We strongly support moving forward with a Comprehensive Development Strategy, as a Council-driven priority.
There have been many letters and other communications that have characterized PBC’s position as demanding no growth, low density, and keeping Boulder exactly the same as it is now.
Those are mischaracterizations, and particularly for this effort by the council to address the development issues that are causing a great deal of community concern.
PBC’s position does not currently seek any specific outcome from whatever process the council devises (although the organization will certainly have opinions on the issues as they play out). What we have consistently advocated is that the larger community is engaged in making the decisions about Boulder’s future in a way that is much more inclusive than the City’s typical Task Force or Blue Ribbon Commission that is populated with members of interest groups that have skin in the particular game. Simply approving more building will not achieve our goals.
We are getting a lot of development right now, but we are not getting the benefits the community wants. Many of the apartments that have come on the market are not affordable to our workers, are not aesthetically well designed, and do not provide community benefits. Arguments are made for the benefits of increased density, but what has been built generally has more intensity, not more density.
The current process is broken. Exceptions to height limits (which were initiated by Boulder citizens) are given with no enforceable community benefits. Developers are incentivized to promise community benefits during site review with no requirement that those benefits are actually part of what is built. In their hotline posts during the last week, councilmembers have cited many other problems.
PBC wants to see this situation redirected to a broad and constructive community discussion, and understands that this will inevitably require compromise and tradeoffs.
PBC will strongly advocate for that broader community discussion, rather than participate in dueling “We vs Them” arguments.
Finally, if Council is looking for an “easy win” to get things started, we suggest eliminating some of the exceptions to the growth management system that have distorted our planning process.