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No call-ups, so we're moving to CU South. We'll be here for at least three hours. Presentation:…
And my story again, just in case you missed it the first time:…
I really don't feel like going over what we already did in February. Read the story.

Basically, council's preferred plan may not be doable bc it can't maintain stream flows under U.S. 36. It's also more expensive and destroys more sensitive land.
So they decided to go with a plan that has a smaller detention area. It's the cheapest, impacts sensitive habitat the least and is the most likely to be permitted.

CU also OK with it. (They weren't with the other one)
So council gave that direction in February but asked for more public engagement and board feedback.

WRAB and OSBT (water and open space boards) OK'd the new plan. Planning Board didn't vote.
There were concerns, tho, about the city paying to fill in the land after they dig it up so that CU can build on it. That's $10M of the cost, plus $15M for damage they do to existing infrastructure there.
The city always pays for that, staff says. They hardly ever own the land they do projects on and they have to make a deal with property owners.
Interrupting my recap for some stats:
South Boulder Creek: 27 miles long
136 sq mile watershed area
Headwaters begin at Continental Divide
One of 16 major drainage ways in Boulder
25% of city structures are in the 100-yr flood plain
South Boulder Creek has flooded in 1938, 1969 and 2013. U.S. 36 overtopped in those latter two.
This current flood mitigation plan would protect:
2,300 ppl
1,100 dwellings
260 buildings
Kurt Firnhaber shared some stats (requested by councilwoman Friend) today that I didn't have:
202 affordable rentals downstream
Also 44 homes that are part of affordable Home Ownership Program
It's important to remember that the driving factor of this project is protecting life and safety, Brandon Coleman says. I forget what he does, but obviously something with flood projects.
Coleman went over some history.
The floodplain for South Boulder Creek was redrawn in 2003
That led to a South Boulder Creek master plan (started in 2010), which ID'd this site as a major priority for flood mitigation bc of how many ppl live downstream
The land uses were changed from 2015-2017 as part of negotiations with CU, which owns the land.

We've been in the preliminary design phase since 2018.
With that context, it's easy to understand the frustration from residents that we don't have flood protection yet.

However, staff says these projects often take a decade or more from concept to implementation.
This is a giant project. But we also can't pretend that politics are at play. There is a group of residents who are EXTREMELY opposed to development there.
That's the crux of the whole thing: CU is giving us this land for flood work. In exchange, they want to be added into the city so they can access water/sewer/utilities and build a south campus there.
OK, another stat break: Cost estimates for this project are currently $66M, (for the front-running design) but staff says at this stage of the project, estimates can be up to 50% off from actual costs. So it could be more like $99M.
Something I didn't know until Slide 19 of this presentation: that the bobolink is a bird (Bobolink Trail is nearby)
Even tho the current plan is to protect against a 100-yr storm, not a bigger, 500-yr storm like the old plan, it will lessen the impact of bigger storms.

The detention area will store 467 acre feet of water, which is enough to cover 467 football fields in 12 in of water.
There weren't any 500-yr flows in the 2013 flood on any of Boulder's 16 drainage ways, but climate change could make bigger storms more likely.

There are ways to add in additional protection to the plan with climate change in mind, staff have said.
What those are, though, they haven't said.
Joanna Blum (who I don't know) is going over community engagement.

Nothing new was asked/revealed in recent feedback, staff said, so they didn't change their recommendation for the current plan: Variant 1, 100-yr.
She's going over board feedback, too. The WRAB vote was 3-2; dissenters wanted a design for bigger storms.
BeHeard Boulder hosted an online "guestbook" that garnered 46 comments from 37 ppl. The vast majority of comments (30) wanted to go with Variant 1, 100-yr
As a reminder of how inextricably this flood project is tied to concerns of development, the hottest topic in a BeHeard q&a was not even flood-related: It was about annexation.
Here's the deal with annexation: Members of council and the community have said they are concerned with what CU *might* build there. As a state entity, the university is not bound by our height limit or anything, really, other than safety regs.
They have agreed to abide by our height limit and build no more than 1,100 housing units there. But the city won't get the kind of detailed plans they usually get during annexation.

