Shay Castle Profile picture
Aug 28, 2019 281 tweets >60 min read Read on X
New thread for Alpine-Balsam. There are kinda two parts to this: A look at the Pavilion building and if it makes sense to renovate that, and then the Area Plan.
Staff presentation for the first:…
And a couple of definitions. When we say Area Plan, we're talking about the geographic area that runs along Broadway from roughly Balsam Ave. to North Street, and 9th to 13th Streets east-west.
When we're talking about the city site, specifically we're referring to the 8.8-acre former BCH site that the city bought in 2015 for $40M.
I might tweet a little less with this, just bc there's so much info. But I'll keep you informed.
Chris Meschuk reminding us what council is actually doing tonight. Council is NOT making decisions on the draft Area Plan, but taking feedback. Adoption is scheduled for Sept. 24, at a joint Planning Board/council meeting.
Michele Crane, city facilities design and construction manager, is sharing early work on Boulder's facilities master plan, which is helpful in looking at possible Pavilion uses.
When we're talking about the Pavilion building, we mean 1155 Alpine, part of the BCH site.

The city is considering renovating this to consolidate three city buildings: Two in the high hazard flood zone and one that's leased for $1M/yr.
Some random facilities stats: City owns and maintains 380 buildings and facilities; over 1M square feet.

Customers come to 22 locations in Boulder to do business with the city.
There are also 22 possible buildings that could be consolidated bc they're not geography specific (the rec centers are an example of places that can't be moved, bc they are located to provide service to a particular area)
"Our buildings work as a network" throughout the city, Crane says.
The real question tonight, Crane says: Is Alpine-Balsam a good place to provide city services?
Staff is arguing that it is: It could accommodate 250-300 staff and consolidate 3-4 buildings.
The 22 buildings that could be consolidated represent $100M in value, Crane says. Some surprising ones on that list (see slide 6 for that) including the building we're sitting in now and the north building of the main library.
I could share the list but it's *really* long.
"We can reduce our gross square footage by 22% and carbon footprint by up to 60%" just through consolidation, Crane says.
Crane: Ops and maintenance costs could be reduced by 30%.

"It's in those areas we see savings to help fund implementation."
About 60% of admin needs and customer service desks could be provided at AB site. 110,600 sq ft of 378,800 total sq ft.
Getting a bit ahead of myself, but I found these stats fascinating. Of City of Boulder employees who commute in, 24% come in on Highway 119
17% come in on Arapahoe (Highway 7)
54% come in on U.S. 36
A "majority" of city staff commute in, Crane says. So intercepting folks coming from out east in the future could be positive.
"We're boiling this down, and we've concluded Alpine-Balsam" is a good place to provide services where ppl live.
The Broadway corridor makes this site accessible.
Another consolidation out east makes sense, but only in the longer-term, staff argues. "We're more or less on borrowed time" with the buildings in the flood zone: New Britain and Park Central.
Going into some Pavilion costs.
$227-$275 per square foot just in construction.
Estimates for the Pavilion renovation — which are $58M, btw — are "conservative," Crane says.
Another big cost, according to staff, is "escalation costs" of $30-$146/sq ft. Basically, how much construction costs will or could go up by the time the city bids the project out (a couple years from now)
So now we're at $350-$500/sq ft. Every project will have these costs, Crane says. Everything else is city-specific, stuff that would normally be passed on in costs to the tenant. But the city is the tenant, so they pay.
Furniture, fixtures, cost to go to net zero, etc.
At the Pavilion, We have land, we have parking and we have the structure." But it will need a lot of work: After deconstruction it won't have a mechanical system or two exterior walls, according to this document from staff:…
Renovating the Pavilion over leasing space will save $100M in 50 years. That's why it's a good investment, Crane says.
That assumes New Britain and Park Central staff will have to move to leased space. Staff using a $1M/yr estimate for that, which is the cost to lease the Center Green building.
We bought this site in part to consolidate city buildings, Crane says. "it's available right now to renovate."

It's a good investment cost-wise and to meet energy goals.
Funding for Pavilion: $2M over 2020-2021 from General Fund and Facilities & Asset Management backlog; debt after 2022, paid $3M/yr from general fund capital budget
That debt number will likely change after more detailed design work and updated to reflect interest rates.
6 years before Pavilion would be available, Crane says in response to Brockett question: 2 yrs of site review, 2-2.5 years of construction.

