No, Boulder isn’t going to build THAT at Alpine-Balsam

An image being used on to discourage high-density development in the Alpine-Balsam area. “This visualization demonstrates what the City’s highest housing density proposal would look like,” the caption reads.

Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019 (Updated Sunday, Sept. 1)

The image is a pretty standard one, an aerial view of one of Boulder’s better-known buildings: the former Boulder Community Health hospital along Broadway between Alpine and Balsam. The site has been the subject of much interest, agita and fear since the city bought it in 2015 for $40 million, in part to control future redevelopment.

But then, the image changes. Rising from the ground, silently, gray, windowless buildings shoot toward the heavens — four, maybe five stories tall, impenetrable blocks of concrete looming over the landscape. They look most like a prison, or perhaps a warehouse.

The rendering can be found on the website of Think Boulder, a neighborhood group opposed to the city’s plan to rezone the roughly 70-acre area surrounding the hospital as part of an Area Plan implementation process. A static image of the gray monoliths exists, too, on paper flyers distributed throughout the city by Think Boulder, along with a call to action: “Reject this kind of ultra-high density,” it reads, warning of 640 new apartments and five-story buildings. The flyer encourages recipients to sign Think Boulder’s petition, email city council and show up at Tuesday’s public hearing.


A flyer distributed by Think Boulder.

Such formless buildings stand in sharp contrast to the actual types of housing and offices being proposed under the Alpine-Balsam Area Plan being considered for adoption by city council on Oct. 1. The suggested housing for the BCH site includes two- and three-story apartments and townhomes, with four-story apartments or county offices along Alpine — not five, as suggested by the flyer.

Buildings will have “generous” setbacks. Pitched roofs are mentioned no fewer than five times in the draft plan; denser dwellings would be required to have “substantial” and “meaningful” open space, the plan states. A strip of land on the north side of the site along Balsam will be used for flood conveyance and provide “a new naturalized greenway.”

There are no apartments being proposed for construction at Community Plaza or Ideal Market either, a claim that — while rooted in fact — is presented without context. A change in land use is being suggested that would allow mixed-use redevelopment, such as apartments above the shops, if any proposals were to come forward in the future.

But such development is allowed under current land use and zoning, staff, council and the property owner testified Tuesday night. And staff, in notes to council, wrote that both centers are likely candidates for landmark designation to preserve the iconic facades.

“If site review is required for properties with an eligible building(s) in the planning area,” the draft area plan reads, “staff would likely recommend landmark designation applications be submitted as a condition of site review.”

About 800 flyers were distributed throughout the area, said Kathleen Hancock, one of the organizers of Think Boulder; a member used her own money to print them, and volunteers distributed them. Hancock paid for the website hosting herself; it was designed by a volunteer. The only fundraising the group has done was roughly $750 donated by some 100-plus members of the group, “a couple hundred dollars” of which was paid to a volunteer who designed the group’s survey, conducted earlier this summer. The rest went for a color flyer campaign to promote the survey; Boulder Beat has not viewed copies of those materials.

Hancock defended the group’s messaging in an interview following the publication of this article. The gray buildings used in the flyer and website are modeled after the graphics city staff themselves used in very early stages of the planning process, she said. Likewise, all the claims made on or its associated materials represented proposals that “were on the table … at certain points” in the process.

She also defended the website’s “contact” form, which doubled as a petition sign-up form.  The only way to fill out the form and reach group organizers — contact information was not provided  — without signing the petition was to “change” the subject line from the suggested, “I support this petition” to something else reflecting non-support, Hancock said.

Persons who used the form in such a way — for contact, not for petition-signing — were not scrubbed from the list, Hancock confirmed. She claimed only “one person” used the form to express discontent.

I don’t think anybody else, once they saw this was a petition, and that’s what this would be signing,” filled it out, Hancock said.

The form was repurposed from its original use as “a straight-up contact form” for those wishing to become Think Boulder members. Rather than asking to sign the petition, “it said, ‘If you want to join our group, sign here.'” Hancock lacked the technical expertise to create a new contact form created by the web designer, she said. 

“I try to only contact him if I have an urgent issue. I know enough to go in and change wording and add some pictures and update facts. To create a whole new form would be beyond my abilities.”

