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Hey, #Boulder. I know you're probably settling down to watch the debate tonight. But we also have a city council study session on CU South.…
I'm not used to competing with something more exciting than local gov't meetings. We'll see how my numbers do.

Also, I have a meeting Thursday at 4 with someone. Idk who. If it's you, please let me know where we're supposed to be meeting.
Anyway, here's the staff presentation for tonight:…
And one from CU, which apparently will be presenting.…
Will be interesting to see what they have to say. This was the first time I've not gotten a response when I requested an interview.
Apparently CU is going to answer the question "Why 129 acres?" and address "Circulating misconceptions"
Right at 6 p.m., we're getting started.

Never thought I'd say this, but after covering presidential campaigns for a national outlet this weekend, I'm so glad to be back doing the local thing.
Here's who we'll be hearing from on staff:
Joe Taddeucci, Utilities Director
Brandon Coleman, Utilities Engineering Project Manager
Phil Kleisler, Senior Planner
Taddeucci: As is common with utilities, we don't own the land we want to use for flood mitigation. We try to keep good relationships with all the landowners.

At CU South, that's CU, Open Space, CDOT, and Dry Creek Ditch Co.
"I think we have a real opportunity tonight with this study session to start taking steps forward."
Coleman is going to take us over some history of the site and watershed.

South Boulder Creek is 27 miles long; watershed is 5 square miles. SBC discharges into Boulder Creek east of town.
In South Boulder Creek floodplain:
3,500 people
1,600 dwelling units
660 structures
Significant flooding on South Boulder Creek in 1938, 1951, 1952, 1957, 1969 and 2013
U.S. 36 overtopped in 1969 and 2013
2013 damage: $38M
2013 flood: between 50-100 year event
Current flood mitigation project began in 2003(!) with floodplain remapping study; adopted by city in 2008 and FEMA in 2010
From the meeting memo: “This study quantified and formally recognized the risk from overtopping of US36 during a large flood event."
Coleman doing a glossary now:
Floodplain = area we expect water to cover during a flood event
100-yr floodplain = 1 in 100 chance of flooding in any given year, base regulatory floodplain for FEMA
500-year = 1 in 500 chance of flooding in any given year (so a 500-year flood is more rare but would be a larger event)

High-hazard = based on velocity and depth of water; it has the ability to sweep someone off their feet, Coleman says
Coleman: Boulder has the highest flash-flood risk in the state of Colorado.

Approx 25% of buildings in Boulder are in the 100-yr floodplain
Remember that 2003 study I mentioned early? It wasn't accepted by the city until 2008 and FEMA in 2010.

Just to give you an idea of how long these things take.
A reminder from Coleman (and me): This project at CU South is just Phase 1 of 3 identified by the South Boulder Creek Master Plan.

City council on Aug. 4, 2015 adopted South Boulder Creek Master Plan
Called for detention at U.S. 36 (Step 1 of 3)
Step 2: detention at/near Manhattan Middle School (which will now go at Hogan-Pancost) and Foothills/Baseline along with improvements to Dry Creek No. 2 Ditch
Step 3: Stormwater detention at Flatirons Golf Course
Detention at CU South was picked bc of large downstream benefits
A brief and non-comprehensive history of the 308 acres at CU South, which the uni is donating 80 acres to the city for flood mitigation:
CU bought land in 1996 from Flatiron Companies
CU requested land use changes in 2000 and 2006 Comp Plan updates, in anticipation of future faculty/student housing and classrooms; city delayed until South Boulder Creek Master Plan was done

Land use changes initiated in two-year process; completed in 2017
Here's a helpful, labeled rendering of what flood mitigation would look like:
OK, getting to the meat of what tonight is about: How does the city tweak the council-selected flood mitigation plan to get CU to give the OK?
Focused on two things, Coleman says: Shrinking the inundation area to provide 129 acres CU could build on OR swapping around the land uses so that CU could build elsewhere on the site and still get 129 acres
Three options of the preferred design were considered. Here's how they measure up.
The factors that were played with were how BIG of a storm the detention was designed for.
200-yr (ish)

Reminder: 500-yr is what council picked initially
Here's a more detailed graph of how those options compare
You'll notice in those graphics that the original, chosen 500-yr design is the least feasible, according to this analysis.

Coleman talking about why.
For permitting purposes, the flood mitigation can't have any impact downstream or upstream. To avoid impacts, existing flows have to be maintained at the U.S. 36 bridge.

It's not clear that can be accomplished with the 500-yr design.
From the memo: "Hydraulic modeling work to date has not been able to establish acceptable flow conditions at the US36 bridge at South Boulder Creek for Option 2, which puts the feasibility of this option in question.”

Additional analysis is needed
We're touching briefly on open space disposal. The flood wall has to go on existing open space. The OS Board of Trustees has ruled that this requires a disposal, bc per the city charter, land purchased with open space $$ has to serve open space purposes.
Flood mitigation doesn't, OSBT said, bc it's to protect development.
City Attorney Tom Carr has said it's ultimately up to council to decide if flood mitigation is an open space purpose. If they do, no disposal.

Which will be easier, bc council, OSBT have to sign off on disposal. And residents can trigger an election on disposal with a petition.
As I understand it.
Mayor Weaver bringing up the 500-yr design and creek flow issues. Taddeucci taking those qs.

