Ruth Wright: CU South: Finding middle ground
With all of the Commentaries, Letters to the Editor and the thoughtful, comprehensive Daily Camera Editorial that have appeared in the Daily Camera recently, there is no need to enumerate all of the the pros and cons again (especially the cons) of the CU annexation proposal of CU South. We once again have a major conflict dividing our community.
However, there may be middle ground in a potential Land Swap: the CU South property (or part thereof), for land in North Boulder (or part thereof) known as the Preserve. It is located along Broadway a few miles north of the main CU campus. It was set aside years ago by visionary City Council Members and County Commissioners for a number of future purposes Perhaps using some of the Preserve now for a North CU Campus is a viable solution. It is close to City services (water, wastewater) accessible to the main campus by bike and bus, and is not in a floodplain.
Unfortunately City/County documents indicate a lengthy process to implement such a swap. However, former City Council members, who remember the transaction, tell me that since the swap would be between two governmental entities, the time to implement may not be inordinately lengthy.
Whether or not the implementation time would be a serious barrier, if a land swap is indeed a solution to a serious conflict dividing our community, perhaps people of good will on both sides of this issue could discuss this swap possibility. As I learned from serving 14 years as a Colorado Legislator, butting heads is nowhere near as worthwhile as thoughtful heads working out an solution — so long as it serves the public good. “Compromise” and “diplomacy” are not dirty words.
So in ending, I appeal to the thoughtful, passionate folks on both sides of this issue, to come together to discuss this option — and more power to you!
Martha H. Jones: Bedrooms Are For People: Caring, but not the answer
Bedrooms Are For People (BAFP) is a caring movement, meant to help housing-poor people. Unfortunately, it has been poorly thought out, which means it would bring terrible consequences for Boulder neighborhoods.
In 1960 we bought our first house in Martin Acres. It was a Melody tri-level with an unfinished basement, about 1,800 square feet. It had three bedrooms and a bath upstairs, a small living/dining area and a kitchen on the next floor, and a family room and half bath on the third, which led out to a single-car garage. Eventually we semi-finished the basement, with a small bedroom and a recreation room, and we added a tiny tub in the half-bath.
In 1970 we moved into a larger home and 15 years or so later, we were bicycling in our old neighborhood and stopped in front of our old home. The street was filled with cars, there was a car in our single-car driveway, and a young man in the yard said his dad had bought the house for him (a CU student), and they’d added rooms to rent out. He offered to show us around; we were horrified by what we saw! The family room had been turned into two small bedrooms and they had made two (or three; we couldn’t remember) tiny bedrooms out of the playroom. None had a wall that really reached the ceiling, no closets and only one-half a window in those bedrooms. They had also put a bedroom in the garage. Altogether, they now had nine or 10 bedrooms — in a 2,000 square-foot house!
He was proud of the work they had done (no building permits!) and said they were making three times what their mortgage cost. This was a three-bedroom home! Very poor lawn care, cars everywhere. Is this what we want for our neighborhoods? I don’t think so!
Please vote “NO” on this issue; they should re-think this and insist on “real” bedrooms to do this, not jerry-built.
Martha H. Jones
Chris Hoffman: CU South: Hometown greenwashing
I never thought I would consider my hometown guilty of greenwashing, but here we are:
At the City’s September “Boulder Forum on Economy Climate and Community,” John Liu spoke about Ecosystem Restoration. Meanwhile the City Council rushed forward to approve a deal with CU that would result in Ecosystem Desecration.
Why pave over one of the few remaining wetlands on the Front Range when other options are available?
Some of the many problems of the proposed development are summarized in Steve Pomerance’s column in the Daily Camera: “Let the citizens vote on CU South.”
Here are some others: Boulder’s objective is to “protect and enhance the biodiversity and productivity of ecological systems.” But the development of CU South would destroy habitat, possibly including critical habitat for federally listed threatened species nearby.
The city says it is “committed to mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Development would do the opposite. It would destroy a wetland. Wetlands sequester a tremendous amount of carbon.
Today I received an email from Boulder City urging me to “build an emergency kit” to prepare for the impacts of climate change. This smells like blaming the victim. How many emergency kits do we need to make to be able to compensate for the addition of 1,100 housing units (with NO net-zero requirements), 750,000 square feet of new classroom-and-office space, and thousands of additional car trips spewing hydrocarbons, all of which would replace the existing carbon-absorbing wetlands?
I also never thought I would consider my hometown guilty of suppressing democracy, but the Council’s rush to avoid a citizen vote on the CU South project says otherwise.
Council: please stop this. Back up and reconsider. The real emergency is the climate emergency, not CU’s need to close a deal. We need to make wise decisions with our remaining open spaces.