Also left in the final tally — 1,086 signatures, as of Saturday afternoon — were signees from outside Boulder. According to Hancock, 18 signatories reside outside Boulder:  Denver (2), Englewood (1), Erie (1), Jamestown (1), Longmont (7), Louisville (2), Loveland (1), and Niwot (3).  Out-of-town signatures were broken out by percentage in the report given to city council.

Screen Shot 2019-09-01 at 10.48.51 AM

Though Hancock admitted that the image and claims were “maybe … intending to be provocative,” the sheer number of signatures in a week’s time, plus the results of the 533-person survey Think Boulder conducted, show that community concern over the redevelopment is real and far-reaching. 

“Did some people sign because they were scared of five-story blocks? That certainly is possible, but I would also say they could read directly what we were advocating.”

Such tactics were also necessary, Hancock said, because city staff didn’t provide good information. A “bird’s-eye” 3D image of proposed housing at the hospital site was requested by neighbors but not provided, for instance, leading to the creation of the gray building-GIF.

While staff did a “pretty good job” with the engagement process,  she said, “there were lots of places they could have done better.”

There was no low-density option for residents to vote on, despite that being the overwhelming preference. Staff showed a clear “high-density bias” when presenting neighborhood feedback to council. Neighbors feel their input was not adequately or accurately presented.

“They were not honest brokers,” Hancock said. “We get so much more attention than the city does in part because we hand out flyers, we’re on the ground giving people flyers so we know what’s happening.”

That is reflected in the Think Boulder survey results. The majority of respondents said their main source of information on Alpine-Balsam was neighbors. While this could bolster Hancock’s argument that staff’s efforts were inadequate, it also could help explain the numerous residents who spoke before city council Tuesday and repeated inaccurate claims.

Hancock said she corrects the record online when she sees information that is incorrect or lacking context, such as a popular Next Door post that claims the city is planning to “bulldoze” Ideal Market. (That emanated from from a non-Think Boulder affiliated group, Hancock said.) In another show of good faith, Think Bolder removed the image of the gray, block buildings from its website following the publication of this article, though it was used repeatedly in presentations to council Tuesday.

She thinks the group deserves credit for bringing so many residents into the process through its efforts. Tuesday’s hearing was at capacity; about one-half to two-thirds of public speakers were in opposition to the city’s plans. Hancock put out a meeting reminder Monday afternoon via email, a copy of which was forwarded to Boulder Beat, imploring recipients to sign Think Boulder’s petition and attend Tuesday’s meeting.

“Get two more people to sign by TUESDAY 3:00. Let’s try to beat 1,000. We especially need people outside the Newlands area.
Attend City Council’s Tuesday meeting, TOMORROW. City Council Chambers, 1777 Broadway. We now recommend arriving no later than 5:45 PM. To guarantee a seat, come at 5:00. Speakers should sign up as close to 5:00 as possible. Bring snacks, games, a book. Our event is scheduled for 7:40, beginning with the City’s presentation. We will have signs saying “2-3 Stories + Affordable Housing.”

Brian Dolan, a candidate for Boulder City council, has also served as a leader of Think Boulder. Dolan did not mention the affiliation during an interview for his campaign with Boulder Beat. In response to an emailed followup question about his involvement and some of the claims made by the group, he wrote that “it was not germane” to his candidacy because he is “in the process of stepping down from the group.”

Dolan did not respond to multiple subsequent requests for comment.

In the interview for his city council run, Dolan said neighbors feel their feedback has not been considered in staff’s engagement reports to council. He did not attend every event, but heard from others who did.

“When you talk to someone whose been in every group and has been through that whole engagement process,” Dolan said, “and they saw what people said, and they saw what came out on the other side” it doesn’t match.

The report to council from staff is that the community has mixed feelings about density and development in the Alpine-Balsam area, Boulder’s engagement manager Sarah Huntley said. That reflects the wide variety of opinions shared throughout the four years of public engagement on the issue, which started with the Vision Plan (a step that precedes an area plan) and drew 600 participants. The Area Plan engagement has included 20 kickoff events and small workshops, four open houses, two walking tours, online surveys and hundreds of written comments.

