Read this coverage of Save SOBO's efforts and concerned and our involvement since 2017: https://news.kgnu.org/2020/10/cu-south-annexation-ramps-up-with-application-to-city-of-boulder/
On October 5, 2020, The University of Colorado sent to the City Council and City Staff their final terms for annexation of the CU-South property to the City. Find it in the first paragraph on the City's website, at the project page https://bouldercolorado.gov/flood/cu-south
Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Save South Boulder Supporters,
We’ve been remiss with our updates lately, but as you many of you already know, we had an incredibly busy summer!!
The headline is that CU will send terms of agreement for annexation to the City on Monday, Oct. 5th. It is supposed to be on the City’s website shortly thereafter. Today, we got news from the senior planner stating that Council will not discuss the terms until mid-November. That means we have to keep the pressure on.
Save South Boulder has now teamed up with PLAN-Boulder, which has worked to protect our beautiful city and beloved open space from ill-conceived development for 40 years. Our collaboration has already given our campaign big boost just when we needed it.
CHARTER AMENDMENT PETITION FAILS
We spent July and August working with PLAN Boulder to get a charter amendment on the 2020 ballot. The “Citizens Conditions for Annexation of CU South,” would have put sensible limits on development of the South Boulder Creek floodplain (a.k.a. CU South) and flood protection for more residents.
Despite being stymied by the city attorney’s failure to fully comprehend elections laws and with only nine days, instead of 90, to collect signatures, our valiant volunteers collected more than 1,400 signatures. Just imagine what we could have achieved had not mistakes been made by the city. Kudos to everyone who volunteered!
THE RUSH TO ANNEXATION
On October 5th, CU will deliver its terms for annexation to Council and city staff. The terms will be available to the public on the city’s website. Led by Mayor Sam Weaver and Mayor Pro-Tem Bob Yates, the city can hardly wait to annex and intends to do so before Christmas. This is very concerning as the city has not completed any necessary studies to inform decision-making nor has it asked the thousands of south Boulder residents who would be directly and negatively affected what their concerns are about having a massive new campus next door.
Based on its initial petition and subsequent statements, we expect CU to continue to try to offload all flood liability on the city, regardless of what CU does. Because CU has not and will not provide a site plan for development, this would be very risky for our city, and could wind up costing Boulder taxpayers a lot of money.
In addition, CU Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives, Frances Draper said in 2017 that CU would build housing, but later said that the university could not guarantee that any housing would be built, affordable or otherwise.
Annexation on CU’s terms could:
Cost Boulder taxpayers upwards of $50 million in addition to the cost of building the high-hazard dam and floodwall at a cost about $44 million (with a 50 percent margin of error.) Keep in mind that CU will benefit from the flood protection that the City is providing.
In sum, Council seems to have buried its head in the sand about the full costs of annexation.
As part of the annexation process, City Council is legally required to hold one public hearing, which we think is wholly inadequate, especially for an annexation of this size (308 acres), and which will have such huge impacts on the city. We continue to press the city on this point.
YOU can help by contacting Phil Kleisler, (303-441-4497) senior planner, and nicely demanding a presentation for your neighborhood. The city should have done this already but they haven’t which is part of the reason we say they are keeping citizens in the dark.
Save the Date for Oct. 5th when CU releases its terms for annexation. We’ll send out our analysis as soon as we can, and you can read it yourself and decide whether it benefits you, your neighborhood, and the entire city.
If Council approves an annexation agreement that allows CU’s unsustainable development of the historic floodplain, then Save South Boulder and PLAN Boulder will work to get a referendum on the ballot so that residents can vote on the agreement. This will require getting 4,000 signatures from registered voters within 30 days of the decision. Based on the response we got last summer, we believe this is doable.
The Open Space Board of Trustees has sent three memos to Council in the last 18 months asking for information it needs to make its recommendation to Council. OSBT is trying to determine whether and to what extent storing more floodwater upstream might lessen damage to Open Space and wildlife. Whether Council will ask OSBT for a “disposal” is uncertain, but we are monitoring this closely.
The Water Resources Advisory Board recommended flood protection for a 100-year event, not the 500-year event that we advocated. The Planning Board also sent comments to Council, and we expect that it will be involved in annexation discussions.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?
Write a letter to the editor. This is often the most read section of the newspaper so you letter can make a difference. Hey, it’s only 250 words and it’s your opinion, not your dissertation. Want some editorial help and encouragement? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org OR margaret. email@example.com
Continue to send emails to City Council or call Council members and tell them what your concerns are and why you, and the rest of the city, deserve better.
Send $10 or even $100 to Save South Boulder. You can do so through our new GoFundMe account. Go to www.savesouthboulder.com and click on the red banner running across the homepage to access our GoFundMe account. We want to keep our ad campaign going!! If every single member of this listserv donated, we would be well on our way to funding a really effective campaign.
