Neighbors of 6500 Arapahoe here again to speak against the annexation and eventual construction of the housing factory. The public hearing has technically closed, but they're here for open comment.
One of the issues is allowing a manufacturing use in a Public zoned piece of land. I asked the city about this: It's kind of a CU South-situation — This is BVSD property, and they don't have to follow the city's zoning rules.
Unlike CU, though, the city already provides water and sewer services to the site, so the city has no leverage, Planner Jay Sugnet told me.

BVSD *did* agree to abide by the city's height limit, but that's about it.
Also, there's EcoCycle's CHaRM and Resource right there, plus the Valmont plant across the street. And BVSD's central kitchen (which makes meals for all schools in the district) already operates on the site.
There's a lot more to this — I've got a story coming eventually — and I'll revisit this thread when council takes its vote later.

It is highly likely to approve the annexation. The city has been working toward this factory for years.
It's a partnership with BVSD and Habitat for Humanity. It will built affordable, nearly net zero modular homes — first to replace older mobile homes at the Ponderosa community, but then potentially elsewhere.
Factory is technically true, but it's more assembly than manufacturing. Like, they're not making siding and windows there. They are putting all the pieces of a home together there. But obviously they'll be using machinery and tools to do so, so... manufacturing.
I thought I had a thread on this, but I can't find it. Here are the planned "stations" on the assembly line:
1. floor framing
2. wall setting
3. roof setting
4. Electrical
5. Plumbing
6. mud-tape/texture/paint/sheathing
7. base trim/door hang/roofing/siding
8. trim/cabinets/facia
9. appliances/finish/clean
These homes will be available for purchase by residents of Ponderosa, with some help from a city second mortgage program that Boulder is using ARPA $$ for (That's the thread I was thinking of):…
It will take 6 weeks to make one home; they can do more than one at a time, but will likely to 12-15 per year, Susan Lythgoe, head of Flatirons Habitat for Humanity said just now.
We rely on volunteers, she said: We can't staff a factory at full capacity.
Among other concerns (noise, traffic) neighbors are upset that the factory will operate on Saturdays — because that's when volunteers are available.
Council did have a public hearing on this, Nov. 17. They didn't approve it but continued it until tonight so they could address some traffic issues. Tonight is the final vote.
Forgot to mention that BVSD plans to have its students in the construction/trade program do some work/study at the factory as well.
I'm not tweeting the neighbor's comments bc I didn't catch one of their names! In-person is throwing me off, and I don't know where the city keeps the list of speakers these days. My apologies; I'll rewatch the meeting video and catch up, I promise!
Plus, I'm gonna take my time because I'd like to not cover this as the typical "Neighbors oppose" story. I'm gonna try to do something new and better. Stay tuned!
OK, we're back to the 6500 Arapahoe annexation. Presentation here:…
Some recap info: Shabnam Bista, city senior planner
41.7-acre property
- 19.097 acres being annexed first (western portion)
- 28.882 acres second (eastern portion)
BVSD purchased in 1964
Currently home to Arapahoe Ridge High School, Boulder Technical Educational Center, BVSD offices
Nearby: CHaRM, Sombrero Marsh

Planning Board OK'd unanimously on Sept. 6, subject to
- Having a good neighbor agreement
- City height limit being followed
Other agreements:
- BVSD will provide student learning there
- City will pay for construction of factory
- City will hire acoustic engineer to study noise impacts
- BVSD will pay $2.1M stormwater plant investment fee
- Land for modular housing factory will be provided for 10 yrs
If BVSD terminates agreement early, they will reimburse city’s affordable housing fund for cost of constructing facility (Year 7 = 30% repayment)

City will pay BVSD $60K per year for 5 years ($300K) for annexation fees
Boulder has $7.6M grants and $4M HUD loan for 31,375 sq ft modular home factory. Project will cost $8.5M

Construction of facility itself will last through 2023, Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Factory will operate 8-4 Tuesday through Saturday
BVSD will have to comply with the city's (and county's) light and noise ordinances, even though they don't have to follow our building and zoning rules.
Per Planner Sugnet, a number of adjustments were made to satisfy neighbors concerns: "We put all the mechanical equipment on the north side of the building. Promised to keep the doors closed at all times. We promised to buy forklifts that don’t have backup alarms."
"We designed the factory so that all deliveries don’t back up at all. We hired an acoustical engineer. We’re not finalizing the design until we get those recommendations."
Speer: "One of the things I'm hearing from community members is the concern that this goes through and they never have a say in anything ever again. What can we do as a city to commit" to followup?
Sugnet: "Neighbors are always welcome to come to city council. You can share concerns with staff. Staff will continue to be involved."
Brockett: Can we add in a one-year check-in to make sure the factory is complying with noise and light requirements?
Yes, Sugnet says.
Wallach: Back in 2021 we received a number of comments from the county's dept of planning and permitting. Did we respond to those?

Yes, says Shabnam Bista, city senior planner.
Wallach: Is it not the case that we are both funding construction of and, through Habitat, operations of this factory?

Correct, Sugnet says.
Wallach's point: So we are responsible, as the city. We are the ones who can handle their concerns. "For the most part, the school district is not going to be involved."
Benjamin: If we're the operator, can't we monitor the traffic? We own part of 63rd street. "We can throttle that to our content."
Sugnet clarifies: "We're talking about 10-12 trips a month." For large trucks.
Winer: Can we monitor impacts to wildlife at nearby Sombrero Marsh?

