memo.
Arthur: "OSO generally coincides with the areas with flood impacts. To this point, it's been OK bc flood impacts on OSO aren't a regulatory or practical issue. In order to support CU's objectives, we'd need to have a much better understanding of flood impacts."
That's IF the university develops on some OSO-zoned land in exchange for the Public land that gets inundated by flood work.
Some haggling over the existing levee and what happens if it is removed. Not really clear what is being said.
I'm not the only one, apparently.
This is the first thing I've understood in 15 min: It is possible to remove some of the land in the 500-yr floodplain OUT of that floodplain by using fill to raise it up. I'm not sure why that matters... maybe bc it means CU can then build on some of the OSO land.
Jones: Now CU wants us to live with them (the land use designations) but we created them in the first place
(Sorry for the long pauses between tweets; I'm drifting a bit.)
Weaver: What guidance are you looking for from us?
Arthur: 3 qs. Knowing what we know about CDOT's position, are you comfortable with us ... figuring out if we can make the flood wall work in open space?
Second: Do we still want to provide 500-yr detention, or is there comfort with something less than that? Would you like us to look at options that shrink the depth or footprint?
Third: We could potentially look at some change to land use map. Would you be interested in taking some of the OSO and making that Public so CU can use that?
We're gonna hear from CU first. Frances Draper is here.
"CU is still here; there's a pony in here someplace. We just gotta find her. The key here is exactly what we've been talking about. Is there an opp to shift boundaries if we need to."
"As you know, Variant 1 was not our favorite choice, but if that's the aisle we're going down," what can be done to make this work?
Going over some maps now. I'm listening rather than tweeting.
Draper is suggesting adding 30-some acres of OSO land that runs along the Public land line, following the 500-yr floodplain.
"Right now, it's perfectly legal to build in the 500-yr flood plain," Draper says. "It allows you to proceed with Variant 1."
Suggests council should also look at detention size and how it plays into dam height, because it will make the access road more costly.
Draper:"This is an expensive adjustment. We'll have to build a not inexpensive road over the dam at the city's expense. It's not a cheap road."
Jones: When you say it's not cheap. Order of magnitude?
Draper: We discussed it amongst ourselves.... millions of dollars. "It's not insignificant."
It also cuts CU off from Table Mesa, which was part of the guiding principles. (To not do that.)

"These are just things to think about. But this is doable."
Seems to be pushing hard against Variant 1.
Draper: "You're building a stool with three legs supporting it:" CDOT, CU and the city.
With a land use swap, "it's something we could create a nice sliding scale with."
Yates: How do you feel about the idea of raising the land out of the 500-yr floodplain?
Draper: I don't think we object. It's a matter of cost, availability of dirt, etc.
Yates: We have to figure out who pays for that, but conceptually you're not against it?
Draper: No.
I'm getting a weird vibe from Draper tonight; I think council is picking up on it, too.
Draper: In the lower flood mitigation (100-yr, I think she means) the tennis courts could stay where we planned them. That would save us the cost of moving them.

Weaver: That's not my recollection.
Jones: You keep talking about Variant 1, but we don't have a choice. CDOT pretty much nixed Variant 2.
(That was in relation to needing to build an expensive road over the dam.)

Weaver: It would seem crazy to me to build something this big and not put access off 93 as well. I don't think we have a transportation plan.
Draper: Our plan now is access of Table Mesa. We talked about 93; we'd have to put a traffic light. It wouldn't be a great access to the entire property. Either way we'd have to build something over the dam. Otherwise you're going through the neighborhood.
Brockett: I know council isn't interested in going to Variant 2, but we didn't dive into the exact details of how to make it work. I'd never seen staff analysis of what that would look like.
Draper: That would get rid of a lot of problems. (Laughs)
Weaver: We'd have to pave South Boulder Creek under the bridge. Does that sound...?
Brockett: It sounds pretty awful. But my understanding was that (decision) came from a pretty short discussion.
Jones: If we're trying to protect natural areas, that doesn't seem like the way to do it.
Brockett: I'm just saying, from a thorough analysis says.
Arthur: "We'd be taking the most sensitive stretch of this" (land) and having to put something there.
Draper: We can put together an agreement "fairly readily" so you can deal with open space.
Jones wants to hear from open space. Dan Burke, director, taking this. "I just want to remind everyone that we submitted recommendations a year ago for no structures on open space."
Burke: "Exchanging some 30 acres of OSO for some other use eats away at some of the board's recommendations last fall."
Jones: No matter what we do, it's going to have some impacts on open space lands. We don't get out of here without some impacts. Do you see a better way? CDOT was clear; it was new information. It was new for all of us, including open space, about the right-of-way.
"If there's a better alternative, we'd like to know it."
Burke: "If council is talking about sticking with existing variants that you've been looking at since 2015, we are talking about a flood wall. The major impact is going to be there. "
"Unless council has appetite to go back beyond. There's certainly options out there, pre-2013 that could be resurrected from an open space perspective that's less (impactful)..."
But if not, what the board will likely look at is lands immediately adjacent that could be used to achieve the "net open space benefit."
Carlisle: If the option of looking at other variables came up, have you looked at anything that would go back further, back in time?
John Potter: (that's the guy I didn't name earlier! I knew I knew him!) We're not in the flood mitigation space. That's not what we do.
Potter: In 2015, when Option D came forward, a berm was running through open space. The solution was put it in the CDOT right of way. Ever since then, we've been moving toward, every structure goes in CDOT right-of-way.
"If that's truly not possible, it brings us back to pre-Option D. There were 9 options with virtually no impact on open space, but they were rejected for other reasons:" you'd have to dig a pipeline, or they were more expensive.
Potter: If it matters more to protect a large area downstream of here, than it does to protect open space, we'll "certainly" work with utilities to figure something out.
Some consulting of the map as to what open space to preserve/restore.
Burke: The issue now is if there are going to be additional impacts to open space (5 acres) where would they go now to make up that?
Open space wants the same land that CU does for a swap.
"Everybody wants the same land," Yates jokes. "It's like the Middle East."
You know what's fun when your back hurts so bad you can't even bear to bike 4 miles? Sitting through a five-hour council meeting. Ouch.
And not just any council meeting: A council meeting where we're revisiting issues that the city has been working on for 20-PLUS YEARS.
Morzel: If we have to use the land for flood stuff and/or to build on, what do you do with the Ute ladies tresses. Do you just kill them?
Potter: We'd try to transplant them. Without much hope, but we'd try.
Regarding wetlands that will be impacted: There's no way to replace this. But we'd probably to restore some of the OSO land (the land that CU said would make good buildable land in exchange for inundation on Public land). Oy.
Morzel: There seem to be a lot of Prebles mice here. How do you mitigate? That must be incredible habitat for the mice?