2025 for sure; 2023-2024 "might be a little optimistic"
Weaver asks what staff used for lease cost increases at Center Green: 3% per year
"That's pretty good bc my leases have been increasing more than that," Weaver says. "That's a conservative number."
A little info on costs: The $2M staff estimates they'll spend in 2021-2022. Only half of that could possibly be recouped if city decided to sell (the entitlements, etc.) bc a lot of the work would be specific to city needs.
Young: Building has to go through site review. Why?
Attorney David Gehr: It's the height of the building.
Crane going over some "visioning" of the Pavilion and what it could be.
At Brenton, "we took one of our worst-performing buildings and turned it into one of our best and the first all-electric building in Boulder."
That was quite a bit cheaper, though:…
I think that went over budget a bit, but still in no way close to $58M.
Young asking a question that Yates asked: How many customers are actually coming to the city on a daily or yearly basis that might be served at the Pavilion?
No answer for that bc they don't know what services might go there.
In fact, very few specific answers to Yates' questions (I thought) in that document I linked to.
Crane: "Without looking at (building) consolidation, it just won't be something we'll be able to achieve."

"It" being reaching our goals for building energy use.
Morzel: Most of our staff come in from east or north. "Why bring them all the way to the west side of town?"

Audience claps; Morzel reminds them they can't. Jones restates them: No booing, no clapping.
Morzel: Why not start with the eastern side of town now? Traffic less congested, real estate cheaper.

Crane: We have about 1,000 staff in total, so when we really looked at impact of staff moving, it wasn't an enormous factor.
"What we were seeing and why we wanted to continue to provide services... this is where ppl live and are trying to access services. It's close to the civic core." We're not going to meet all our needs here; we'll look out east, too, but it's a "much longer time horizon."
"It took us years to find a site for Fire Station 3. The Pavilion is an opportunity now."
Morzel: What about East Bookend?
Meschuk: We were looking at that, but council gave us direction to not locate there and to look at Alpine Balsam for city services.
And there's not enough space on the east bookend (of the civic area, which is where we are now) for staff, Meschuk says. "There will always be multiple service hubs."
Cheryl Patelli, CFO: Debt service projections for Pavilion used a 4% interest rate.
(That was a response to Morzel q)
Weaver asked about a discount rate, but idk what that is. Any finance ppl out there want to help me out?
Didn't know this: Boulder leases the municipal court space.
Yates: Have we looked at the market to buy/rent a 93,000 sq ft building? (Instead of the Pavilion)
Crane: There's not a ton for 93K sq ft.

Yeah, cuz Boulder (and this council) hates big office buildings, remember?
OK, moving on to the draft area plan
This is a long presentation. General rule of 1 min per slide means we could be here for an hour(!) just listening to the staff presentation.
OK maybe not: she's moving fast.
I *think* this is Jean Gatza, but I missed her name when she started. Did anyone catch it?

(P.S. I hate that I don't know all of staff's names, esp. ones I've interviewed on the phone. But there's so many of them!)
I know I'm way behind staff presentation, but I thought I'd take this opportunity to say what an area plan is and does: Basically, it sets land use and zoning to guide development and redevelopment in a specific area.
We're going over various land uses and zonings and what they mean. And it *is* Jean Gatza!
We're talking about how wide the room is. No one here with an eye for dimensions, apparently. (Me included)
Here are some proposals. It's hard to explain where these blocks are; you kinda need a map to accompany it to see.
East block: Civic and Mixed Use 2 (medical pavilion for city hub, along Broadway for city facilities or mixed-use)
Center block: High Density Residential 2 and High Density Residential or Public (3-story stacked flats set back from Balsam; 4-story stacked flats OR county service hub along Alpine)
West block: High Density Residential 1 (2-3 story townhomes)

Neighborhood Center and South along Broadway: MU-1
South of Alpine: MU-1 and MU-2 (that's mixed-use)
"A change in land use or zoning does not require property owners to redevelop," Gatza says. Changing to mixed-use in this area signals intention in our city goals to encourage housing.