Dan Burke, director of open space: Yes. We do monitoring at a number of site, but I'd caution that one-year data doesn't really indicate much of a trend. Things fluctuate.
Yates: "The best problems are the problems that are fixable with money."
The most unintentionally rich person quote of all time.
Yates questioning his support of the project over 2 additional delivery trucks a month.
Speer: "When I think about the difference between 10-12 a month, it really feels like it's a drop in the bucket." How many trips happen there today? Am I missing something?
Me, too, bc I also don't get the issue with 2 extra deliveries a month... not a day, not an hour.
Sugnet: There are 4-5 delivery trucks that access 63rd a day (for BVSD's central kitchen). And 45 maintenance vehicles; half use 63rd, half use 65th. Plus cars.

We were just trying to say that we're not going to add hundreds of trucks, Sugnet says.
Brockett suggests putting a cap on the number of deliveries on 63rd street, and a mandate to accept whatever the acoustic engineer says "to the extent reasonably possible."
Folkerts: As the builder and operator, we have significant control over what happens at this site: Noise, light, traffic. That is within our control.

Suggests yearly check-ins with neighbors to address concerns with operation, bc again, that's in the city's control.
Friend: I just want to step back a little bit and compliment city staff for a really cool project. "I don't want us to lose sight of the fact that this is a really cool thing that is going to bring us affordable housing" and give students great work experience.
Related to neighbor agreements and such, I'm concerned we're agreeing to things that don't really have teeth. I don't want to get into the weeds: I don't run a workshop or manufacturing facility. "Be mindful of ripple effects."
Wallach: "I think we've taken a lot of steps to address community concerns. In terms of enforceability, the community is always welcome to enforce it against us in November."
I don't think we can go entirely toward what the community wants, which is I think 'Don't build it,' Wallach says, but we can address their concerns "as best we can."
Council adding some language about avoiding deliveries on 63rd street if at all possible, but it not, limiting them to 10 per month. Also language about wildlife monitoring and yearly check-in with the neighbors about impacts.
Sugnet: There was an environmental assessment. The neighbors have challenged this at HUD, and HUD just yesterday said there was "no merit to that objection."
Tate: With the environmental assessment they determine whether an environmental impact study (which neighbors were asking for) is necessary. The assessment did not find that was required.
Brockett: "We're doing the best we can to make sure it does not have a negative impact on the marsh or neighbors." And also, this is an amazing program to deliver energy efficient homes to Ponderosa residents, and I think they'll be grateful for that.
Unanimous vote to approve the annexation and all that goes with it. That's technically the end, but neighbors are already talking about hiring a lawyer to fight it, so maybe not.

But that's all for now... until my story! After the holidays.
Brockett to BVSD and Habitat folks: "We look forward to working together and getting people in some great homes, and teaching students while we're at it."
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More from @shayshinecastle

Dec 16
Next: Use tables. Basically, what we're allowed to build/operate where in the city.

Boulder has been updating these rules for, like, at least 3 years now.…
This phase is focusing on industrial zones.
There are essentially 3 of these in Boulder:
- Gunbarrel
- East Boulder
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Basically, updates to these are trying to
1.) Simplify them (they're insanely complicated and hard to follow)
2.) Make them better match Boulder's comp plan policies - which mainly means allowing more housing
Read 44 tweets
Dec 16
We've got the first speaker on the Police Oversight Panel nominations tonight. Jennifer Rhodes asking that Lisa Sweeney-Miran not be appointed.

Sweeney-Miran is one of 6 applicants chosen by the selection committee.
1. Danielle Aguilar
2. Maria Soledad-Diaz
3. Madelyn Strong Woodley
4. Sam Zhang
5. Lisa Sweeney-Miran
6. Talithia Cason
The selection committee is two nonprofits: El Centro Amistad and the NAACP of Boulder County
Read 45 tweets
Dec 16
Council (as the General Canvassing and Election Board) also officially approving the recent election results, which have been certified by the county clerk and recorder.…
Which comes with a (somewhat tasteless, IMO) joke about the Capitol Insurrection.
People died, yo.
Read 4 tweets
Dec 16
Happy Thursday, Boulder! It's city council night — the last one of the year!

I'll be tweeting some of it.
On tap for tonight is some appointments: I believe to the Police Oversight Panel and the new library district board of trustees.

Also: (Likely) approval of an annexation at 6500 Arapahoe, where the city and BVSD will build an assembly plant for modular homes.
And some other stuff.
Read 4 tweets
Dec 9
Next up: An introduction to the city's alternative (non-police) response team.…
Boulder already does co-response (police + behavioral health workers) and that won't stop. They're just adding 2 completely non-police teams of behavioral health clinicians + paramedics.
They'll respond to non-crime 911 calls and the Police Dept non-emergency line, and also offer case management services as followup.

They could handle up to 5,172 calls a year, based on study of current calls, or 431 per month on the high end — 6% of dispatch calls.
Read 71 tweets
Dec 9
Here is the presentation for the quarterly crime update:…

There were no notes on this in the council packet, so I'm seeing this for the first time. (Which means I don't have much context to add)
Except my reminder that crime data and reporting is SO complicated, complex and nuanced. I'll make sure to include some resources for making sense of it in the Sunday newsletter.
Chief Herold talking about stratified policing, which I thought I understood but her explanation is complicating what I thought.
Read 89 tweets

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