Don D'Amico corrects her. She was looking at the orchid habitat, which is concentrated along the highway.
D'Amico: It's an incremental chipping away of habitat.
Morzel: Where do you hit collapse?
D'Amico: We're still working through the impacts.
Sorry, we're talking about some hypothetical designs that aren't being planned on, so I really don't care. 99% sure it's Carlisle revisiting the citizen-suggested upstream concept. Talk about a zombie.
It's a variant that does not require a flood wall along 36. Council asks open space how they feel about it.
D'Amico: This is not an improvement, from an open space perspective.
Jones: Were there any magic bullets, pre-2015? Anything we're not thinking of?
Burke: idk. Were there any options we threw out for cost considerations that compare to what we're doing now?
Weaver: It seems like we're where we're at for a reason.
OMG, Morzel is going back to the LATE 90s!!!
Council says open space should continue conversations with the city about using their land for the flood wall.
Jones: Given that we don't have a better option, yes.
Morzel: Given the concentration of these Ute ladies tresses, I'd like open space to try and transplant them before we totally commit to wiping out these orchids.
D'Amico: We do mitigation from impacts all the time. This is the hardest we've ever worked.
"You can replace the Mona Lisa with Velvet Elvis. They're both art. That comes to mind when it comes to how to mitigate these resources that are very hard to restore."
Jones: We hear you. If we had a better alternative, I'd like to know what it is. There's nothing more we can do tonight. Idk that we have a better alternative; we have to do flood mitigation.
It will take until Q4 of this year to get a "reliable analysis" on shrinking the detention area and how much protection that will offer, Arthur says.
Brockett: "If we're going to be practical about this and actually get this done," we have to make some concessions. So what's the appetite: Don't touch OSO and let's pull back protection? To me, you could trade 5-8 acres of OSO that has low ecological value.
If we got a temperature on that tradeoff, that would help us give staff direction on what protection to look at. (Still Brockett)
Yates, in directing staff of what variables to play with, says staff will keep 129 acres that CU needs as constant
Jones: Wait. You're giving your opinion
Yates: You gotta hold something constant
Jones tries to interrupt again.

So that's where we are. Council still not agreeing that CU should get to use the amount of its own land that it says it needs. *le sigh*
Jones: Do you need us to tell you what variable to hold constant?
Arthur: We do
Jones: That's a political decision.
Yates: We can make a decision based on this information. If we're still short 5 acres, then we can have a convo with CU.
Weaver agreeing. It will show the tradeoffs.
Jones: I would not necessarily... I think we're trying to mitigate known impacts. If there are really important lands, or some other key areas we just can't afford to give us. That to me is an important variable that might trump 129 acres or whatever.
Nagle speaks! For the first time in hours.
We're talking open space use and disposal of lands. Reminder from the last time we talked about this: Council gets to decide what counts as an open space use (and therefore whether or not a disposal will be needed to build the flood wall).
Burke: If it's the council's decision to treat this as a disposal, we could start that process now.
Arthur recapping council feedback.
Staff continuing conversations with open space RE: flood wall and possible mitigation. Staff working on options that give CU the acreage they need by shrinking detention (but getting as close to 500-yr as possible) or doing some land use swaps.
Arthur: I'm going to say end of the year (for this data) and if we have info sooner, we'll come back sooner. I want to under-promise and over-deliver.
Weaver: End of the year is fine as long as we're not slowing down progress.
Arthur: If we are continuing to go with general concept we've discussed, all of the work we're doing still fits within this option so we can keep plugging along.
Brockett: Five months is still a long time. If we only do two options, does it shave time off?
No definitive answer to that.
Arthur: "That would certainly be our goal. I'm reluctant to commit to something and then follow up and say we can't pull it off."
One last CU thing: Do we still need the Aug. 13 study session with CU?
No, Jones says.
Draper: There are other things we can talk about.
Jones: I thought you didn't want it.
Draper: No, we never said that.
Jones: I'm confused now.
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