Despite concerns from the community about flood concerns, the city of Boulder seems to be moving forward with annexation of the CU South property as described in the article published Jan. 27. With no publicly available master plan for CU’s intended development, it is unacceptable to move forward with annexation. Building in a flood plain with several known aquifers as well as endangered and threatened species is not a sustainable or wise choice for CU or the city. One of many concerns local residents have about annexation is that this property suffers from poor access and currently has only one access point: a congested area at the intersection of U.S. 36 and Table Mesa.
CU-South is comprised of the old Flatiron gravel pits in the historic South Boulder Creek streambed at the foot of a steep 136 square-mile Front Range drainage basin.
Floods were once considered unforeseeable acts of God, and universities wisely built facilities on hills. But at CU-South, the University of Colorado is placing its faith in computer simulations of 100-year floods and a dicey 6,000 foot earthen levee.
While floodplains and riparian areas are poor choices for development, they provide excellent habitat for plants and wildlife, and natural detention for floodwaters. The city and county of Boulder have both recognized that floodplains and open space go hand-in-hand, and for that reason, 220 acres of the CU-South property is designated as open space in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP).
In his Feb. 20 column in the Daily Camera, “Full annexation makes sense at CU South,” Jim Martin, former University of Colorado regent, argues that annexation of the CU South property would be beneficial for all stakeholders, including the city, the county, local residents and the university. I respectfully disagree.
Mr. Martin writes that the city would benefit from full annexation because it could then work with CU to provide badly needed flood mitigation for downstream residents. Implicit in this idea is that the university bears no responsibility for flood mitigation on its own property and that the moral and financial burden for such should fall entirely upon the city and its taxpayers. What’s more, CU appears to be using the city and county’s rightful desire to protect their citizens from catastrophic flooding as leverage in its quest to eventually develop the land. This prioritizing of CU’s interests over the well-being of nearby residents is not new.