This is in regards to the shopping centers there.
Some housing could be allowed today under current land use regs, so changing to mixed use won't necessarily result in redevelopment of those shopping centers. And there are other ways the city could protect them: landmarking, zoning, etc.
Weaver: Does this change in land use change what can be built there?
Gatza: No. But we would be exploring that.
Weaver: it does not materially change the types of buildings that can go there.
Gatza: Not yet.
Jones: Not yet? You mean no?
Gehr: It does signify an area of change.
Gehr: Our typically process is that we would request a BVCP land use change and zoning change. But there are a "number of steps" that have to take place before you rezone.
Weaver: We wouldn't have to rezone. And we have control over that. Housing is allowed in that zone now; if we change it to mixed use, housing would still be allowed.
Gehr: Current zoning allows high-density residential to occur now.
*There* at the shopping centers, specifically, bc it's zoned Business Commercial.
Weaver restating: Changes we make in this process does not change what uses allowed would be.
I need to update my story, in that case. I may have worded that incorrectly.
Nagle q: If it already allows housing, why are we making that land use shift?
Nagle: Did the community ask for this? This is, from what I've heard, one of the most adored areas. I think we're freaking ppl out, bc I'm freaked out.
Meschuk: Area plan is guiding change over time. Right now, we have a policy and guiding principles in neighborhood centers. We've talked about this in zoning changes earlier this year to BC zones.…
"We want this to remain a neighborhood center and if it redevelops, to remain mixed-use."
Morzel asks about affordable housing.
City's inclusionary housing rules apply.
Young: If the property owner came in tomorrow, what could they build?
Gehr: There is flexibility in our site review, so they could do a lot. But that process includes historical preservation, so that would be taken into consideration.
But BC zoning is a pretty flexible zoning district.
Gehr: I don't believe this is an area you can go above 35 feet. (Unless you do enough affordable housing.)
Yates confirms these are currently zoned Business Commercial. Proposal is to change Mixed-Use. Asks for a side-by-side comparison of what these zoning districts allow. "I still don't understand the reasoning for the change."
Gehr: BC is not a particularly specific land use designation.
Jones: So for example, you could build what?
Gehr: Housing, office, retail
Yates: So are you saying MU is more restrictive?
Gehr: The difference comes down to zoning. You would shape that and "set objectives" for the property.
Yates: We keep asking the q why and I don't hear an answer.
Gehr: The primary reason is to encourage residential if there is redevelopment.
Brockett: My q is, given the beloved nature of our two shopping centers, could we consider a land use designation that parallels the current one? Isn't BC a mixed-use zoning district?
Gatza: It could remain Community Business.

Apologies; I've been saying BC, not CB. UGH!
Gatza: The point of MU land use is to say we could add housing but keep the retail.
Wait, maybe I was right with BC... Weaver just said it.
Weaver pointing out that land use and zoning are different. We can keep the zoning even with the land use change.

I'm sorry if you are confused; I might be a bit.
Jones: I just thing it needs to be said: We don't want Ideal Market to change, but 10 years from now, property owners can come forward and propose to change. We're trying to prepare for that now.
Audience is quite restless.
Brockett clarifying: We could create new zoning districts within this land use, with new rules, right? We're not detailing specifics.
Gehr: This is more of a vision. It's about values.
Jones: I don't think the avg person on the street understands the Dif between land use and zoning. I think that's one of the reasons it's alarming and confusing.
Weaver also reminding ppl that council isn't proposing redevelopment.
Weaver: If we do land use changes and then zoning changes, we could more tightly control regulations, possibly form-based code. So these changes are about getting more control, not less.
Gatza: Throughout this process, folks have talked about ways to add housing to the issue. Nothing has coalesced on these. Planning Board feedback was that MU-1 in this area "would allow potentially something cool to come in."
That would still be subject to city processes, but the change doesn't incentivize a whole lot of change.
Gatza: "There's been a lot of discussion about the potential for new housing." Here are the counts, under the proposed changes:
City Site w/o Boulder
County: 210-260
• City Site w/ Boulder
County: 120-170
• Alpine-Balsam Area:
Total Range: 370-640
Numbers on the city site are more certain, Gatza says. The numbers in the wider area are not under city control: This isn't owned by us, so it's about redevelopment over time.
Weaver asks a clarifying q, the outcome of which is this: 120-260 units is what the city is looking at on the BCH site.
Jones: I think we can't explain that well enough, bc it's a large number.
That was in regards to the 640 number, which again, is the max potential development in that 70-acre area. Not a proposal, not guaranteed.
North Boulder subcommunity plan was done 20 years ago; that's still being built out.
Transit area implemented in 2007; still being built out.