“We’ve gone out, we’ve talked to a lot of people, we’ve tried really hard to engage a broad (segment) of the community,” Huntley said. “Of course neighbors are part of that.” But the city also has to consider “who are the people who might want to be part of that community who are not currently there.

There’s a reason Think Boulder isn’t seeing the option it wants — retention of current land use and zoning, preserving low density — among the public engagement options: City council nixed that in early June, arguing that more housing is needed in the area.

Huntley contends that neighborhood concern has also resulted in a “scaling back” of “some of the original talk of how dense this area would be.”

She also spoke to requests for a statistically valid survey, which Dolan and others have advocated for. Their pleas reached city council members: Mirabai Nagle, who lauded the number of signatures Think Boulder’s petition was able to get in contrast with the 100 responses to an online Be Heard Boulder Survey.

A statistically valid survey was never part of the engagement plan, Huntley said. “It’s not very cost effective to do a statistically valid survey for every decision we’re going to make.”

They cost, on average, $17,000 to $24,000 for single-topic questionnaires. More complex issues demand higher prices: The biannual community survey, for instance, was commissioned for $40,000, according to Huntley.

In all, community engagement for Alpine-Balsam cost $46,000, according to city spokeswoman Meghan Wilson, not including staff time. “This includes contractor support, venue charges, miscellaneous supplies for engagement events.” Roughly 950 people participated, according to a summary of efforts. (That count does not estimate the number of unique engagements.)

“One of the benefits of doing community engagement that’s not a survey is you can provide a lot more education and context,” Huntley said. “You’re bringing those of different viewpoints into a room; they have to listen to one another. Just doing a phone survey or paper survey doesn’t have that added benefit.”

Aside from ballot initiatives, it’s unlikely council would rely on a single statistically valid survey to make decisions, Huntley said. That’s why the engagement process uses a variety of means and methods to garner feedback.

“Different people with different perspectives are going to plug in to different techniques and tactics,” she said. “I would never recommend (using) one technique, even a statistically valid one. We’d never pretend a dot-voting exercise or BeHeard (questionnaire) is the be-all, end-all decision maker. It’s simply one way of hearing people’s fears and concerns and hopes.

“If you have a small percentage (of people) who want one thing over the other, it’s still council’s responsibility to make decision for the community as a whole.”

While it’s technically true that proposed land use changes in the 70-acre Alpine-Balsam area could result in up to 640 new units, as Think Boulder’s flyer claims, that would be the possible maximum redevelopment potential over time, if every existing lot was redeveloped.

The number is “very, very assumption based — and they are very broad assumptions,” said senior planner Jean Gatza, and will be further revised over time. Already, she said, they have been revised downward.

Gatza on Tuesday night, in response to a council question, explained how area plans are still guiding redevelopment in areas. North Boulder’s plan, adopted 20 years ago, is still not fully built out. Ditto for Boulder Junction (then called Transit Village) adopted in 2007. Further, as part of the area plan process, council can choose to implement a timeline for desired development.

There’s a ton of misinformation out there,” Gatza said, “that I have to say is weighing heavily” on staff.

Today, there are roughly 400 housing units and a population of 812 people in the Alpine-Balsam planning area, a geographic area that runs along Broadway from roughly Balsam Avenue to North Street and 9th to 13th Streets east-west. Residential densities range from very low (1-6 dwelling units per acre) to very high (79 dwelling units per acre).

The area used to be zoned for higher density, but zoning was changed in the ’90s to accommodate commercial development. There are roughly 2,000 jobs in the area today; 62% of total developed square footage is non-residential, while 38% is residential.

“In 1997, the underlying zoning district in the southwest corner of the planning area was changed from High Density Residential (HZE) to Mixed Density Residential (MXR-E), or the precursor to today’s Residential Mixed-Use (RMX-1) zoning district to align with the comprehensive plan’s land use designation. The results of the zone change can be seen in the office and retail presence in the area. An unintended consequence of the change is having rendered several existing multifamily apartment complexes and condominium buildings nonconforming as to dwelling units per acre. Given that these properties are now nonconforming as to dwelling units per acre, the structures cannot be rebuilt to the same density. Overtime, as people seek to invest in maintenance and upgrade structures, it may be more difficult to maintain the current number of units, which in turn may affect housing affordability.”