"In order to get CDOT approval on this project, we need to keep the flow conditions under the bridge to existing conditions. We can't make it any worse."
"If we built a flood wall and it resulted in water levels being higher or velocity being greater" it will be difficult to get a permit, Taddeucci says.
The 200- and 100-yr designs can accommodate this with pipes. The 500-yr can't, at least not as modeling has thus far demonstrated. There are physical limitations to how much water we can move through, Taddeucci says.
Yates: From an engineering standpoint, is the 500-year improbable?
Tadduecci: "I couldn't guarantee we could get that through the permitting process. ... It may not be worth bringing that one forward."
Friend: What about 200-yr?
Coleman: It's easier, we're getting closer. But we still haven't been able to get those to match.
Apologies if I attributed one of those quotes wrong. I was typing and looking down and their voices sound similar. Please let me know if I did; I'll of course verify it b4 I write a story.
Work is still being done as council works to refine options, Coleman says.
Work that would have to be done regardless of what option is ultimately chosen, Weaver reminds ppl.
Coleman: "Annexation is the big driver of the project. Typically we don't own the property where we're trying to do the project. Annexation is the way we'd get that property .... We can't start construction until we have the property or the approval to start those projects."
Weaver: What about permitting? We still have to get OK from all these agencies.
Taddeucci: Typically it takes 2-3 yrs for a project of this size to get permits from all the agencies. We're having some conversations with some of them.
"We need to know what the project is before we do that," Taddeucci says.
Weaver: It's typically about 30% of the design needs done b4 you start talking to agencies, right?
Tadduecci says that is correct.
Wallach: How many agencies? And which are the most difficult?
Taddeucci: Idk that I'd say which are the most difficult. They may be listening.
But who: CDOT, state fish and wildlife, FEMA, city of Boulder wetland or wildlife or something, irrigation ditch companies .... "There's probably most complexity associated with the land use and land owners," Taddeucci says.
Taddeucci: "This is the most complicated" project we've done where we need a CDOT right-of-way permit.
Young: Do all three options require an open space disposal process?
Taddeucci: Yes.
Young: So that would add to this process. OSBT had a finding that flood mitigation was not charter use. BUT they can't decide whether or not there should be a disposal, right? That needs to come to council.
Carr: Yes. Their decision is advisory.
Young: "That's another piece of the puzzle that needs to be put into the schedule."
Taddeucci: The Carter Lake pipeline crossed "a number of" open space properties. We got a disposal; it comes up "quite frequently."
Taddeucci: OSBT is "very interested" in feedback they've provided to council and having those questions answered. We're definitely looking from council tonight.
Brockett: There were varying environmental impacts from the Dif options. Are we going to talk about that?
Yes. We are now.
The shorter the flood wall, the fewer impacts, bc the area with the most sensitive habitat is where the wall *could* extend with a 500-yr design but not in the 100-yr.
Brockett: Can you quantify that?
Taddeucci: If the wall ended 200 ft further to the west, the 200ft by 90ft in width, that could be left undisturbed.
Brockett: So substantial?
Taddeucci: It could potentially be.
Coleman: It's important habitat bc it's riparian. Critical habitat for Preble's jumping mouse is right by the creek, so the further away we can move the flood wall from the creek, the fewer impacts. That also helps us with permitting.
From the packet:
100-yr design Environmental impacts: 7.4 acres of wetlands (4.8) and open water (2.6) and 0.9 acres of threatened and endangered species habitat
500-yr Environmental Impacts: 9.7 acres of wetlands (7.1) and open water (2.6) and 5 acres of habitat
That's an 80% reduction, Brockett says. (Comparing the endangered/threatened species impact specifically)
5 acres would also be lost under the 200-yr design, Friend points out.
Is the 200- or 500-yr likely permit-able Friend asks?
Coleman: It would be more challenging.
Friend asking disposal qs.
Carr: It just technically takes it out from being open space land. It's city land; it will still be city land. It just transfers maintenance.
Friend: How much land at Carter Lake was disposed?
Taddeucci: I don't remember, but it was several properties. Open space did a disposal for an easement.
Friend: This disposal thing seems like it's not really tethered to CU South property development. To make open space whole, would that land even need to be related to CU South, would it have to be in the city? What does that look like in terms of those acres.
Taddeucci: The way that worked for the Carter Lake pipeline, OSBT will make a recommendation to city council and include recommended conditions for the disposal.
Friend: Does it have to come from CU South property? Or can it be anywhere?
Dan Burke, director of OSMP: One clarification, OSBT has to approve the disposal, not just recommend.
"The first place the board would typically look is as close to the original impact as possible," Burke says. "Lands closer to the site that replicate some of what we're disturbing would be the logical place to look." But it wouldn't be required.
Friend: What's the guideline for that? Like, if it's 5 acres, what's the tit-for-tat? (She didn't actually say tit-for-tat; that's my paraphrase.)
Burke: There are 2 paragraphs on how disposals should work. Doesn't lay out criteria or ratios.
Also, Googling that, it looks like it shouldn't be hyphenated. Hmmm.
Nagle asked a q but I had trouble hearing it.
Coleman's answer doesn't clear it up: Talking about why we're doing flood mitigation here at all, and why this particular design.
"We still felt this was the best concept moving forward," he said.
Young: When you look at the cost differential between 100-yr and 500-yr, it used to be $6M. So it made sense to go for 500-yr. But now it looks like the 200-yr and 500-yr aren't workable. ...
...What other things could be done to help mitigate for climate change, bc 100-yr is least adaptable?

(Bc larger storms may become more common, is the context there.)
Taddeucci: There's not a good scientific or regulatory basis to accommodate for climate change in a flood project. We'd have to develop that ourselves if we wanted to.
Young: So the concern is with 500-yr and 200-yr is that it goes too close to the U.S. 36 bridge. Is there something else that can be done on our own without regulatory guidance to add more height to flood wall to detain more water? Is that a feasible way to provide more storage?
Taddeucci: We could definitely look at that. We could make the wall 6 inches taller or something.
Taddeucci: Between storage and spillway, the project has to accommodate a probable maximum flood. The state office recognizes climate change and requires like a 7-8% bump in projected flow. We could look at something like that.
Yates: With respect to 5-acre disturbance of habitat with the 200-yr and 500-yr, you don't know how much is temporary during construction or permanent. Is that also true for the .9 acres of disturbance in the 100-yr design?
Taddeucci: If the q is, is there a difference in the permanent disturbance between designs... idk. I think we usually use the temporary disturbance.
Burke: 30 ft is estimated to be permanent impact.
Yates: Let's just assume it's all permanent for the sake of discussion. It looks like 100-yr would be far less impactful.
Yes, staff says.
Weaver doing some math.
"Shortening something by 200 ft that's half a mile long to begin with doesn't seem like it would have this much less of an impact. Is this all about the Preble's mouse?"
Taddeucci: It's where that 200 ft is. It's right by the creek and that's where the habitat is.
Yates pointing out land that may be suitable to trade for open space disposal. It's hard to translate via Tweet.
Swetlik: I have a question about permeability. I assume all our analysis has been done without 129 acres developed, since it isn't. What impact would that have?
Taddeucci: Is your q related to groundwater?