That bugs some people.
OK, I think I'm going to stop tweeting until there's discussion or public hearing. (Maybe not even that bc honestly it's always all the same.)
Joe Taddeucci, director of utilities I believe, on public feedback: "There are definitely mixed opinions on what we should be doing with this project. There is not consensus ... people have very strong feelings about it."
There has been strong participation at every step of the way, he says.
Weaver reminding public speakers tonight: The focus tonight is about flood protection and flood design. We'll get to annexation later.
Before, public hearing, tho, we'll hear from the board chairs. (I'll tweet this bc I didn't watch those meetings, I just read the notes)
Kirk Vincent, from Water Resources Advisory Board: In our decision, we focused on life health and safety. WRAB has supported Variant 1, 100-year design numerous times over the years. In 2018, unanimously. This time, we were split 3-2.
But everyone on the board views lack of flood protection there as the "most glaring" flood risk in the city, Vincent says.
David Ensign from Planning Board up now. Reminder: They didn't vote. Maybe bc flood stuff isn't really their jam; they'll have a stronger role in annexation.
"Most planning board members were supportive of Variant 1, 100-yr."

That is different from the 2018 Planning Board recommendation of 500-yr; one member had issues with that.
The rest of the board was all like, 'But we've learned more since then, so it's OK."

"In general, planning board does not see their role as getting in the way of progress" of protecting life and safety of residents through flood mitigation," Ensign says.
Moving onto planning board discussion of annexation now, which really isn't relevant to flood mitigation so ... I'mma skip it for now.
Curt Brown from Open Space Board of Trustees: They want to look at the resident-proposed "upstream option" that has been revisited repeatedly over the past two years (and shot down by staff, engineers and council).
But OSBT got new info that made them want to look at it again, Brown says. "That information seems to need some more analysis."
Brown: It was received "during the meeting" so we felt the public "needed more time" to understand it.
OSBT recommended that unanimously.
OSBT can't endorse Variant 1, 100-yr bc of it's impacts to open space, but if council endorses it, it's the best one to avoid environmental impacts. (Less fill, shorter flood wall, etc.)
Some city open space will be disturbed by the building of the flood wall, so that needs to be balanced by mitigating/restoring land after construction and elsewhere on the site, Brown says. It's best practice and in some cases, mandatory.
Ok back after a brief pause. I had to shift my work station outside bc it's literally 80 degrees in my house.
Wallach long-windedly asks if staff can study the upstream option without delaying current work.
bc OSBT wants them, too.
"Their thoughts may not bear fruit," Wallach says, "but if there's a greater than zero chance they might" then can we look at it?
Yes, Taddeucci says, also longwindedly.
Wallach: How much time would you need for that analysis?
Taddeucci: They're asking for another month. Our staff team needs a little breather, but I think within a month or two, I would not see us being able to work on a parallel track full time.
Two months is reasonable, Taddeucci says, but it won't be full time. We can maybe do 2-3 weeks of staff time.
Wallach q: How many homes in Boulder are currently in the 100-yr flood plain? WRAB made a comment about equity in the project. "Whatever we do here is going to be very expensive and will involve resources that may not then be available for other projects."
"Are there other drainage ways at similar risk that we will not be able to service?" Wallach asks.
Taddeucci: If you pose a q to anyone, would you rather have a higher level of flood protection, of course they'll says yes. But a "more realistic question, a more balanced question" is, do you want higher flood protection if it reduces protection for other parts of the city.
Young: The request for additional upstream analysis ... I went back and looked at last year's info. What the board is asking for, the info is already out there. Is that a correct interpretation?
Taddeucci: That is "largely true."
But maybe the city has better graphics now
He's talking about water flow but my neighbors are smoking weed and I'm getting distracted.
If you remove the existing levee, it looks like it would all flow into the CU South. But with modeling, that's not what actually happens.

