CU South – $22million for berm?

Sean KendallDevelopment, Environment


Boulder is moving forward with annexing the CU South property.  This will require a change in land use designation from Open Space to Public in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan.  Ben Binder writes in the Boulder Daily Camera that the old gravel pits rather than building a berm is the best solution.

“Because CU told the city that it did not want to use this portion of its property for detention, this concept was never studied. Instead the city is looking at a $22 million Rube Goldberg 30-foot high-hazard dam along U.S. 36.

“Before making any land-use changes to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, the city should take a serious look at using the depleted gravel pits as a less-expensive, safer, and more environmentally sound solution to the flooding problems in south Boulder.

Plan Boulder County had previously commented to council that:

Proposed PBC Position:

1. It is inappropriate to move toward annexation at this point, or to come up with revised land-use designations, when CU states that it has not determined its planned use of the property. Boulder’s only opportunity to enforce land-use decisions is in an annexation agreement, and there should be a robust public process when CU determines its intended uses. If CU feels a strong need for limited utilities in the interim to support athletic facilities, these could be provided through a special IGA for that purpose; or CU could simply agree to abide by city land-use rules and procedures. Shortcutting a site review is unacceptable.

2. Flood mitigation measures should take priority and be accomplished as quickly as feasible, but only when the evaluation has been done properly.

3. The flood mitigation Alternative D, which has been adopted by Council has serious potential engineering issues, and a possible alternative using the old gravel pit as a retention area was not considered by the city, even though it could be built more quickly and much more cheaply.

4. CU has as much responsibility for flood mitigation as the city. It is a public entity, and arguably is responsible for much of the current hazard due to its reinforcement of the berm built by the gravel company under a temporary permit.

5. No recreational access from the CU South property to adjoining open space should be planned without going through the standard OSMP public processes. There are significant resource issues associated with such access.