It was from Swetlik, btw.
Taddeucci: Idk how much of a contributor that would be during a flood.
Coleman: Just from a stormwater component, when you develop, you're required to maintain existing runoff from a site. We haven't considered that bc we're not doing site design or layout.
"We would expect some impacts, but hopefully those would be mitigated" through the development process, Coleman says.
Young: What impact would fill have on the groundwater? How would that impact the mechanism for keeping it flowing under the dam?
Taddeucci: The most obvious impact would be if you're putting fill down and compacting it, it may not infiltrate water at the same rate that the existing ground has. We're at a conceptual level; I'm not aware we've studied those impacts at that level.
We would probably do so in the final design phase if we chose a design that had huge impacts from fill. (Taddeucci says)

Wells throughout the site will monitor that, Coleman says.
Brockett: I just want to clarify that, let's say CU does develop 129 acres. They'd be legally required for there to be no additional runoff impacts. So there wouldn't be an additional runoff impact; they'd have to mitigate it.
Correct, staff confirms.
Friend, RE project footprint: The 100-yr design has an estimated 64 acre footprint. CU is donating 80 acres. Does that mean we'll have 16 left over?
Coleman: Yes AND...
Something I didn't understand.
Friend: What would we do with those 16 acres?
Kleisler: CU has committed to giving us 80 acres for flood mitigation OR flood mitigation and open space mitigation
Carr breaks in: Little less than 12 acres was disposed of at Carter Lake.
Coleman: The level of flood protection if you go above 100-yr design is actually protecting ppl at less risk, statistically, of flood in any given year. But you would see a benefit from the 100-yr detention; we just have yet to quantify that.
Another Friend q (I forgot she asked one b4 Carr broke in): Who is impacted in 100-yr vs 500-yr from an equity standpoint?
Kleisler: We have that but didn't share it yet.
Friend: There are 65 formerly unhoused ppl we got into housing with vouchers, outside of Lee Hill facility. One-quarter of them are in the Nest properties across from CU South
Friend: What did the existing levee on CU South do in 2013?
Coleman: It limited flooding on the site itself but didn't impact downstream negatively.
Friend: Is there any engineering reason to keep it?
Coleman: It doesn't affect the design whether it's there or not.
Friend: What's the cost differential for removing it or not?
Coleman: We haven't considered that in our cost estimate yet bc you can remove it in a few different ways.
"It's still on CU Boulder's property, so it's their material," he says.
Weaver: We disposed of some open space to widen U.S. 36. Some fairly sensitive habitat. How did that compensation process work out?
Don D'Amico of the open space dept handling this q.
It was mostly Ute Ladies' Tresses orchid habitat, D'Amico says.

He's going over the process. It's boring so far. Basically they planted some flowers.
"We had fairly good success recreating wetlands" they were in, but we didn't see any repopulation of the natural orchids themselves. Nothing growing there.
Well, no orchids.
Sod was transplanted one mile to 1.5 miles, D'Amico says in response to Weaver q.

"I just wanted that context" of how difficult it can be with this species, Weaver says.
That was the first attempt to transplant the orchids, D'Amico says. "As far as I know, it hadn't been tried before."
Weaver: How could we mitigate the loss of orchid habitat for this project?
D'Amico: We tried our best. We replicated the soils, etc. "If any transplant process would have been successful, we feel this would have done it."

But "we could try again."
Maybe we could transplant individuals clumps of soil rather than sod maps... "we just really don't know at this point. There's just no next step we're confident would mitigate the impacts."
That was D'Amico.
Weaver: Are there locations nearby to the area that will be disturbed that have orchids?
D'Amico: We find them all up and down South Boulder Creek.
"They kind of bunch up right against the highway; the hydrology must be ideal," D'Amico says.
Apparently Ute Ladies' Tresses like former gravel mines.
We're losing our first members of the medium-size crowd. Some Frasier Meadows folks heading back home. Probably bedtime.
Nagle q: Are we timing construction with the mating or nesting cycle or anything of the Preble's mouse?
D'Amico: Fish and wildlife requires that we not do construction when they're hibernating. So they (the mice) could potentially leave.
OK, back to the serious stuff
Weaver going over the difference in detention for 100-yr vs. 500-yr: We'll detain something like 2/3 of the water in a 500-yr storm with a 100-yr detention design.
Wallach: The cost estimates have huge margins of error bc we're in preliminary design. What's the delta between current estimates and potential real costs?
Taddeucci: I've seen a lot of cost estimates in my time at the city. Sometimes they're really rough, crude numbers. I think we've tried to be as realistic as we can. I feel good about the costs that are on the table.
Douglas Sullivan, principal engineer in utilities, going over what these estimates are. They're not the most rough; they're second rough, according to a national classification system.
"There is a healthy range that's understood," Sullivan he says. These cost estimates have a -30% and +50% range.

Put another way, they could be 30% lower or 50% higher.
"Even in the best of circumstances" when we have final bidding estimates (the most accurate) they can still be off.

We've been off by 20% and 50% in the bidding process before, Sullivan says.
Wallach: So this could be a $110 million project?
Sullivan: That's entirely possible. We also have to account for the rise in labor and construction costs by the time we actually build this thing.
Yates: In 2015 when we approved Option D, the price tag was $22 million. So here we are five years later with an estimate three times that.
Yates: Can you give us an idea on a per-million $$ basis or per $10-million basis, what's the per-homeowner cost we'll have to increase utilities by? Are we talking a few cents a month or...?
Potential rate increases of 50-70% for stormwater. $10-$15 per month, Taddeucci says.
Sullivan: Current stormwater rate is $17/mo on average.
Yates: Would increases happen all at once or over time?
Taddeucci: We can do either.
I got lost in all the math; Yates asking for more info on the various design options and how much that would cost homeowners for utility increases.
"We may make a decision for reasons other than economics, but it would be great to know," Yates says.
Sullivan sharing average water bills in Boulder: $35/mo for drinking water
$30/mo for wastewater
$17/mo for stormwater

Brockett reminding ppl that just the stormwater portion would go up by 50-70%, not the entire water bill.
This would be to pay for debt service to pay for flood mitigation.
We're going over a little something about the levee that I don't quite understand. We may get more clarification later when CU comes up.
Friend: If taking the berm out adds cost and the benefit is open space restoration, why wouldn't open space pay for that? Why would that go on utility bills?
Taddeucci: We did all modeling with the assumption that the levee was removed. That's bc it was consistent with the guiding principles.