"That detail may be new information."
If you can capture a small amount of water that doesn't flow in there, could you reduce downstream impacts? That's not our opinion, Taddeucci says, but I understand why the board is interested in learning more.
That is a paraphrase and probably not a good one. This is tricky stuff.

With upstream options, that doesn't eliminate the need for the Variant 1, 100-yr features, Taddeucci says.
Not positive, but I *think* he said upstream could capture 200 acre feet of water.
The Variant 1, 100-yr detention area will hold 467 acre feet.
I wish I could explain how/why this is relevant. I'm sorry that I don't know.
Taddeucci: Upstream detention might result in a shorter flood wall, but you'd be introducing other infrastructure and other impacts.

That was in response to Joseph q that I missed.
Brown from OSBT: What we have is an issue of understanding of the lay person. It looks like 4,500 cubic feet per sec goes into CU South, but staff is saying analysis showing it at only 850 cfs
Brown: "We're not looking at upstream option just to do the upstream option. It would be to avoid putting the flood wall in the state natural area."
"It's not clear" to the public and board that staff's assertion is true, that even with upstream detention we would still need a flood wall by U.S. 36
Friend: What's the cost? And what's the new modeling you're saying you need / are seeing?
Brown: It's possible we've already had modeling and we just need more time to look at it.
Crap that was Taddeucci responding.
Coleman: In 2018, we did look at the upstream. The goal then was, could we remove the floodwall in U.S. 36 to limit construction impacts on open space.

We looked at the community design, brought forth, keeping all our infrastructure on CU South. We still needed a flood wall.
We also looked at an option for how much water could we store on CU South and NOT need a flood wall. We couldn't; we still needed a flood wall.

"We know we can't keep our infrastructure in the CU South boundary and get the flood wall removed."
Coleman: We could look at that. "It would be a matter of what are we trying to accomplish."
Friend: So what's the cost of doing just one model?
Coleman: If we had a good scope, I could take to the consultant and get a cost estimate. "I'm sorry; I'm not 100% clear on what we're trying to provide at this point."
Taddeucci: "I can see it easily being $10,000 or $20,00 to do that."
Taddeucci: There's a lot of "misinformation out there and misperception of facts. ... If we could spend that kind of money and clear that up and get consensus once and for all and that could bring the community together on this project ... I might pay that, personally."
Pretty sure Tadeucci just chugged some Red Bull.
Young had a point but I have no idea what it was.
I think we're moving into public hearing. So the next 1.5 hrs will be.... something.
I know the budget is tight, but I hope engagement manager Sarah Huntley got a raise. Bc she has to moderate and sit through EVERY. COUNCIL. MEETING.
I was gonna say I didn't get a raise, but I totally did. Ya'll are crushing it. Boulder Beat's income is set to double this year. Still under/around $30,000, but progress!
Here's the list of public speakers:…
omg already confusion about pooling time. This is going to be a loooong public hearing.
But thankfully we're starting with Bill Wood, who is going to sing us a 2.5-minute song about flood mitigation. He's a resident of Frasier Meadows
Apparently this song is a SMASH at Frasier Meadows.
Bit of a banger, tbh.
He just rhymed "wheelchair-bound." We stan a songwriting legend.
Did anyone have flood mitigation-themed folk song on their #Boulder city council BINGO card?
Guys, I am DYING.
Thank you to council for giving Bill Wood an extra 10 seconds to finish his song.
That was the single best thing that has ever happened during a public hearing.
I'm taking points off the rest of the speakers for not putting their comments in the form of a catchy tune.
Mike Duffy: This is a dumb plan to pay so much $$ to fill in a former gravel mine so that CU can build. That's the real purpose of this project.