So we're talking long time frames here, Gatza says.
Young: So it's safe to say "over time" could mean decades?
Gehr: It can, and you can have a time component of when you want change to occur.
Glad council is clarifying all these things.
I gotta say, I know I complain all the time about how long meetings are and how many ppl sign up to speak, but at this moment (and maybe it's just the 'I didn't die' anniversary talking) but I'm really awed by how many ppl are invested and care enough to sit through meetings.
And no one is even sleeping at this meeting! (That I can see.)
OK, back to biz: We're talking parking. This site will be guided by SUMP principles. In case you ever wondered what SUMP is: SUMP (shared, unbundled, managed and paid)
That's parking that residents pay for, not a free space included with rent.
OK, the presentation has moved on without me. But an important clarification from Weaver: NO changes are being proposed to North Boulder Park as part of this project.
Brockett q: We're talking about city and county offices. Why are we talking about flex space, too? Will that be more city offices?
Gatza: Maybe. We need some flexibility.
Crane: We know we haven't accommodated all of our city needs. This allows us to keep assessing.
Young: Current land use at the BCH site is public. Are there limits on square footage that can be built there?
Gehr: I don't think so.
Young: Would there be limits under these zones?
Gehr: Yes.
Young: Is it correct to say one of the things we're trying to do here is limit the sq footage?
Gehr: Correct. That's part of the visioning.
If you're confused about what is being proposed to go where, you need to see the staff presentation. The information is best presented visually. Here's another link:…
Now we're talking possible co-location with Boulder County.
Their preference is to do a 120,000-sq-ft building along Alpine, west of Pavilion, across from MHP
Would reduce potential housing on the site by 90 units
Would reduce parking on the site for other development almost entirely
Staff also found that there is “limited” crossover between city and county services. But the site is best (for the county) bc it’s close to Clinica, MHP and county’s downtown offices.
RE: lost housing. BoCo is proposing doing some housing at Broadway and Iris. About 50-240 units could be done there if the ballfields are left intact.
Some recommendations from Planning Board:
City Site: Greater intensity in West Block to allow more
families or households direct access to proximity of North
Boulder Park (swap intensity with center block) and allow up to 4 stories....
That's bc it's good for families, Planning Board said.
Lots of audience grumbling to Planning Board's recommendation of up to 4 stories.
Other suggestions:
• Encourage limited ground floor uses along frontage of park (maybe some small retail like a cafe or ice cream shop)
• Focus future zoning on excellent public realm, building form, not dwelling units per acre
Planning Board also didn't want to lose housing if county locates there. And they're worried about county using up all the parking on-site.
Guys, I'm fading. Excedrin and caffeine are needed! Who's packing? Pass it back through the crowd.
James Butler, from BoCo, here again to explain why they want to co-locate here.
It's close to transit and other county services, Butler says. "If we are able to move our facilities off the Broadway/Iris campus, that would allow that area to become affordable housing."
Commissioners would make that whole site available for affordable housing.
Butler says.
Interesting: 54% of services at that county campus are from the city of Boulder. (Those are kinda old numbers: 2011).
Butler: The site is easy for car access, but we're really interested in getting close to bus routes.
County wants to use the flex space we referenced earlier to do permitting there. County permits get 3 ppl a day asking for city permitting, "so we see a good connection."
While 50-240 housing units could be done if the ballfields are left alone at Broadway/Iris, 120-420 could be done without them.

Audience is not pleased with that. City has already said it would like to preserve those, bc there is demand.
All that site could be affordable housing, Butler says: 100%

While that's easier with free land, it really depends on funding, methinks.
Weaver: You're looking at 7 sites for a hub?
Butler: We'd like to get it down to three.
If Broadway/Iris becomes our top site for a hub (through a consultant process) we wouldn't be able to do housing there.

"It's a complicated site:" ballfields, flood, historic buildings.
Butler: "We'd like to know from you. We're kinda doing a back-and-forth, chicken-and-egg thing."

County is about 3 most from IDing top 3 sites; public engagement will be 9 mos.
Morzel: How many parking spots do you need?
Butler: Idk
Morzel: Last time you were here, you said you needed 400
Butler: No
Morzel: You did.
Butler: No, we said how many we have at Broadway/Iris, which is 320. But they're not all utilized. We'll have to do an analysis.
Morzel: If you need 320, you'll zero us out (400 in the parking structure)
Butler: Idk if we need 320. All employees at Broadway/Iris drive. But our downtown employees, maybe 30% of them drive.
Morzel *again* telling Butler what he said last time. (Or what she thinks he said; he disagrees.)
There is allocation for mixed-use on the site, facing the streets (Broadway/Iris) Butler says in response to a q.
Butler showing where the ballfields are, and audience is laughing at him. C'mon guys, we can mock our own, but this is a guest here. Don't be so rude.
17.7 acres on that site.
That site has a 35-ft height limit. "We do appreciate that neighbors to the north would want to preserve their views. It would be a challenging site."
(That was Butler.)
Young's line of questioning becomes clear: It's challenging to get 120,000 sq ft at 17.7 acres, Butler said.