If levee stays in place, there will be tradeoffs. We haven't evaluated that at this point.
Young: Why would utilities bill include the fill cost to make land buildable for CU? Just putting that out there; we don't have to answer it.
Taddeucci: The way we've thought about this has been in pretty strong costs. Typically if project includes mitigation for the landowner to get their approval, utilities would pay for that.
Young: So that's a point of negotiation?
Taddeucci: It potentially could be. But it's a legal question of what utilities pays for.
Swetlik: What's most of the cost of fill? The fill itself? Transportation?
Coleman: We've assumed all the fill needs to be imported to the site. Levee has 60,000 cubic yards; we'd need upward of 1.3M cubic yards for the 500-yr design.
Coleman: I think I'll have to check, but we can assume fill is being imported at least 50 miles.

Transportation vs. fill itself costs are broken out in the packet, he says.
Council now going to give direction on what design to move forward with.

Friend starts: 200- and 500-yr aren't feasible.
"I don't see how it does us much good to engage the community on do you want 500-yr vs. 100-yr if 500-yr is not permutable and has huge impact on the environment and we're getting flood protection that is standard."
Yates agrees: "100-yr makes the most sense, plus it's the most economically viable."
Wallach agrees. "There's not much point in talking about possible solutions that we can't bring into reality."

100-yr looks permit-able, provides benefits, is cost effective.
Brockett, too: We've always hoped to do 500-yr, but to hear about potential un-permitability .... "We need to settle on an option so we can move to the next stage."
Correx to above Friend quote: She said permit-able, which my Mac changed to permutable.
Weaver: In the original decision, 500-yr "made a lot of sense. ... We could protect a lot more ppl over time and do so at a premium that didn't seem particularly high."
But now, "happy to support moving forward with 100-yr" bc I want to see a project get done. "I would point out that a bunch of costs we're basing our delta on are based on" CU's ability to develop land.
Weaver: I will support the 100-yr design, but "I will do so noting that our hands are being constrained somewhat by the landowner on the site."
Swetlik: There are 16 waterways in Boulder. This is 1.
"It's probably worth having some $$" leftover to address the others as well after this one.
Sullivan: We're having an April 14(?) study session on that.
OK, we have direction on that.
18 months after selecting the flood mitigation design, council will go with another design that was also an option 18 months ago.

Much new info gained over that time, of course.
I'mma keep this same thread open for annexation and CU's presentation, even though it's quite long.
Here are my notes from the packet: Annexation application submitted by CU February 2019
CU's goals: 129 acres of buildable land, to be from OSO or paid for at fair market value what is lost
Also 30 acres for athletic fields, built in OSO if Parks land not available due to flood mitigation
Jan. 21, submitted amendment that housing may not be “suitable and feasible”…

We'll touch on that later, Kleisler says. Things have changed.
Kleisler going over types of land that are eligible for annexation and their classifications. Riveting stuff.

CU South is the largest parcel of land (308 acres) currently available for annexation and (some) development.
Area III Planning Reserve is, of course, larger, but it's Area III... not currently eligible to be developed until it's reclassified as Area II. (What CU South is)
Sorry I'm not tweeting much; I'm having trouble following. Based on councilwoman Friend's qs, she is, too.
One thing I did gather: May decision on annexation by council...? Then a revised application and final Planning Board and council hearings. (Maybe?)
Lots o' moving pieces: Transportation, open space conveyance, development restrictions, etc. "That's at least a half a year," Kleisler says.
Top 6 issues that still need massaging between city, CU: Land for development, land for recreation, open space, PILOT (?), transportation, shared public safety facility.
OK, now talking housing on the site.
Kleisler: The uni has more comments on that that they'll be getting into.
So not *quite* yet talking housing.
Kleisler RE 500-acre Area III Planning Reserve:That classification is really an in-between step b4 council decides if it should remain rural (different classification) or be developed.
This council is leaning toward activating that for development.
In that area, owned by the city:
30 acres purchased by housing division
190 acres purchased with parks funds, I believe.
Oh yeah, forgot the link:…
RE a land swap: There are some issues with disposal, Kleisler says. Plus we'd need more plans that CU won't likely have by the time we need them.
"Then there's the unknown. We don't know what we don't know," which studies might reveal, Kleisler says.
If we super-accelerated our process, Yates says, we could get an annexation process for Area III by 2022. If we do the typical process, 2027.
Yates: At what point does it matter to this flood project if CU is building there or not?
Taddeucci: The biggest challenge for flood mitigation to process: we don't own the property. We need an agreement. CU has offered to donate 80 acres, which we appreciate, but ultimately annexation piece has to get settled for us to move forward.
"We continue to move forward with this annexation looming over the project. Possibly a conversation for the process subcommittee. Can we build in checkpoints? Should we keep going?"
Taddeucci: I'm not answering your question.
Yates: Yeah, you're not. (laughs)
Yates: Let's say the landowner said yes no matter what. You guys can do this. But we haven't decided about building on the western part. At what point in time will their decision about building or not building affect your engineering? Assuming you have landowner approval?
Taddeucci: We can proceed right now. A lot of the costs associated with providing the 129 acres are completely independent from flood mitigation.
"Getting some certainty before we do an (open space) disposal would be good. We could proceed with flood mitigation now without delay."
Weaver: Can you start permitting process without knowing what CU will do?
Taddeucci: Yes.
Except for maybe some of the environmental ones, bc those have to do with fill and the levee.
Weaver: When do you anticipate doing those applications?
Taddeucci: A year from now.
Weaver: So a year from now, if we didn't have resolution on landowner issues, we could run into issues.
Yes, Taddeucci says.
Young asked a q about the planning reserve and the various studies needed for that and timelines.

Kleisler addressing: Council could choose to extend the current mid-term update to accommodate that, but it would hold up everything else in that update.
Young: That gave me a minus on extending the midterm.
Or city could approach Boulder County to renegotiate the contract of what can be done in what comp plan updates.