Source: Alpine-Balsam existing conditions report

But the planning area is also surrounded by hundreds of single-family homes, from whence comes the majority of opposition to increased density, traffic and parking. Think Boulder claims around these issues hew more closely to the truth but still leave out crucial context.

The city does plan to use parking minimums that are lower than current city averages: .8 to .9 spaces per housing unit, compared to the citywide average of 1.2 spaces per unit. (Boulder Junction and downtown average 1 space per housing unit.) But the new standards are in line with the Transportation Master Plan goals for encouraging alternative transportation and reducing parking and car travel in order to meet climate goals.

A traffic study has found that, on the BCH site, daily vehicle trips under the proposed land use changes will be less than half what the hospital generated during its heyday. Estimated traffic counts are actually lower the more housing that is included: city and county offices will bring more cars to the area, a traffic impact study found.

Option 1A (Max. Office) 2,904 daily weekday trips; 324 morning rush hour trips; 330 evening rush hour trips
Option 1B (Max. Residential) 2,580 daily weekday trips; 252 morning rush hour trips; 279 evening rush hour trips
Option 2A (Max. Office + Area Development) 4,780 daily weekday trips; 455 morning rush hour trips; 494 evening rush hour trips
Option 2B (Max. Residential + Area Development) 4,456 daily weekday trips; 383 morning rush hour trips; 443 evening rush hour trips
“For comparison, it is estimated that the historic hospital site use generated significantly more traffic (approx. 8,500 vehicle trips per day) than any of the land uses anticipated on the Alpine Balsam site and in the surrounding area plan area.”

But the changes will increase traffic at two key intersections, the report found: Alpine and 9th and Broadway and Balsam. Already, neighbors complain of the long lines of traffic there in the evenings. Staff is recommending adding and extending turn lanes to accommodate the increased vehicles.

Council also debated Wednesday the possible inclusion of Boulder County offices at the BCH site. The county needs at least 120,000 square feet of space to relocate its staff from Broadway and Iris. Accommodating them will result in a loss of 90 housing units; the county has offered land at Broadway and Iris for additional housing. Between 50 and 240 units could be built there without disrupting the ballfields, an analysis found.

One council member, Bob Yates, has yet to be convinced that it makes sense for city offices to go there, though that has been one of the stated purposes for buying the hospital property. The city needs to relocate staff from at least two buildings in the high hazard flood zone and would like to consolidate one other building that Boulder pays roughly $1 million per year to lease.

Staff has argued that renovation of an existing building on the campus — for a hefty $58 million — would pay for itself in 40-50 years. Yates has requested additional information for a fuller look at the project’s financials.

Yates on Tuesday also addressed some of the claims being made by Think Boulder. In response to a publicly available email sent by Boulder Beat to members of council including some of the group’s materials, Yates wrote that he sent “more than 300 separate emails to residents on Sunday (it took me nine hours) and probably a 100 more between yesterday and so far today.”

“Folks seem to be appreciative of receiving the facts,” he wrote. “So far, no one has argued with me, especially when they see the actual staff plan.”

But the councilman said he likely wouldn’t reference the misinformation directly from the dais, referring to the campaign as “rumors.”

“It makes me a bit uncomfortable to argue with or admonish someone from the dais because of the very apparent and real power imbalance,” Yates wrote. “Folks have a first amendment right to say what they want, even if it’s not true. I feel that my job is to provide them with the facts and tell them what I think. I don’t think that extends to telling them that they’re wrong.”

Some council members — notably Sam Weaver and Mayor Suzanne Jones — took pains to clarify the facts on Tuesday for the audience, including the planning timeline, number of units and proposed heights. But no council members critiqued the claims being made; indeed, some praised Think Boulder’s efforts.

Cindy Carlisle, who did not attend the meeting, in an email wrote that she supported forming a working group to ensure a “full-on” public engagement process.

“In just these few short months, groups like Think Boulder have created great citywide interest and it seems now is the time to listen to all the voices from them, Save Boulder, and others who have different/similar views,” Carlisle wrote. “I stand with those community members who ask us to pause, listen, and engage in a meaningful public process for the outcome of the area.”

Councilman Aaron Brockett, from the dais, thanked Hancock for Think Boulder’s “thoughtful engagement.”