It's challenging for us to get on 8.8 acres, Young said.
Young: Would your community engagement include an area plan process?
Someone else from BoCo taking this: We wouldn't do an area plan bc it's not our jurisdiction, but we'd do a process you'd require of any developer.
Michelle Krezek, I believe, with the commissioners.
"We have to do something," she says. Those buildings are at the end of useful life. What we've got to figure out is "do we want to dance together" at Alpine-Balsam? If not, we'll figure something else out. "But we need to do something fairly quickly."
Brockett: How long would it take you to figure out what you need to do? We're going to be done in a few weeks with the area plan.
Krezek: (kinda long answer) but maybe less than a year...? "We'd have to come together" with city to figure it out.
Brockett asking about who will do affordable housing, who city/county will partner with.
Krezek: Aspiration is for 100% affordable, but haven't thought that far.
Krezek: "We are in no way saying the ballfields will go away. We just want you to see what the options are."
Maybe they become a city amenity, bc we don't manage active recreation, she says.
Brockett asking for "no net loss of ballfields." Either they stay or we find a better location. "We're not taking away people's ballfields.
Yates: Are you proposing that we swap land? Or you keep this and just pay us for the land at Alpine Balsam?
Krezek: Maybe. I can't answer you, Bob.
Yates: It's important bc you're asking us to approve a plan here, we'd be losing 90 units.
That housing count (50-240) includes historic preservation of two buildings, Butler says.
Yates: 240 is bigger than 90 (units) but 50 is smaller. "Why would we do this?"
Krezek: Those economics haven't been worked out. But I assure you county isn't expecting to get land for free.
Only 35 ppl for the public hearing. Sam and I almost cried with joy! We did a really lame high-five instead.
I mean, that's still like 1.5-2 hrs, likely, but still.
Jones addressing crowd: We want to make sure to have a productive and civil conversation. "Just be kind and listen to each other." No booing, no clapping, no laughing.
I missed Randy Smith but he went over his time, so I'm not about it. Jones reminding ppl to stick to the time bc it's late.
Deborah Yin arguing against too much housing here, bc there were 11M vacant housing units in the U.S. in 2016
She showed the gray monolithic building image! and there are even multiple views of it, all windowless and gray.
She called it the "city's proposal."

But she is making some points about how these proposals are denser than the Holiday neighborhood, which often gets referenced.
Leonard May has apparently done a citizen plan for the site. It's been sent to the city. Only 2-story buildings.
"Postpone a decision to a date far enough in the future" to fully inform citizens, Yin asks.
Morzel asking about keeping the hospital building (part of the May proposal, apparently?) What do you envision in there?
Yin: It could be apartments or offices. Depends on what the city's needs are.
Yates also asking about Yin/May proposal. 144 housing units. Does it include city or county offices?

I don't understand why council is asking qs about this. It's a citizen proposal that includes re-use of the hospital, which staff has already said doesn't make sense.
Young is asking qs now, too. Did you design massings in your plan to city land use types?

Yin: "I did not try to make them conform to a city land use prototype."
Gary Urling: Nobody thinks the city actually listens when they do open houses. No other city seems to have that problem.
"When you say it's our comprehensive plan, it's your comprehensive plan. Nobody here voted for it."
Weaver trying to cut him off.
Urling: You said I could finish this sentence?
Weaver: You finished one.

(He got to finish a few more.)
Barbara Fahey: "I know from long experience (the area) is already underserved by roads, sidewalk and parking." Questions traffic study and area plan's "faulty assumptions."
How will they get to Home Depot and King Soopers? I always drive there, bc it takes "quadruple" the time on a bus. "I believe residents will use their cars just like I do."
More than 1,000 ppl have signed Think Boulder's petition, she says, in about a week.
Emily Reynolds asks for more time before a decision and property community engagement. "There has been minimal, poorly planned community engagement and it seems like city is trying to jam this through before residents know" what the plans are. Neighbors are unaware of plans.
Engagement process on this has lasted four years, just FYI. Hundreds of comments were received and hundreds of people participated.
"There was no range of reactions" to Think Boulder petition, she is arguing.

Which I feel kinda proves how shitty the process was, but that's just me.
Jorge Boone saying there hasn't been any community feedback supporting four stories along N. Boulder Park, with retail underneath (Planning Board recommendation).
He's talking heights. BCH is 65 ft, btw. I had that written down but I forgot it earlier.