The last time that happened, it took a couple years, Kleisler says. "I don't think that's an option to move expeditiously."
Nagle: Parks & Rec would have to vote to dispose Planning Reserve land, right? Would that be a difficult process to use this land for a swap?
Kleisler: That definitely throws some more bubbles into the Venn diagram. I don't see where it makes it easier.
Would require PRAB vote and council vote. And it would require a conversation about parks and rec purposes: Would a swap for CU South count or not?
Friend: How steep is the ask for disposal of parks & rec land? In the Hogan Pancost decision, it was said that we killed the zombie and prevented development there by making that parks land.
Also, how realistic is the accelerated timeline for the Planning Reserve? That seems ambitious.
Kleisler: It would be a high bar (to dispose of land). It's been in the parks & rec master plan as a long-term holding for them. (Area III Planning Reserve)
And to the second question, there are things and steps to consider that haven't been brought up yet that would add time, Kleisler (loosely) says.
Swetlik: Is there any critical habitat on the Area III Planning Reserve?
Kleisler: There are a lot of prairie dogs.
But otherwise few environmental considerations, Kleisler says.
Brockett clarifying q: Bc of state law that requires annexation begin with land contiguous to city limits, there are other property owners (or one) we'd have to annex in addition to city land?
Yes, Kleisler says.
Parks & rec disposal would require PRAB, Planning Board and then council OK
According to Jeff Haley. Parks and Recreation Planning Manager.
Friend: Would the city owe you $$ for that land if you disposed?
Haley: Yes, there would probably be reimbursement of some kind, bc it was paid for with sales tax/bonding for parks land.
Funding was initially for parks and rec purposes, Haley says.
Wallach: If we did a land swap for planning reserve, would you not be in effect made whole with property we're acquiring at CU South if it was made available for parks?
Generally yes, Haley says. "At the end of the day it's just acreage parks dept has set aside for future needs."

If those needs could be ID'd and met at the CU property, that could be made whole.
Brockett: Isn't there a geographical component? If your'e reserving land for a park in NoBo, putting parks in SoBo is as far away as you can get. You're shifting amenities from those who live in NoBo.
You'd have to do an analysis on where the needs were, right? Brockett says.
Yes, Haley says. The intention in the 90s when we bout this was more to have a "large expansive" area.
Yates: When I was on PRAB, we had lots of discussions about what we could do with this land north of town. We didn't have any $$ at the time to do anything. 11 yrs later, I assume we still don't have $$$.
Yes, Haley says.
Yates: And we have higher priorities if we had the $$, right?
Yes, Haley says. It's not in our investment strategy, capital improvement plan, etc.
It's in our master plan Vision level, Haley says.
Friend: I'm not sure why we're looking at a land swap in the first place. Maybe as the conversation goes forward, it will make sense to me.
Friend again: We're looking at a land swap for open space, then another for parks, adding another body that has to approve. I'm not sure why we're looking at two land swaps in the 11th hour of this project.
First was a direct quote; forgot the " "
Second was mostly direct but also some paraphrase so we'll call it a paraphrase.
Frances Draper from CU is here to present for CU.
"I think we should give ourselves a high-five as a team. We're working together to achieve a higher goal" — public safety, Draper says.
"There are many community priorities" here, Draper says, including the university's mission.
The value of the 80 acres being donated to the city "which no longer relied on the use of those 80 acres for flood mitigation, but that we would provide that 80 to use as you saw fit," is $18 million, according to CU.
CU has agreed to the 55-foot height limit for buildings even tho, as a state entity, they don't have to.
The uni also agreed to a 60-day review of any future concept plans for the site, instead of the 45 they are required to do.
Derek Silva up now to talk about CU's requirements: 129 acres to build on; connection to city utilities (uni will cover costs for those with "a couple exceptions") city covering "increased costs due to displacement of access roads, warehouses, etc. by flood structure."
CU also requires 30 acres for athletic fields
Silva on 129 why acres: That was agreed upon in the land use negotiation process. It all exists outside the 500-yr floodplain, "relatively unregulated" when it comes to development

Less than 50% of CU's total 308 acres.
129 acres will allow us to continue to meet our mission as a state research institution, Silva says.
Draper to address: What would it take for CU to recommit to building housing on the site?
And will it consider a land swap?
Housing: WE believe we can continue to commit that as the predominant use of the site if the city agrees to multiple entries to the property.
Highway 93 "is an easy one"- I believe they previously agreed not to connect 93.
But 3-4 entrances and exits make it much more accessible, Draper says.
Silva on the land swap: We have concerns about the proposal. It's likely to create substantial delays in flood mitigation without benefits for that project.

"We just cannot recommend this course of action."
There are just too many uncertainties. Our feasibility studies are not guaranteed to produce an outcome that it's feasible for a CU campus.
We would only agree to do that feasibility study AFTER the land has been reclassified to Area II.
Silva also talking levee, which I have to be honest I'm not super familiar with. Never have quite understood it.

And these are all related to designs city isn't going to do (200- and 500-yr) so it doesn't matter (to me)
Draper on the "circulating misconceptions": That CU is forcing the city into huge costs to maintain 129 buildable acres.
"The city has a choice here – take the levee down for more
restoration opportunities and pay more for fill – or – maintain the levee and drop the costs significantly
If the city selects 100-year, no additional fill will be required."
We're pretty far along on annexation, Draper says. "We're ready to rock-n-roll."
Rock and roll? I guess, it should be.
We remain committed, Silva says. "I think both sides have put in a lot of work" to solve this on this site, not another site.
Yates: You mentioned multiple access points, to Highway 93. I think CU has an easement from the property to 93 but it doesn't quite get there. Do you have a right-of-way to build there?
Yes, CU says.
Yates: Have you talked with CDOT about that?
Not yet; we want OK from the city first, Draper says.
Kleisler: We did a study early on about access and connecting 93.
Wallach: You spoke about uncertainty in a land swap. A lot of uncertainty in these processes, frankly, have come from CU.
He's going over all those now, with dates!