Limit cost to what benefits ratepayers; CU is holding flood mitigation hostage.
Michael Browning: OSBT's feedback clearly states they will NOT dispose land needed to build the flood wall unless we study the upstream option. We need to study the information. Staff "overlooked and hurried through" that analysis.
Apparently the Frasier Meadows folks were confused about the pooling rules bc there are a LOT of ppl planning to pool with 2 ppl (you need 3).

And since none of them have a song (I assume) council not going to make allowances for them.
Margaret LeCompte starts by asking council to "imagine" 1,250 residential units at CU South, once it's developed.

Odd, since CU has agreed to build no more than 1,100. Maybe there's a bonus I'm unaware of.
Anyway, her point was: Will you be proud of this development as the entryway to Boulder?

We'll be looking at the "Great Wall of Boulder" and sitting in traffic fumes, she says.
I realize I'm on the path to tweet every single speaker and I'm just not sure I want to do that. I'll keep a running tally of who is OK with the current design and who has issues with it and just tweet interesting/new info.
Frances Hartogh: If we can destroy open space "for a construction project" how can we trust Boulder to protect open space in the future?
Mark Gelband: The city had ample opportunity to purchase the gravel pit next to the highway. But open space turned it down multiple times.

Getting flood protection for residents has been an urgent issue for 20 years. How are we still here 20 years later?
(Side note: My neighbors are discussing COVID and antibody testing, and they are wildly misinformed. It's all I can do not to shout over at them to READ. THE. NEWS.)
Former city council member Jan Burton: "This project is more political than it needs to be."

We have 17 years of study... Those recommending more study, more foot-dragging, will continue asking bc they don't want development there.
So far we're all tied up at 4 speakers for the current flood design and 4 for more study/analysis, etc.
OH, our first cutoff of an over-time speaker: BMFB himself.
Raymond Bridge called the staff stupid, and Mayor Weaver follows up with a request to keep comments polite and assume that everyone is doing their best.
Peter Mayer, co-chair of PLAN Boulder County, is speaking for that group. He is usually at a Volume 11 in person, but he's at a nice 7 over Zoom.
Alexa Carreno is a lawyer HIRED BY RESIDENTS who want to turn this area into formal open space.
Pretty sure she just threatened to sue the city.
Donna George arguing that we don't need flood mitigation, bc the wetlands that exist there are protection enough!
Also suggests a land swap, not with undeveloped land north of the city, but Alpine-Balsam a site that has been approved for 300 dwelling units, at most.
Jim Morris: Everybody is lying!
Harlin Savage is echoing Mayer about an initiative to get a charter amendment limiting development and requiring a 500-yr flood design on the ballot this November.
We are halfway through our speakers.
Claudia Hansen Thiem: This issue is so far in the weeds that it's hard for a newcomer to get involved.

Don't worry, Claudia, I've got a CU South 101 on deck for ya!
I mean it will take me months, probably, since I have to do the muni first. But I'm working on it.
Jim McMillan: CU and city staff "are acting dishonestly and dishonorably."
Weaver: "I'm going to request again that ppl think the best of folks you're commenting on. Any dispersions of dishonesty or other ulterior motives don't have any place here." Don't "personalize" your comments.
First reference to the CU South MEGA CAMPUS!
Via Ken Beitel
Would love a photoshop of a mega campus, if anyone would be interested in that.

I'm picturing Transformers, obviously.
Beitel also ignoring Mayor Weaver's plea by including city staff of intentionally creating a "fake" upstream option "designed to fail" so that boards would pass on it.
Anne Walters, who goes by Terry(sp?): We lost 40% of our home in 2013 to flood. When we bought our home 20 years ago, we weren't in the floodplain. Maps were redone, then we were.
"If the flood had broken through 30 minutes earlier, my kids were all in the basement." They likely wouldn't have escaped.