But Boone is saying staff intentionally mislabeled building heights in the area and misrepresented them to council.
"This is the problem with city as developer. It's a biased point of view."
He also addresses parking requirements. For the site, staff is using TMP goals of .8-.9 spaces per unit. Boone (and others) are arguing that is untested.
Kinda true; even downtown and Boulder Junction have 1 space per unit. But it is a city goal. So it's not as if it was pulled out of thin air.
Francesca Silva saying city is considering five-story buildings. I haven't seen that proposed anywhere, but if you have, please send me the source document.
"Words like housing crisis have been bandied about as if we are L.A. county," Silva says.

She's asking for data on positive benefits of density.
I happen to have some, as I've been researching this. (More to come later.)
"This project will cost well over $100M. Please consider a more measured, slow-growth approach that will add housing to Boulder but respect the neighborhoods."
Ugh I'm going to get tired of tweeting everyone. How about I just tweet new arguments?
People who want to live in higher density places should move, Josh Goldstein says: To NYC or Denver.
His family has three cars.
We don't want this plan. "If you vote for it, I think we're going to encourage ppl to vote you out of office."
Judy Nogg, from HAB but speaking for herself, is questioning all the city's public engagement and studies.
Francoise Poinsatte is the first pro-plan speaker. Reminding ppl that hospital brought a lot of traffic, is 65-ft tall, not good to walk through. "We're talking about transforming this into an incredibly exciting place. We need housing in this town; it is a crisis."
"It's unjust to constantly say to ppl who need housing... the only way to get it is through density bc of the land cost, let's be realistic with ourselves. We have to make bold steps to meet our (climate goals) to get ppl out of cars."
"We can make all these bold proclamations about climate, but we know energy use is decreased with shared walls and density."
Kathleen Hancock, from Think Boulder, is speaking about the survey. Neighbors "overwhelmingly" wanted 50 units at the site, but council took it off the table, so neighbors came back with a moderate proposal. 1,025 signatures in support of that.
"We also followed your instructions to go beyond the neighborhood."

But apparently not instructions to represent information accurately and with context.
Even admits "these things have all AT ONE TIME or another have been part of the proposals." Admits there are no 5-story buildings being proposed. But it's still in the materials they are distributing!
This is my issue: Even on their website, they said NoBo Park may be used for flood stuff. Then, instead of taking that down when that was off the table, they just added another bullet point on the same page further down to state that. WHY NOT JUST UPDATE THE PAGE TO REMOVE IT?
OK, she just admitted someone from Kansas signed the petition.
Brockett: I appreciate the thoughtful engagement your group engaged in.

Brockett q: So you want 35 feet on the whole site? Even when there's already 65 ft?
Hancock: Everything 35 feet except for the Pavilion.
Weaver: What about another story on Pavilion. Is that a problem for your group?
Hancock: Probably. No four-story building.
Sonja Seitamo arguing that Amsterdam is safe for bikes and walking but Boulder isn't, and that the problem is that Boulder is too dense and built out...?

I can't with these ppl.
She just claimed that the shopping centers are being rezoned for high density residential. NOT TRUE.

Funny enough, she says in talking to ppl in the area, some of them said "The city would never do that." UM, THEY'RE RIGHT. That's not what's being proposed.
"Many ppl don't know what is truly being proposed at the hospital site." Yeah, including you.

At least some of the Think Boulder ppl have actual facts. C'mon, do better.
Philip Nicholson saying none of the information presented at the meeting is publicly available.

Bro, I got mad links.
It's literally ALL available online to the public.
"I do think you deserve better information to make your decision."

Le sigh.
David Adamson, our second pro-plan speaker. References the 4.5-year engagement the city (and he) has participated in. "We have a serious housing crisis in this town, and there are real ppl who are very burdened by having to drive in."
"Key thing that's not being appreciated right now that with shared transportation, density can be a delight."
Jerry Shapins: "The better we do with the public realm" the more we know one another, the better we get along.

I *think* he's in favor of the plan?
OK, Jerry, wrap it up!
He went over time.
Matt Frommer from SWEEP is here. He recently co-wrote this report:…
"We cannot solve the climate crisis without more efficient land use."
"All emissions caused by city actions matter, not just those within city limits." (Talking about how Boulder outsources its emissions by providing not enough housing, forcing ppl to drive in.)

"This is not just a question of whether we should grow, or how we should grow."
This area has a walk score of 88 of 100, 30% higher than the city as a whole.