You committed to provide housing; you amended that and "made housing a very iffy proposition." Now it's back on the table with "a new ask."
You testified once that you didn't want to consider a land swap, backed up in two written statements. But then you said this month you were prepared to consider. Now you're taking it off the table.
"Is this simply the proposal de jour, or is this the one you really, really mean? And how are we to judge the difference? I have no idea what you're actually committing to, and that distresses me."
Wallach: I'm grateful for the benefit you're giving the city, but you always fail to mention the value CU is getting bc you can develop the day after annexation. "This is a process in which both sides are giving great value; it's not a one-way process."
Draper: "We would agree there have been back-and-forth, and that's true in any negotiation, as you're aware with your background. ... I don't think the university has not been consistently at the table."
Wallach: We have a symbiotic relationship, not an adversarial one. I haven't seen enough symbiosis in some parts of this.
Brockett: I'm glad you're recommitting to housing. I was a little worried there.
Draper: We were, too.
Brockett: We didn't want to create a bypass from 93 to 36, but it seems reasonable to do an access point there, providing it isn't a major roadway.

But the access point to the west, could we maybe do emergency access or bike/ped, to be kind to the adjacent neighborhood?
Silva: I think we could consider that.
Friend: From the vantage point of someone living in harm's way, working with CU and the city, I've always found CU to be a willing and valued partner who I felt was really trying to help me get out of harm's way. It's much worse when we look at upstream detention for the 3rd time
It's much worse than the month CU took to consider housing, she says.
Friend to CU: What's your thought on the timeline if we do a land swap? What do you see is the quickest date you can study that land?
Draper: Idk that we know. For us the issue is that it needs to go from Area III to Area II.
Brockett: If we get all 5 bodies to approve that, move it into Area II, it seems like we'd be more or less where we were with the university in 2015 before we did the guiding principles.
Draper: We'd still need to look at the land itself. We're very familiar with CU South. We could probably borrow from some of what we've created, but it is a v different property.
That was RE: guiding principles, which were designed with CU South in mind.
Young: When will your master plan be done? How much long after will there be more certainty about what kind of zoning you would need, for example?
Silva: Master plan is 10-yr legislative requirement. 2021 is the next one. Much like the comp plan, it could be 2022 when it's done, but we try to get it done in 2021.
Master plan looks at all our land holdings and what could be developed. Not specifics, but ideation. "That's not going to establish anything firm for CU South but there will be high-level principles" for what we envision for 10 yrs and beyond.
But that could change in 10 years, the next update.
"It's not going to give us any indication for a timeline for developing on CU South. That will arise more organically."
"Right now, there's just no way we can answer a specific timeline. It could be 2027, it could be 2030. We just don't know."
Young restating that, "in reality," none of "these examinations" — housing vs. no, upstream detention, etc. — have caused delay. She framed it as a question.
We've kept working, Kleisler says. But we do need some firm decisions on flood mitigation footprint. "It's a tough question to answer, but there may have been .... idk if I have a great answer for you."
You can sense staff's hesitation in answering this.
Taddeucci: "It is not uncommon for a project with this level of complexity to take years and years."
Lakewood pipeline took 16 years to get approval; millions of $$ in analysis. Carter Lake pipeline; we started in 2003 and it's just getting constructed now.
Have we gone back and forth on design options that are now infeasible? Yes, Taddeucci says. Today, "we are moving forward without delay."
Swetlik: Is any statement that you provide us CU's official position, or is it you — Derek and Frances — the project manager's statement?

Silva: The annexation application is our statement on the matter.
Joseph: I didn't agree with everything Wallach said, but he did make a good point. CU is very flexible, but that leads to inflexibility in a way. You don't think a land swap is a good idea, but you are willing to look at it, for example. We want to hear a firm yes or no.
Can we decouple this process? Joseph asks. Allow flood mitigation to go forward.
Draper: We were asked a year ago if we would consider a land swap. We said the property was not comparable. We were since asked if that could be made annex-able, would you consider *that*?

"I would say there's as much switching on the city's side as on CU's side."
I think we're being fairly clear, she says. It's unreasonable to expect partners in a negotiation to take a position and never change or be responsive to what the city asks or suggests.
We will consider a land swap if it can be moved from Area III to Area II, but that's not the preferred, Draper says.
Can we decouple these, Joseph asks again?
No, Draper says. We have stated that and been firm. The land needs to stay as one package deal.
Silva: "We can be skeptical (of a land swap) while still being flexible and allowing it to move forward. We just cannot spend our time evaluating a piece of land that isn't even annex-able."
Wallach: If this council is prepared to commit to an annexation of either the CU South property or the Planning Reserve property, even at your discretion, since you're not in a hurry to build tomorrow, why can't we decouple that from flood mitigation?
If your interest is similar to ours in terms of accelerating flood mitigation and not holding it hostage ... why can't you do that? Why won't you do that? Wallach asks.
Idk how we can bank on any commitment. What assurance can you give us? Silva says.
Draper: I don't think you're able to commit at a legal level that is satisfying to the university. We've consulted with the university's legal team; we're not just sitting here making stuff up.
"We have stated we're not interested in decoupling the process." Draper says
Wallach: I understand. I'm asking why that is.
Draper: We don't think there's enough motivation for the city to annex in the future.
Wallach: So you're just holding it for leverage.
Draper: As are you.
Friend: CU has a duty to a state taxpayer. I can't imagine it would be anywhere in their interest to give us 65 acres of land with nothing in exchange. How can, if I live in Pueblo, thing that's a good use of my $$?
"They are a community partner and not the villain here."
Friend: We have to be reasonable negotiators here. The land swap requires the county to weigh in, planning board, ppl who have yet to be elected. There's no way as an attorney I can imagine that CU can conceive of a possible gift.
Weaver interrupts. We've moved into debate and discussion; not questions.
Friend: It's OK, but I think ppl before me were also not asking qs so I feel a bit disrespected.
Draper: The point is yes, we serve the state and we have a mission within the state constitution that we must work to while being good community partners. To ask us to abandon our mission is not reasonable.
Weaver apologized for disrespecting Friend, btw.
Yates: We're not being asked to decide. We made a decision on design; nobody is asking us to make a decision on annexation, right?
Kleisler: The housing issue was what we wanted to tee up, but that's changed.
Friend q: If we were to move forward with Variant 1, 100-yr plan on the table and annexation, could we get to a point where we annex that and then get some sort of tentative request for CU to analyze the Planning Reserve?
Silva: Idk what kind of assurance we could give. If we get land annexed, our focus would be on annexed land, unless there's some benefit or value in the future to do a swap.
Friend asks some of the public to stop whispering among themselves bc she can't hear.