"Let's not delay life-saving measures ... Consensus is unlikely."
Speakers are dropping like flies. Almost to the end of the list.
To someone's earlier point that positions aren't going to change: I was able to look through the list and 90% of the time, know what someone's opinion was going to be. There were only a few names new to me.
Robert Sharp asking that Boulder get the governor and legislature to force CU to do what it wants.
I'm not sure asking outsiders for help would go in your favor, Mr. Sharp.
Gabrielle Gibson claims that 40% of students chose CU bc of its reputation for sustainability.
This land is one of the "most important" wildlife habitats in Boulder County, Gibson says.

Interesting, since it wasn't on the priority list for acquisition by Boulder or Boulder County.
Not saying it isn't important; but one of the most important.... ? Idk, bro.
That's the end of public hearing, and Mayor Weaver is thanking staff for "withstanding public pressure .... with grace."
"We have not fully fleshed out" the upstream option, but "we have certainly not been ignoring it," Weaver continues. It's been on the radar for 20 years.
He feels "strongly" that we need to move into preliminary design. We're talking about flood mitigation tonight: Not CU, not fill, not land swaps.

Proposes that council moves Varant 1, 100-year design forward.
But we also need to honor OSBT's request to look at upstream options, Weaver says. "The the extent it's not redundant to what's been done before."
Weaver: "I'll let staff decide what level of effort" that will be.

Also: Above tweet should read "TO the extent..."
Weaver: We shouldn't "ignore" the unanimous vote of OSBT, which shows a "hunger for information."

"But at the same time, we don't know if there's anything there."
Yates agrees with Weaver.
"There has been a fair amount of work done on some upstream models," Yates says, including in 2018.
Young agrees, too, and like Weaver and Yates before her, criticizes the public for "personal attacks" on staff, who she thanks for their work.
Wants staff to present their upstream analysis to WRAB and OSBT together.
Wallach: "I'm not sure the 100-yr is the best solution, but it's one we can afford and I think we need to live in the real world."
Would be on board with a land swap but "it takes two to do business" and CU is not on board. "Until they develop better wisdom" there's nothing we can do.
He will not support annexation agreement as it exists today, Wallach says.
Also calls for public to not assign motive to anyone on staff — or council. We're trying to reach the best solution; I'm not sure there's a perfect one or even a good one, Wallach says, but we're doing our best.
Brockett echoes that last statement.
He likes the direction council is going and is OK looking at upstream even though "we've looked at it before," so long as it doesn't delay work.
Asks the board and public: "Really listen to the experts on this... Let's have faith in our experts, believe that they are working in good faith and doing the best they can. ... Look at where the engineering and science takes us."
This is the closest council has ever come to rebuking the community, which often keeps bringing up the same arguments over and over when they don't like what they hear.
Swetlik: If we're trying to save everyone from flooding, the only option is "raising the entire city a few feet."

Until that's possible (obviously sarcasm there) we have to do the best we can. This moves us forward.
Nagle also thanks staff for their work and being open to working with OSBT. (Swetlik said that, too.)

Supports moving forward with 100-yr design but wants to let community members know "your voices are not being unheard."
"There are council members, myself particularly, who are extremely concerned about this habitat. We're on board with you," Nagle says.

Thanks public for their "constructive criticism."
Friend references the Tipton Report. "I think it's especially abhorrent when ppl personally attack this staff." City council needs to "absorb the constructive criticism."
"This is about health and safety first and foremost," Friend says. If we move forward with 100-yr design, "there are a lot of ppl who live near me who will sleep better tonight knowing we're doing that."
Not a fan of studying upstream options again. We need to define what we're asking staff to do and what we're not asking them to do.
Joseph: "We're not in the business of censorship; people should be able to express themselves." But staff is working for council, so "have a little bit more patience and kindness toward them while you are being expressive and democratic."
Yates makes a motion to move forward with Variant 1, 100-yr design and study the upstream model again at the same time if it would reduce costs, impacts to environment or increase flood protection (think I got those all) in comparison to council plan.
Unanimous vote to move forward with a flood mitigation design.
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