Visit our Facebook page at Save South Boulder to see our first ad, “The Great Wall of Boulder,” which was recently published in the Daily Camera. Our second ad will be published at the end of this week.
Thank you for your support. We can’t do this without you.
Meanwhile, stay safe and wear a mask.
Harlin Savage and Marki LeCompte
Save South Boulder co-leaders
To: Boulder City Council and the Boulder community
From: Petitioners for the “Citizen’s Conditions for the Annexation of CU South”
RE: The City Attorney’s Arbitrary, Capricious, and Unfair Petition Disaster
On June 16, 2020 you voted to ignore years of expert advice and proceed with expensive and inadequate flood mitigation at the property known as CU South. On June 18, 2020 our group of five petitioners (which includes two former city council members) submitted a charter amendment petition titled “Citizen’s Conditions for the Annexation of CU South” to the City Clerk requesting approval as to its form so that we could collect signatures for the 2020 election.
We submitted our petition based on information published in the Colorado Constitution that establishes rules for charter amendment petitions AND based on information published on the City of Boulder’s web site at the time. Both of these sources indicated that the deadline for submitting signatures was Aug. 5, 2020 and we acted in good faith that our request would be honored promptly according to established and published rules. As petitioners we realized that we would not have the full 90 days to collect signatures granted in state statute, but with a ready group of 25 volunteers we were ready to try. Unfortunately, we were never even granted the opportunity to collect signatures.
On June 29 we received a letter from Acting City Clerk Pam Davis that stated:
“Thank you for submitting your charter amendment initiative petition for review. Our comments are as follows:
• Please note that initiatives are limited to legislative matters. Much, if not all, of your proposed amendment is administrative in nature and, therefore, inappropriate for the initiative process.
• The deadline for submitting initiative petitions was June 5.
The petition form is not approved for circulation for the 2020 November ballot. You may submit your initiative for consideration for the 2021 ballot.
We would advise that you seek independent legal advice from an attorney admitted to practice in Colorado and competent to advise on election matters.”
We were taken aback by this letter because we had simply requested that our petition be approved for form, a standard procedure. The response from Ms. Davis not only had a completely different due date than the state constitution and the city’s own web site, but she also chose to comment on the content of our measure and refused to approve it to form. Our responses and questions were answered not by Ms. Davis, but by City Attorney Thomas Carr who it became apparent was actually the one making the decision, not Ms. Davis.
Mr. Carr ultimately explained in an email dated June 30, “The memo on our website is incorrect.” Despite this admitted error and obvious unequal treatment given to other groups actively collecting petitions for charter amendment measures, Mr. Carr refused to change his mind and refused to approve our petition as to form for the 2020 ballot.
Even though the petition process should be easily navigable by competent citizens such as ourselves, we did consult with several attorneys and initially filed an appeal of the City’s decision. We were granted a hearing date of July 15, but we ultimately (and with great regret and consternation) decided to drop the appeal because even if we were to prevail there simply will not be enough time to collect the approximately 9,000 signatures by Aug. 5 as required by state statute for the 2020 election.
The City of Boulder Charter (Section 137 – Amendments) states unequivocally that the charter may be amended based on provisions in the Colorado Constitution. There are no exceptions. The City Attorney has acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner granting some citizens rights to collect signatures under special rules while denying the same privilege to others following the same published rules. He has also violated the City Charter and State Constitution. In doing this the City Attorney has cast great confusion over our election process. His behavior and attitude towards the petitioners (as he was violating our constitutional rights) was condescending and purposefully unkind from the outset and his reading of Colorado Law is a disgrace.
City Attorney Thomas Carr has proven that he cannot be trusted to be a fair and independent arbiter of city election processes. He has produced rules that do not conform to the Colorado Constitution and relevant state statutes, and he has shown favoritism towards certain petitions and groups, approving their petitions as to form and putting them before the city council for ballot consideration. His decisions have been arbitrary, capricious, and blatantly unfair.
To rectify this situation, we respectfully request that Mr. Carr be removed from all duties pertaining to city election matters, effective immediately. He has shown that he cannot be trusted to do his job (or guide others) promptly and fairly. This is a failure of great significance for the citizens of Boulder that impacts our constitutionally guaranteed right to petition the government. We firmly believe that Boulder should no longer accept Mr. Carr’s authority in these matters.
The City of Boulder should follow the Colorado Constitution and relevant state statutes when it comes to charter amendment petitions. We can and must do much better in 2021.
Cynthia A. Carlisle 411 Spruce Street Boulder, CO 80302 firstname.lastname@example.org
Allyn Feinberg 335 17th Street Boulder, CO 80302 email@example.com
Margaret LeCompte 290 Pawnee Drive Boulder, CO firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Mayer 1339 Hawthorn Avenue Boulder, CO 80304 email@example.com
Ann Harlin Savage 1050 Tantra Park Circle Boulder, CO firstname.lastname@example.org