They did not acquiesce.
I really have to pee. This has been a long meeting with no breaks really.
Weaver asked a q about the Planning Reserve and why parks & rec bought it.
Valmont was bought at the same time, Haley says.
No efforts have been made at Area III but Valmont has been developed, right? Weaver asks.
Yes, Haley says.
And that's fairly close to the Planning Reserve land, right? Weaver asks
Haley: It's the same classification. Valmont is more centrally located and the schedule for development was earlier; it's closer to the city's core.
Master plan for parks does reference Area III. The goal is 2030 to have 8 acres per 1,000 population of that classification. Area III will help reach that.
We'll need approx 9 ballfields in the future to meet current demand, etc. Haley says.
Weaver: Where are we now with parks per pop?
Haley: 700 city and regional parks acreage; 274 of those acres are developed. 7.3 acres per 1,000 population
Weaver: How would the parks board look at a swap? If we have 190 acres in the north and we did a swap, how would the parks board look at the opportunities at CU South?
Haley: We're currently kicking off our master plan update. I would believe that our staff as well as our board has looked at updating our needs assessment. We'd look at all the facilities, do a proximity analysis for neighborhoods and future development, etc.
I can't really say at this moment how that would go. That info would need to be gathered, Haley says. If we were to add this amenities in the southern part of town, would that be meeting the intention throughout the community? Idk.
Next master plan will be completed in 2021
No more qs; we're moving to discussion.
Friend: I don't see any benefit from considering a land swap. It doesn't help flood mitigation; it adds to staff work and time.
What it does is answer community asks that CU South not be developed. Ppl in the north won't want CU North to be developed, she says.
Friend: "If we're moving the goalposts, it better be for a super good reason."

Why are we looking at this? What are we getting for Boulder? Idk why we're even talking about this.
Brockett: I agree with Friend. On the positive side, I feel like we're making real progress. We're getting close on flood mitigation; we've got CU on the table, they're looking at housing.
"We have something within a manageable period of time would allow us to move forward with flood mitigation. I would really hate to see us in a very large level of uncertainty with this pursuit of the Planning Reserve ....
...which would take years, have the uncertainty of a five-body review ... which would start us back to where we were five years ago with CU."
Young: "The issue in terms of the annexation is not let's get it done, let's get it done. Well, it is. We don't know what we would be annexing."
"The master plan won't be done until 2021; it won't be until 2027 to know anything close to what they would want. I don't think it would be responsible as someone who has fiduciary duty to the city... it would be very irresponsible to annex ... just basically rough sketches."
Young: I would like to see us find a way as collaborating partners, bc ultimately the uni and the city are members of the same community and protecting the same ppl. That's what our concern should be; to provide safety for folks.
"We can't do an annexation without knowing what we're annexing; that would be irresponsible."
Referencing Ponderosa annexation, in which council insisted on no displacement. Staff came back with a plan, she says.
Couple of issues with that comparison: Staff works for council. CU is a state entity.

Plus, there has been displacement! Just bc ppl voluntarily left doesn't mean it doesn't count. They have so few options.
"I would challenge us to find a way forward, whether it's in incremental (agreements); idk. That's for the lawyers to figure out."
Friend: Didn't guiding principles note that there will be ambiguity in annexation agreement? Why are we questioning that today? I thought that's how it was set up?
Weaver: We changed the land use map and put in place additional protections, if it was annexed, there would be things they would agree to.
Kleisler: We looked more as a performance-based standard: height limit, etc.
Brockett: I agree we did not commit to annexation in the guiding principles, but the guiding principles laid out a path that the next steps would consist of flood mitigation and annexation to follow these guidelines.
"It in no way said we were going to figure out the exact shape of the buildings that would go there."
Swetlik: I live at Baseline and Foothills in a sub-ground level unit. I still think it's OK to take time to question things. To check out the expansion area in the north just as an option.
"It takes a little bit of hubris as a human to say I'm the most important, my protection. It's got to be about me right now. ... I think the community does need to understand that a long time ago, Boulder was established in 16 drainage areas."
"This isn't the only flood area. It's not like ppl don't have a choice to leave the area."
Friend: We put formerly homeless ppl there with housing vouchers. This is not hubris talking. This has been a very patient trip down a very long road.
"To think it's the same thing to be in a bit of water's way vs. flash flooding where your kids going to die if they sleep in the basement.... This is not rapid or speedy."
I sense we're going to look at the land swap. "It is a delay and it is saying that people's lives aren't that important."
Joseph: "I can see this is an emotional discussion. It is about protecting people's lives. ... CU is not looking at this option; it's not viable. They don't want it. I don't think delaying is good for anybody."
"Taking the time to pursue that option .... on whose time? When is the next flood?"
Joseph: We talk about equity all the time. We're saying just swap the land, then the ppl in the north might not have a park.

I feel we are talking past each other. We've been doing that all night.
"We cannot just usurp and take over the land." CU South is the most viable option; we cannot just take forever and take our time to get that done.
Yates: Keeping our options open does not always involve delay. I agree with Brockett that we've made great progress tonight.
Yates to staff: CU was clear that housing is back on the table if they can get access to 93. I want to know if that's a problem.
I would suggest that staff and CU approach CDOT, especially since CU has an easement. Let's find out if that's a problem If CDOT says no, then we'll need to talk about housing being back off the table, Yates says.
Also asks that staff explain why the services study for the Planning Reserve can't start until 2021. "Is there a really good reason we couldn't do that this year?"
Jane Brautigam: It's a matter of priorities. You'd have to take things off the planning dept table to do that study.
Jim Robertson: I can't tell you what would be displaced, but the study is a significant piece of work. "It invokes the work of virtually every city department."
It's not on anyone's work plan right now, Robertson says. If we change what we agreed on at the retreat, we'd have to have a discussion about what it would displace.
Council was *all* dedicated to not popping new things up or adding to staff's workload.... We're literally 5 weeks out from the retreat and they're at it again.
Wallach: "If there's no housing, I'm not sure I would support this annexation."
RE: Planning Reserve. It's about finding the best option. If it does not provide undue delay.
Wallach to Friend: It's always being described what we (council) are doing to put ppl in harm's way. To me, it's CU doing that by tethering flood mitigation to annexation, which is a business decision.
"I think the onus for delay falls more on CU than council."
Friend: I haven't gotten a real satisfactory (answer) from council members, so I'm asking staff. What is the benefit of this land swap? What are pros and cons?
Kleisler: The benefit could be that land in the planning reserve may have fewer environmental constraints.
Kleisler: If parks and rec long-range planning did decide that would be a gain, that would be a benefit. But we don't know if that would be the case.
Kleisler: The downside is getting a couple years down the road and have it not be a benefit and not work out. That would be the risk.
Friend: Soudns like we'll have to slaughter a lot of prairie dogs. We'd have to ask ppl to cut through the heart of Boulder to get to CU North. At what point would we look at ... I understand CU doesn't want to look at it. Why does Boulder?
Brockett: One issue that hasn't been brought up is transportation. There's literally 0 transit to the Planning Reserve. CU South has 10 or so bus lines.
Brockett: It's further away from the university and has no transit. How many vehicle miles would we be adding and is that contradictory to our climate goals?
Young: Land swap idea isn't as big a priority for me as it is to find a way that we can get to a point where we know what we're annexing.
Swetlik: I pretty much agree with Young.