He doesn't own a car.
Weaver: Why did you pick our community to do the report on, not Denver? You would have had 7X the impact and they have more need for affordable housing?
Frommer: This was the second; we did the first one in Austin. We'll do more.
Weaver re-asking why not Denver? They have same density but 7X the population.
Frommer: I'd love to do Denver next.
Weaver bringing up my story about the timing of the report's release and the elections.
"We view this as a major issue that is ongoing; we'll be talking about it this week, next week, next month, after the election."
Weaver trying to discredit this report due to timing.
Frommer: We don't mention election, candidates.
Weaver: Not inside you don't.
Frommer: To me it's about the issues. I want everyone to care about it, the candidates to care about it.
Morzel: It didn't address air quality
Frommer: It did.
Morzel: Idk about that.

OMG she's questioning the author of the report. Also, I read it, it was in there.
Morzel: It is very interesting your report was released 3 days before ppl signed up (for city council runs). Boulder has been doing a lot of things right for a long time.

Brockett and Jones trying to get council back on track.
"I feel like we're grilling him on something that's not even about tonight." (Brockett)
Apparently the nephew of Boulder's only black mayor, Penfield Tate, was here but had to leave.
Our first no-show. Two, actually.
Steve LeBlang, who co-owns one of the shopping centers: "It's been 4.5 yrs since this process started, I've been to a dozen well-publicized" meetings and workshops.

"Maybe preference could be given to residents who don't need 1 or 2 cars."
"I've heard a lot about petitions and talking to different ppl. Well I've talked to employees, and every single one of them said I would love to live there. I would love to live in Boulder."
"They work here, but they can't vote here. If we really love Ideal Market and all the shops, let's help them have a good supply" of workers.
Yates: Are you requesting a land use change?
No, LeBlang says. Current zoning would allow for housing on top of the shopping market. I heard someone say the other day, "Don't get too used to Ideal bc it's going to be torn down." I've got 12- and 14-yr leases in place.
Weaver: Would you object to the proposed land use changes?
LeBlang: It's mixed-use BC-2, now.
Weaver correcting him.
LeBlang: I probably don't understand that fully.
"The retail will always be there; that's a non-question."
I think this is still Margaret LeCompte, arguing that Alpine-Balsam is not the same as Holiday or Boulder Junction, bc it only has one major thoroughfare, so not appropriate for high density.
Sorry, that was Karen Simmons. I went to pee, and I missed the changeover.
Elizabeth Prentiss questioning the claim that Think Boulder has done "fear mongering."

"The vitriol that has reached a level that feels like an impasse." Asking to do some design groups, or some working group with neighborhood representatives.
"We know there's going to be a change. We want it to be compatible with the neighborhood."
Jones: We'll "chew on that" during deliberations.
Young thanks Prentiss for her "tone and willingness to collaborate."
Yates: These offers have been made before. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.
Prentiss: I'm not necessarily saying Think Boulder needs a seat at the table. I'm saying neighbors should have a seat in the table.
Weaver: It's not true that you've squandered your opportunity for input. Everybody always has a chance to speak to council, regardless of viewpoint. We listen to what we hear.
Mindy Mullins is the first to bring her kids up to the podium.

It's 11 p.m.! Why are they still here?
"I'm here bc of them," Mullins says. "That intersection (near BCH) is always busy. I can't imagine the nightmare of adding high density to that area."
"It's crazy to think these people (who will live there) don't need cars."
Speakers dropping like flies.
Madalene Fetsch is *I think* pro-plan, even though she's wearing green, which is the color of the Think Boulder ppl.

"All of us who participated in this area plan did so in good faith. We understand solution seeking is the way forward, not fist-pounding and yelling."
"Let's make the best choice based on facts, not fear." We should build housing "in a city that has everything BUT housing."
"I love the neighborhood not despite those high-density opportunities, but because of (them)," says Sam Ley, who has lived there and runs a climate-focused business. (Doesn't say what.)
Boulder has an above-average per capita carbon footprint, largely bc of housing and transportation.

I'd love to see those numbers, bc I don't think I've seen our per capita carbon footprint anywhere..? Unless I'm just forgetting.
Google tells me he works for AES Distributed Energy.
Claudia Hanson Thiem: "I appreciate those of you who have tried to dispel misinformation that brought so many here tonight." It's disrespectful to ppl who have been involved in the process and does nothing to move us forward.
The Alpine Balsam area plan IS moderate, Thiem says. It moves us forward on our goals.
"It's easy to fear change; it's much harder to imagine the living, breathing places that can emerge" from planning documents and land use maps.
Thiem goes over time! Tsk, tsk.
This is what she went over time to say: We can build inclusive, climate-friendly areas, she said, but we can't if we come from a place of fear.
We're at Speaker No. 38, by the way.
Hey, we've got our first reference to Niwot!

