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We've moved into talking about the construction industry and attempts to get greater social distancing for workers.
Charles Ferro going over some active projects and what they're doing. Boulder Junction BHP site has employed COVID safety officers. That's their whole job: Observing and enforcing best practice.
It is technically part of Polis' order that social distancing has to be observed for essential workers, even if it means more cost.

I really wish they'd make masks part of that, for those poor grocery store workers, but as Zayach said earlier, we have supply issues.
Swetlik: What does enforcement and compliance look like for construction sites that aren't run by the city?
Charles Ferro is leading this discussion. "I can't say every job site in town is employing a COVID manager ... but superintendents are taking it seriously."
City is responding to reports of violations with education for workers/employers. "Folks are taking it as seriously as they can," Ferro says.
Complaints made through Boulder County's form are not making their way to city staff, Ferro says. But we're responding to what we do hear of.
Brockett wants an update next week on "folks struggling with rent" — both residential and business.
Swetlik wants to talk about shelter capacity. That's going to be a continuing issue given the economic fallout of COVID, he says.
Brautigam is giving the update on the city services eligibility calculator, created in partnership with Google.…
It's called "Boulder for Me" and it's now been turned over to the city to manage.

Staff looking at a good time for a soft launch, Brautigam said. We haven't been able to do it bc of the pandemic.
We need staff and they've been too busy. But hopefully soft launch "in a couple weeks," Brautigam said.
There are 200+ distinct services offered by the city
13 were picked for calculator
They are....
For Housing and Human Services:
Childcare subsidies
Community Mediation Services
Down payment assistance
Food tax rebate
Office of Human Rights
Older Adult Services case management
Older Adult Services scholarships
Permanently affordable homes
Parks and Recreation (financial aid program)
Library and Arts (homebound delivery)
Climate Initiatives (Energy efficiency services, Solar grants)
Open Space and Mountain Parks (Voice and Sight Tag Program discount)
Young doesn't like the app's name, Boulder for Me
"How about Boulder for Us?" Young suggests
Council likey
Ferro is continuing with the next item: Planning Department services and ops, which includes some changes from COVID and a lot of shifting after the Tipton report.
Here's the presentation on this:…
I have not done much reporting on this issue. Sam at the Camera has; you should follow him for this thread.
I know Sam might not be able/wiling to take part in my journalists furlough fund project, but wouldn't it be great to have him? Then we'd be the Shay-ly Samera.
The strategic plan for the department is called Planning the Future 2.0
Planning & development services closed to public on March 16. Those things shifted to remote.

March 16-April 3:
Averaged 95 calls per week
171 building permits issued
320 building review permits completed
44 ROW & utility permits issued
261 building permit inspections completed
March 20 began accepting building permit applications online

Now has ability to do virtual building inspections, using some third-party inspectors and have a process for unoccupied buildings; fire dept has begun inspections, too
BoCo also started this last Tuesday:…
I am finding this topic EXTREMELY boring.
Ferro: "The inspection data is illustrative and indicates there was an initial disruption until we could complete virtual inspections."

Affordable housing inspections are being prioritized.
I have a whole list of ongoing planning projects and where they are. But I feel like that's a lot to tweet. Unless you just *have* to have them.
I do feel it's a good time to remind ya'll of the last time the Tipton report was mentioned. I don't remember the topic (maybe overburdening staff?) but I know Friend brought it up.

Brautigam said something to the effect of: that report was 6 months ago.
As in, the problems highlighted in it were no longer relevant.

I feel like 6 months to completely address morale and workplace culture is... unrealistic. But idk.
Young asking about some of the work that's been put on pause due to COVID. I missed it as my loud-ass roommate was shuffling bags around.
But I heard the word "psychological," I'm pretty sure so...
Young: Do we *have* to do a comp plan mid-term update?
Ferro: I don't think it will be impacted much. It's moving forward.
OK she's referencing what I missed the first time: Something about psychological safety for staff... That's not something that should be delayed right now, Young says.
Young: "Morale tends to get affected by furloughs and layoffs."
"Psychological safety seemed to me like a piece that was really important," she says.

Brautigam: "I agree with you."
We have a team working on psychological safety, Brautigam says, they're just not able to meet right now. That doesn't mean we don't care about it; we have to deliver essential services.
"The pause is very temporary."
We're gonna move now into one of the planning dept ongoing projects: Community Benefit
Phase 1 adopted in Oct 2019: required more affordable housing for extra height (but still under the 55-foot, citywide, charter limit)
Each zoning district has its own height limit: under the changes to site review criteria, developers can go above that in exchange for extra affordable housing or equal cash-in-lieu payment
Phase 2 is really a look at: What other benefits could we extract?
Suggested focus:
Below Market Rate Commercial (emphasis)
Space for the Arts
Human Services
Net zero buildings
Council could also change Appendix J: the map of where height modifications can go.
Put another way: Where can buildings go up to 55 ft
It was developed in 2015 in anticipation of Community Benefit and changed in October to add RH-3 zones and Alpine-Balsam area
Sunset date extended twice; now May 31, 2021

Staff hopes to have project done no later than that
Council could change it, do away with it (allowing community benefit and therefore 55 ft citywide, as the charter allows) make it permanent or wait and see with analysis

Staff conducting zone-by-zone pro and con for allowing 55-ft buildings
Here's a staff presentation:…

Slide 3 features a clip of mine when I was with the Camera!
Idk why I get a kick out of that. There's literally like 3 reporters in this friggin town, of which I am one. But it feels good to be "official"
Goal: Have a Boulder Beat clip used in a presentation
Something Ferro just mentioned: Community benefit as a concept expanded under the height limit kerfuffle that started in 2015.

