Boulder, Do Your Actions Support Your Community Values?


One of the things that makes Boulder such a great place to live is the progressive and community-minded residents that live here.

Your concern and support of smart, environmentally friendly growth and housing were evident when two-thirds of respondents to a recent Boulder survey on planning issues named housing as one of the top three issues most in need of more attention.

And there is good reason for this concern as outlined recently in a great overview on the issue and the impact to our community in BizWest.

“This year, the median home price surpassed $800,000 and the average price for homes sold in 2016 is around $722,000. At these market rates, housing in Boulder has become virtually unattainable to most working professionals.”

The lack of affordable housing for middle-income Boulder workforce and families is a serious threat to Boulder’s economy.

Housing diversity. Boulder residents say they value it. City officials say they support it. And business leaders say it is essential. So, why is it so hard to achieve?

City Councilwoman Jan Burton outlined the issue in this way:

“In the survey for the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, the community shouted out clearly that our highest value is diversity of housing types and price ranges. But, does our community really support this? Every time Boulder tries to pass or change an ordinance to broaden our zoning or increase housing density, we get push-back from neighborhoods. The objection is that these types of housing (co-ops, affordable housing, etc.) belong in medium- and high-density neighborhoods, not in low-density neighborhoods. That sounds like a reasonable approach, but where is all of this medium- and high-density? As I look at the zoning map for Boulder, I see mainly the bright yellow of single-family detached zones.”

Residents have a right to be concerned and involved whenever new housing is proposed in their neighborhood and neighbors need to be informed. We need to achieve the community’s greater goals in a responsible and well thought-out manner.

The Iris&B planning process has been inclusive and responsive to city and neighborhood concerns.

100% of the new Iris&B units will be affordable to Boulder’s middle-income workforce. Additionally, as a transit-oriented development, Iris&B residents will have Eco passes and easy access to car share and B-Cycle stations right across Broadway, helping to reduce Boulder’s carbon footprint.

New convenience retail amenities such as a coffee shop, not only serve Iris&B residents, but also support the existing surrounding neighborhoods, transforming the area into a walkable “15-minute” neighborhood.

All of this will be achieved with minimal impact to existing neighborhood traffic patterns, generating less traffic than the former use on this site, and with only a 14% increase in land coverage over the current buildings.

You have a chance now to take action and support increasing Boulder’s housing diversity in a responsible manner. Send an email to council@bouldercolorado.gov and copy WalbertS@bouldercolorado.gov and boulderplanningboard@bouldercolorado.gov. Let them know that you support the Iris&B project.

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