Funny, during his campaign he said he didn't think CU should have even agreed to the city's height limit, that they could build to 20 stories there and he wouldn't care.
Young: It's been the city's policy that, upon annexation, we try to extract 40-50% affordable housing. That's our biggest community benefit that we get from annexation.
And I've never seen one that doesn't annex with a site plan, laying out where the buildings are, what type of buildings. You've got the zoning planned out.
By not knowing what we're annexing, you don't know what you're going to get. You don't know if you're even going to get the housing.
Young: It's not the city standing in the way of annexation. it's the university's master planning process. They won't know what they want until 2027.
I'm willing to give on the planning reserve, she says. I don't want to bark up that tree.
Can anyone answer the question: Can't we require housing as part of annexation? Or not bc it's a state entity?
Carr: This is a particularly complicated issue. Usually, we're doing a few houses or vacant land with a site plan.
Carr: This is your one chance to look at the property. Bc CU is a state entity, any restrictions you want to put on the property have to be in the annexation agreement.
We can't do zoning, Carr says; CU isn't subject to it at the state. We have to put that in an annexation agreement.
He and Weaver and others keep using the word "protection" in terms of development limits.

Strikes me as interesting in a discussion where we're talking about another kind of protection: From flood.
These two kinds of protection are not equal.
Draper: I know it's vexing that we don't have a site plan for you. That's because the city asked us to bring annexation forward now bc there was a strong desire to get flood mitigation done.
We did agree to a lot, including height restrictions and density restrictions. We normally don't do that, Draper says.
"We've never said there would be no housing on the site." We said that we'd have to look at if housing made sense behind a dam with one road in and one road out, she says.
I think we can come to an agreement, Draper says. It won't be what you're used to bc you asked us to come forward earlier.
"We're not a developer looking to make a quick buck and get out of Dodge. We live in Dodge."
Weaver: We have had a changing story from CU over time. I'm not being super critical of that. At one pt we had 1,100 units of housing and 1M sq ft of classroom. We said no.
Part of it, we're never going to know. We may know 1,100 units, but what else? It's totally unclear. We won't know transportation load; open space. "This is the most blind annexation we've ever done in the middle of the most complex flood mitigation we've ever done."
Weaver: "If we're expecting certainty, we're fooling ourselves. ... One reason for the land swap" is to decouple these projects.
CU South reminds me of a huge, huge Hogan Pancost, Weaver says. It's wetlands, it's slumping soil, a huge road over the berm and down into the campus.

"I'm really interested in keeping options open."
If there was an option that would decouple flood mitigation from annexation, that would be preferable to me, Weaver says.
"I don't understand why we need to shut this part down now," Weaver says. "I am aware there are ppl in harm's way, downstream. That is really important and I'm glad we moved some decisions forward so that we are reducing uncertainty."
We're going to bump into other roadblocks, Weaver says. So why wouldn't we begin exploring CU North.
Transportation difference from main campus to CU South: 2.7 miles. From Planning Reserve: 3.2 miles
By car.
That was per Weaver, btw. He also says bus service will be built up by CU.
"What's the benefit? The land at CU South has been desired by this community for a very long time bc it's such high-quality habitat. And ppl love to go out there and recreate. So there would certainly be some benefit to the community."
Some of this will remain open space even if CU builds there, of course, and CU has committed to recreation opportunities.
Friend: To avoid delay, we need to continue moving forward with CU South annexations, bc we may not line up in a year when the rubber meets the road. Is that correct?
Weaver: I didn't hear anyone saying we shouldn't move forward with parallel paths.
Brockett: Let's keep in mind strain on the planning department.
Robertson: I need feedback from council. Do you want us to assess the resources required to do baseline services study and what work that would displace?
Robertson: If Kleisler is still working on CU South annexation, and we will have to pull resources for Area III study, that will definitely impact work.
Weaver: Annexation is a year out?
Kleisler: We were thinking flood mitigation buttoned up by the summer; 3 months then for a transportation analysis, open space, etc. ... I would say at least 6 months to a year.
Brockett: I am personally in favor of doing the urban services study. I just don't want to disrupt the planning department.

References Tipton report.
Part of that feedback was that council is inconsistent and staff can't finish projects, etc.
Brockett: I would want to do the study sooner, if it's not disruptive.
Weaver: I agree.
Robertson: I woldn't want to get back to you with a planning dept-only response. This involves every dept. It would take us several weeks, minimum 4, bc we'll have to reach out across city organization for a comprehensive answer.
Wallach agrees with everyone.
It's late; I'm cranky.
I think Young made the point that there would need to be guiding principles developed for CU North. There was laughter; I missed most of the words.
It doesn't make sense to move up the study, she says. They need weeks to even look at when they can start. They'll come back and say they can start in November, rather than 2 months later. What's the point, she asks.
OK her guiding principles were about CU South. How she needs more specificity on what the uni will build there.
Nagle speaks! She agrees with Young and Weaver. She wants to keep options open but want more details on what will be built at CU South.
OK, majority of council does NOT want to move up the Area III study. So that won't happen until 2021.
Will keep working on CU South annexation, hoping for more details from CU on what will be built there.

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