In a follow-up exchange on Twitter, after viewing copies of the flyers distributed by Think Boulder and image posted on its website — both of which had been emailed to council earlier in the day, but Brockett said he had not seen, though the image of the gray buildings was used frequently in speaker presentations Tuesday night — Brockett backed off his position.

“That image definitely doesn’t represent the area plan we’re considering,” he wrote, “and doesn’t constitute constructive engagement in my opinion.”

Author’s note: This article has been updated with comments from Kathleen Hancock, from Tuesday’s meeting and to reflect the fact that, under current zoning, housing could be built at the Ideal Market and Community Plaza shopping centers.

— Shay Castle,, @shayshinecastle
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25 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I disagree heartily with your sentiments.
    Particularly in reference to the non-conforming higher density buildings in the now RMX -1 at the SW aspect of the Area Plan that are out of conformity because it was rezoned from HZE to MXR-E (precursor to current day RMX-1) in 1997. You say folks would not upgrade as a result and that would affect affordability, since they would have to be eventually rebuilt at the legal density. How do you think that legal density came about? YOU YOURSELF described it was from the BVCP! Look at EastPointe and it’s conversion to Parc Mosaic. HOW DID THAT AFFECT AFFORDABILITY???????

    • Hi, Lynn. Thanks for your comment. I just want to clarify these aren’t MY sentiments. They are taken from the city documents, so they are STAFF’S sentiments. I’m just a reporter, reporting.

  2. Density and mixed-use infill projects are critical must-haves for a sustainable future Boulder. Period. Affordability is in that mix too, but should play second fiddle to the logic of the density/transit combination that will reduce our collective carbon footprints. CC should heed all parties, and listen well, but the right and true answers are pretty obvious. It is not really funny nor enjoyable anymore to hear the same boogieman arguments over and over and over (greedy developers, becoming New York City, etc) as certain segments of town play the outrage card. Sleepy small Boulder is gone, folks, and has been for a while now. Let’s focus our energy on making the best city we can for the 21st century.

  3. Hi, Shay. Glad we could start a conversation yesterday. I tried to reach you today to finish our discussion, but have not yet heard back.

    RE our credibility and whether we are a “disruptive” force, I think it speaks volumes that Council has repeatedly thanked up in emails and now from the dais for our engagement with the community. In fact, under the direction of Council members Weaver and Yates, City staff have requested a meeting with us to see if we can bridge the gap between their proposal and ours.

    I look forward to giving you more information about ThinkBoulder. a group of residents concerned about over-development. We do not have any regular funding. One time, we raised money from our members to pay for flyers. The website was a one-time fee ($140) that I covered myself. Someone else donated her time to create the survey. Someone else donated his time to professionalize the website; I maintain the website. You are right that it needs updating, but we were all working overtime to create the petition and then get signatures by handing out fliers and contacting friends and neighbors, entering over 1,000 addresses into a database, coding them by neighborhoods, etc. It might seem like we are a well-financed organization, but all that you see comes from hard work by volunteers carving out time from our busy professional, family, and personal lives. Happy to share more when we talk.

  4. I must admit that I’m astonished about the very public condemnation of ThinkBoulder, as exemplified in the Boulder Beat. I guess there is a great deal of money at stake, and although over half of Boulder developers are from out-of-state, they are out in full force now. The developer lobby is powerful and has gone after this small, neighborhood group with impressively inaccurate trash talk. Even worse, the Boulder Beat retells the story from a severely skewed, inaccurate point of view. For the most part, the “city staff/developer” point of view is discussed in the article. Extremely disappointed with the Boulder Beat’s coverage. This is not objective reporting. At minimum, ThinkBoulder should be allowed to respond here to your suppositions.

  5. ThinkBoulder and PLAN and CC are simpatico, so no surprise thankful emails flow out as TB provides CC cover for their votes. Resistance to density is hurting our city, hurting the people who work here, and hastening the ruinous sprawl all around us. ThinkBoulder et al should think hard about why they oppose density at Alpine Balsam, and consider if their reasoning can truly withstand the harsh light of reality we are up against with climate change. Infill development and density are, in fact, the ONLY types of development that can even happen in a completely built-out city like Boulder. There are no virgin lots in the city. So, resistance to “density” is resistance to anything and everything. Wake up everyone, and see the most conservative citizenry in the State of Colorado when it comes to the built environment. TB/CC/PLAN will increase all of our property values ad infinitum at the expense of the generations to come, who will be offered subsidized CoB worker housing in the armpits of the Diagonal Highway, industrial zones east of Foothills and in the L towns. Gates are closed, go home. If this sounds harsh, you aren’t paying attention to the discussions and plans proposed by these folks.

