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: email@example.com OR margaret. firstname.lastname@example.org
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