Before that, it only applied to annexations, which are required to provide more affordable housing.
Here's a map of Appendix J
Back to potential other community benefits: Other cities have rules related to arts/human services space

NY and SF have attempted to encourage smaller biz by limiting size and frontage widths of commercial space and requiring special review for biz with 11+ locations
A bit surprised they are talking about this now. And I expect councilman Wallach to bring this up, as he sent an email today expressing similar concern.
Actually it was yesterday: "We do not yet understand what the post-Covid world will look like, in terms of demand for housing and commercial space, the availability of financing for these projects, and whether any of the comments I have made ....
... or the proposals that staff will bring to us, will be commercially reasonable in that new environment. And is this the time to devote scarce staff resources to develop a program in an environment with so many unknowns?"

Wallach wrote
That was his argument against the closed streets thing, so he is consistent. We'll see if Nagle feels the same.
Somehow I think she'll be softer on a project about building height
We're about to find out!
Nagle: If we were to eliminate Appendix J, would that allow height mods all over Boulder?
Yes, Ferro says. Unless we put criteria into site review clarifying that it wasn't allowed in certain areas or zones.
But no lecture about why we're wasting staff time on this.
Staff also looking at site review criteria as part of this. It hasn't been updated since 1984 and is incredibly discretionary. Staff would be making it more standard and less complicated.
Wallach: There are 3-4 areas I'm very concerned with (he highlighted these in his email)

Wants it limited to affordable housing (already done) and affordable commercial space (which could include arts and nonprofit space)
"We are told all the time these are the great priorities of our town," he says. Let's stay focused.
Now referencing the earlier points I tweeted about making changes in a time when we have no idea what the impact on real estate might be, but are likely to be significant.
Swetlik: "My comments mostly mirror Mark's ... The simplicity really matters. If you can make it quantifiable, easily quantifiable, there aren't going to be arguments down the road."
One of Wallach's points was that net zero shouldn't be on the list, bc the city will require it of all buildings by 2031.
All new buildings, I should say.
Brockett agrees with that on net zero: "Our codes are moving in the direction of net zero anyway."
If I recall, it was Weaver really pushing the net zero as community benefit.
Back to updating the site review criteria: There are 48 of those; up to 30 for other specific modificatons

Projects of a certain size/impact automatically trigger site review and if developer requests a mod, it will trigger site review
Mods that trigger site review: on-site useable open space; open space for mixed-use developments; landscaping; circulation; parking layout; building design and massing, livability and relationship to the existing or proposed surrounding area; and solar siting and construction.
"Additional criteria apply to proposals which request certain items such as land use intensity modifications, land use intensity or density modifications with a height bonus, parking reductions, off-site parking, and poles above the maximum permitted height"
Joseph: "We had a prior regulation in place. We should not use and have more stringent policies. ... We should not curtail our opportunity to have more affordable housing."
Friend: Do we have any data from Phase 1 yet? Are we getting more affordable units?
Ferro: No. To my knowledge, we haven't had any applications.

Only went into effect Jan. 1
Friend: "I think it's already very hard for most entities and individuals to exist in Boulder and I think that's only going to get worse. ... So I favor us doing all that we can on all fronts, so I wouldn't limit community benefit to affordable housing."
Nagle wants to focus on affordable commercial space bc "we're going to be missing many, many small biz after this."
Yates concurs: We talk about arts and nonprofit space as separate from affordable commercial space, but I think those are all the same thing.
Let's separate site review criteria from the community benefit project, he says. Get site review done ASAP.
Yates: "I would personally be OK if this slipped a little bit ... We've had this in place since before I got on council in 2015, so I'm not sure a few months is going to matter one way or the other."
That's community benefit, btw.
"Assumptions in this project are backward-looking," Young says. "We don't know what that new normal is going to be like. ... We're going to have a loss of small businesses, and I already see vacant commercial spaces."
"I'm wondering if building more commercial spaces is even going to be somethign that is happening. Retail itself is changing."
Young: "Things are going to change and there are going to be some permanent impacts. Until we know more, I'm not sure this is the road to go down."
Brockett: "We don't know where things are going to go. We don't know where we're going to be as a city when it's all over. ... But it seems like with this project, we're providing additional flexibility."
"It could most likely only be helpful."
That's a fair point. Right now, under the height limit moratorium and Appendix J, Boulder is essentially not allowing ppl to build up to 55 feet. Unless those are lifted, doing this project opens that up to, OK, you can build to 55 feet if you do X,Y,Z
Wallach: We may have so much vacant commercial space that it's affordable to everyone. We need to wait and see.

Nagle agrees.
Wow I had another 2 pages of notes on this from the packet but damn it's boring stuff.
Ferro: I've had the same concerns. We're going to have to do a market study at some point. Maybe our consultant can advise whether or not it's a good idea to do those at that time.

"Things are changing every week."
Yates: Does it make sense to come back in Q3 and check in?
Staff says it would be helpful to have some input on priorities for the department. Maybe that can happen during the April 28 budget discussion.
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