    • Nick, I’m trying to think of ways you can support those claims with facts. It’s tricky, bc you didn’t say “This group is X,Y,Z” but if you could find some supporting sources, documents for your claim about inflating home prices and subsidized workers, that would be great. It’s the standard I’m trying to hold everyone to on this site. News articles will suffice; you can offer explanation along with it. I just need you to connect the dots rather than making claims. Thank you.

  6. Just delete the comment, then, please. These facts are in the air to see, read, discern. Love to see some ‘facts’ proving all developers are greedy, that Boulder is becoming NYC, and that views are being impeded as well. I respond in places like this because folks need to hear opposing viewpoints, not the echo chamber of support that the 3 groups of note offer eachother.

    • Hi, Nick. Please don’t get salty with me. I HAVE enforced this rule when ppl make claims about developers. (See my story on the Raucous Caucus) I’m trying to be fair here. This is not a “both sides are given equal weight” thing. This is is my rule thing that you should at least be able to explain how you arrived at your conclusion. Again, see Raucous Caucus story for example. I appreciate your support and comments (but maybe not your attitude this time). I’m working hard to foster good dialogue, and that means asking ppl to support WHY they believe things. Opinions are like assholes: Often full of shit. I’m trying to move ppl away from the belief that their opinions deserve equal weight with informed opinions. And, this isn’t even that big an ask. It’s easy to find articles to explain how you arrived at your conclusion.


  7. Thanks Shay. No intent toward snark or salt, and I don’t see it in my comments. The rebuttal was in the spirit of the general dialogue published daily (DC), not a complaint against your policy, per se. That said, I’m not going to research links and such, the PLAN website has all that is needed to support my commentary. Most LTEs and OpEds don’t have David Foster Wallace level footnotes, just sayin’. I was also serious about deleting my comments. Every time I engage it turns into a shit show, and I’m reminded to shut up and stay in my lane. It is the same reason I admire anyone who steps into the shit that is CoB politics these days. Cheers.

  8. Ok, Shay – I’ll bite. Here’s some reading, non-partisan research that frames the problem quite well:

    [And as a bonus – who doesn’t love Richard Florida? That name alone! And I’ve seen both sides of these issues (all sides?) reference him and his work in their arguments over time, locally.]

    It lays out the “Land Use Trilemma” as to how cities may or may not change in the US as based on past growth analysis. Here is how I interpret this trilemma locally, in Boulder:
    1. “Don’t Expand, Don’t Densify” : Therefore, we sacrifice affordability and social character. This is the PLAN model that has been followed for decades now, and I think it is a very accurate description of where we are now. Greenspace, locked city borders, height caps, low affordability, etc. The general feel I get from the folks who support this is that we can imagine and build a city department or program that alleviates the affordability / social character issues – a housing department, an outreach staff member. I have grave concerns that government programs such as these ever live up to their promise, AND the income sources to provide them perversely impact the people they are intended to serve.
    2. “Expand” : Pricing for housing would fall as we build outward, the existing neighborhoods would remain “protected” as is, yet sprawl would increase.
    3. “Don’t Expand, Densify”: With this option we avoid sprawl and preserve affordability and social character, and sacrifice the current physical state of the city. This is the most equitable option to the most peopled, IMHO. This is the option I personally am advocating in favor of, and – IMHO, Shay – it feels like there are other groups who fell the same way. This is also the option city staff seems to be psuhing for as directed by the Comp Plan.

    So, I would ask ALL groups and all CC candidates – Which of the Trilemma options do you support? We as a city can’t have it all, and maybe we should be talking about which sacrifices we should make (or are we asking those outside our borders to make the sacrifices for us?)?


