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That's what she said

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Council Passes Jefferson Parkway Resolution


photo courtesy COB

UPDATE: Text of the final resolution is posted below.

Will the Jefferson Parkway be built or not?  Does Boulder have any leverage or not?  Is the proposed route of the parkway contaminated with plutonium or not?  The December 21, 2010 Boulder City Council consideration of a resolution to respond to the Jefferson County Commissioners’ offer meandered around these questions, sometimes circling back with different answers.

The rationale for the resolution is that supporting Jefferson County’s contribution of $5M toward the acquisition of Section 16 in exchange for dropping opposition to the Jefferson Parkway helps rein in development along Highway 93, protects Boulder’s other open space investments, ensures a wildlife corridor, and makes sense because the parkway is going to be built and there is little Boulder can do, other than pursue costly and uncertain legal measures.

In many cities, these discussions would have taken place in executive session and the citizens wouldn’t have had the privilege of watching the deliberations.  On the other hand, showing your cards in a public hearing makes negotiating trickier.  Perhaps that explains the fascinating little roller coaster ride experienced by observers of council members (Ageton and Becker were absent) and County Commissioner Will Toor as they grappled with the intent and language of the resolution.

There were assertions that the parkway is a sure bet – the  proponents have DRCOG approval and there is really nothing stopping them. (Darn.)  But the current financing climate is so tight right now that the parkway isn’t going anywhere.  (Yay.)  But then again the Europeans take a longer view on investing and might just go for it. (Darn.)  Either Rocky Flats is contaminated and unfit for any development (Darn?), or it was cleaned up years ago with billions of dollars in federal mitigation funds (Yay?).

We did learn that demanding an EIS as part of the agreement with Jefferson County would constitute opposition to the parkway, so could not be an element of the resolution.  Also, Will Toor told the council that Boulder County, in its parallel resolution, stipulated that the county’s neutral position depended on the parkway relying on private funds only.  Opposition to the parkway could be resumed if the parkway proponents seek public funds.

Ultimately, because the resolution is only a statement of intent to negotiate with Jefferson County and not a binding intergovernmental agreement in itself, council unanimously supported the resolution, with a handful of changes reflecting concerns raised at the meeting.  We will provide the text of the final resolution as an addendum to this article when the resolution becomes available.

Text of the final resolution, provided by the City Clerk’s office.

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