I always resent white ppl using Native words to warn against destruction of "our" community.
Asking that future Alpine-Balsam residents sign covenants to not own cars.
"You could attract that kind of ppl to town instead of ppl you brought in with earlier experiments on density, where each place has a $40K underground parking spot. None of these ppl take the bus."
Will Toor, former mayor who now works for Polis, is here speaking as a Boulder resident.

He walked to the hospital for the birth of his child, and walked home with the baby.
"We're losing our economic diversity. There's no way young ppl can come into our neighborhood. I love my neighbors, but I don't want my neighbors to only be the super wealthy moving forward."
Another former mayor and/or city council member is here (I can't remember) Macon Cowles.
Eric Budd, taking us home. (Last speaker). Talking about living at Ingram Co-op. He moved from this area.
That wraps public hearing. Council debating whether or not to continue the meeting.
They might do this tomorrow after vaping.
Brockett: We have 1.5 hr, 2 hrs of discussion...
Morzel needs to go home; she's sick. "But I'd like to be part of this discussion."
Nagle: We're missing Cindy tonight, and I know she and I sit on the same wave. So we're just swapping out. (Nagle isn't coming tomorrow.)
Just a reminder, this isn't a vote. It's just feedback to staff.
Oct. 1 is when the vote is happening. A second public hearing is happening on Sept. 24, with planning board.
Gatza: Our intention is to walk through questions, get feedback from a straw poll, nods of heads, etc. Take all those pieces and finalize the draft plan before Sept. 24.
So council leaning toward discussing tomorrow, and Nagle will send in her thumbs up/down on the questions staff is asking.
Well, maybe not thumbs up or down since they are open-ended qs.
So tomorrow night just got 2 hrs longer.
"We'll do a better discussion tomorrow night," Brockett says.
The traffic study consultant is here, and he might not be able to come tomorrow, so Gatza asking about questions for him.
So that's it for tonight. @threadreaderapp, please unroll.

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More from @shayshinecastle

Oct 6, 2023
We've still got one more item: A nod of 5 (informal vote) on safe outdoor spaces
Council is confused (and so am I) about whether it's directing staff to actually DO one, or just to keep exploring the potential.
Friend clears things up: Let's propose a pilot for a 25-person sanctioned encampment, as bare bones as it can be done (but with 24/7 staff and services). To be paid for with $$ not going to the day center that is not happening this year.
Read 17 tweets
Oct 5, 2023
I'm at Boulder City Counicl because it's BUDGET NIGHT!!
Folkerts: More $$ for parks + rec, paid for by repurposing $$ for encampment removals

Friend + Winer: More $$ for potholes /road maintenance. They did not ID a funding source.
Winer also asked for more $$ for underpass lighting. Again, no suggestion where it's coming from.
Speer: More $$ for emergency assistance, shelters and encampment cleaning (not removal) + public bathrooms, paid for by repurposing $$ for encampment removals.

Also more $$ for community connectors, paid for by cutting council's travel budget
Read 99 tweets
Sep 29, 2023
I have so little energy for this homelessness update. I'll tweet what's new and in addition to this story:…
"Homelessness is on the rise, particularly unsheltered homelessness," Megan Newton says. Colorado has the 14th highest rate of homelessness in the U.S. 18 homeless people per 1,000 residents.
Read 64 tweets
Sep 29, 2023
Next: Boulder Police quarterly update…
We just did the Reimagining Policing Plan, so I'm not sure how much of this will be new. But I'll tweet what is.
Crime up in 2023: violent and property crimes
Less robberies, tho, Chief Herold says. And fewer car thefts.

"Society crimes" or quality of life, like drugs, are up.
Read 32 tweets
Sep 28, 2023
Hey, all. I'm watching the Boulder City Council study session tonight. We've got updates from the municipal court, Boulder Police Dept and a discussion of homeless services.
I'll tweet what I can; it's a lot of info. All these issues are big topics in the upcoming election, so prob a good meeting to pay attention to.
First up: Our quarterly update from the municipal court. It looks like we're covering staffing and structural changes to the court (ho-hum) and then diversion programs for CU students and unhoused individuals.…
Read 72 tweets
Sep 22, 2023
Benjamin: On Monday, county commissioners gave $700K to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless to expand services.

(City of Boulder gave $300K; City of Longmont gave $50K)
He's discussing a letter to county commissioners asking that, if the affordable housing tax on this year's ballot passes, the county set aside $$ for housing + services specifically for homelessness.
City council has to give an informal vote (called a Nod of Five) in order to send the letter on its behalf.
Read 8 tweets

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