    • Nick, thanks for hanging in there and explaining yourself. I applaud your patience and your dedication. I know it’s frustrating/scary to put yourself out there (believe me, I’ve been insulted enough for 5 lifetimes), but I really encourage you to keep at it. That’s why I’m trying to enforce this “explain yourself with sources” rule, bc it doesn’t just allow claim-throwing (my punny take on flame-throwing, thank you very much). Journalism is like democracy: It works best when people participate. Thank you for explaining yourself. I think once you get used to it, it can be done more easily and succinctly in the future, so it won’t be this huge back and forth and I’m not taking up so much of your time. But thank you, thank you, for engaging in the discourse and providing the supplemental source.

  9. Shay and all participants, this is a super valuable exchange. I really like the moderation, SO helpful! I wish that existed on Next Door! Thank you all.

    I personally (speaking as a 32 year BCH neighbor-who was also born there-AND as a co-founder of Goose Creek Community Land Trust, a mixed-income permanently attainable housing advocate and developer which has sought public acquisition and a high community benefit redevelopment-possibly with a role for our organization-of the site since 2015) have learned a lot from sitting down with Kathleen Hancock and another Think Boulder participant Jorge Boone (several times). There are many values in common within “pro” and “anti” housing advocates.

    And this kind of exchange also helps understand where people are coming from.

    That then helps consider how to evolve approaches to the site’s redevelopment that respond to the varied interests of ALL folks around the area and the City as a whole (Think Boulder’s advocacy of very low density at the AB site does not represent all neighbors by any means AND the usually unappealing and unhealthy nature of post War car dependent development common sadly now worldwide generate valid concerns about noise, pollution, congestion, emissions etc of any development) and perhaps find areas to cooperate (like a parking district preventing overflow parking into the neighborhood and low traffic-generating uses like housing served primarily by car share and other alternative modes and resisting County offices) while recognizing continuing areas of disagreement.

    I hope all will consider supporting your Boulder coverage.
    I would also like to suggest that everyone an any side in this debate about the value of creating walkable compact centers (as we are trying to do at AB) would enjoy getting Doug Farr’s book Sustainable Nation ( which explains very well the significant benefits to everyone of this urban pattern, the nature of change and how to accelerate such beneficial changes as required by our twin local and global emergencies of environmental collapse and economic inequality.

  10. Interestingly, A/B is being remarked upon in the Xcel-Boulder “settlement” (Aug 2020) if you can call it that. The “settlement” includes Chautauqua and A/B with reference to trans-active energy and micro-grid distributive modernization that Xcel could somehow (indiscretely) “help” Boulder with in a pilot project we would have to pay for anyway. So we are being asked to prostitute ourselves as a demonstration project to benefit other energy consumers under the control of a investor owned corporate utility who is making $20 M a year profit on us as we remain in Xcel, even while out of franchise. And we should join up for an unethical bribe of $1M per year under-grounding (that we already paid for in our rates and they deny us in service while out of franchise). And I hear there’s a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

    Just reminds me of the A/B project and the intersection of one kind of growth, “Xcel, “with another, “density” growth for the sake of growth. No wonder Bob Yates, a density proponent is so opposed to Boulder power autonomy. But then his cronies from Zayo who bought Level 3 where he worked are those with the most to lose from the fibre autonomy which will parallel energy autonomy. “Opportunities” like A/B is a dense development, which the gray box characterizations represent not in beauty but reality. They are precisely what funds it all.

    Take that David Adamson.

    Reference Shay? the approval of Oliv on Canyon at Liquor Mart last week for another 3rd story give away on a 2 story by-right. Now that’s beautiful, but the 20 affordable units that will be built in Kansas since they couldn’t fit them on site due to the parking garage are not beautiful. This occurred after the 3rd story give-away with the car elevator for uber condos at 1729 Pearl last mo. The density proponents are laughing all the way to the bank.

    Snap out of it. It’s the virus, stupid.

    • Factual correction to the above: Level 3 was purchased by Century Link in 2017; Zayo went from a public to private company in 2020 as part of an acquisition by EQT and Digital Colony. – Shay Castle

  11. I stand corrected. Bob Yates and Dan Caruso were at Level 3. Less than about 10 yrs ago a bunch of them including these two left. Dan started Zayo Group and Bob retired. There was some troubles at Zayo about a year or 2 ago, just from my memory. Maybe that was part of their being acquired.

    Thanks for the research Shay.

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