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Sunday September 26th 2021

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Top III 4 III — What are your top 3 ideas for the Planning Reserve?


Recent proposals, initiated by private developers, are under consideration for the long-held sacred Area III Planning Reserve bounded by rural North Boulder.  According to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, the Area III-Planning Reserve is intended for uses which are a priority need within the community and cannot be provided elsewhere within the Service Area.

The City of Boulder and the County of Boulder agreed to a process at the conclusion of the Area III Planning Project in 1993 to ensure that decisions about changes to the Service Area are based on Comprehensive Plan policies and city and/or county-initiated changes, rather than being “incremental, reactive, and applicant-driven.” This process recommended instead that the community of Boulder give thoughtful consideration to the best uses of the Planning Reserve for the community as a whole.

Now, the Boulder City Council, Planning Board and citizens alike are faced with two owner initiated proposals for development in the area, one for a large training complex for extreme athletes and another for an “agri-burbia” development combining housing and small-scale farming.  Both proposals got me thinking… “What does Boulder really need in this part of town?” They got me wondering, “what does the average Boulder citizen think we should do with the Planning Reserve”?  So, I’m asking YOU! What awesome ideas do you have for this site?  To get you started, please consider my top III.

I. Nothin’ –  Seriously, until that one, completely awesome, hit-you-upside-the-head obvious idea for the site that’s just plain good for everyone comes along, I can’t think of anything better to do with the site than just leave it the hell alone.  I love the rural-scape as you get to the northern edge of Boulder, and I’m sure the birds and bees do, too.

II. Renewable Energy Farm – OK, I really have no idea whether the site is appropriate for this kind of thing, but if we’re really going to meet our climate change goals we REALLY need to get serious about changing the way we produce all of this electricity we use.  How about a big solar array out there that would power city buildings?  It would be totally quiet, have minimal impact on the wildlife, and would have little or no traffic impact.

III. Family Housing – I love living in a real town, full of all kinds of families from all walks of life.  As a town, we need to get serious about providing family housing for the low-moderate income members of our community, many of whom provide critical services like teaching, protection and health care.  I’m not sure if Area III is a viable location in terms of public transportation and the cost of providing infrastructure…but at least this idea is more in alignment with the kind of thing on which I would spend my last “golden ticket.”

OK, YOUR TURN –  Seriously, just take a minute, give it some thought, and respond with your “Top III  4  III” by selecting Leave a Reply at the bottom of this editorial. If enough of you respond, we’ll make it into a poll.  If enough of you vote, who knows?  Somebody might actually listen…

p.s.  As with all good brainstorming, there are no bad ideas.  So don’t waste your breath telling me why my ideas won’t work.  Instead, put that energy behind coming up with some unique ideas of your own, or adding support for the great ideas you see from others.

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4 Responses to “Top III 4 III — What are your top 3 ideas for the Planning Reserve?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jill Grano, Slices of Boulder. Slices of Boulder said: Top III 4 III — What are your top 3 ideas for the Planning Reserve? […]

  2. Seth Brigham says:

    I like the first two, but, wonder if the Affordable housing idea might be abused by developers and speculators who buy out of building “affordable.”

    How about agriculture? More community farming…

    Plant more trees and make it into a wonderland for casual walking on the northern fringe, while you wait for your vegetables and such to prosper!

  3. KrisKorba says:

    Why must it be developed?

    If it is to be developed, the program must have multiple integrated uses so that the site will not become a victim of any one entities possible down fall in the future. Integration into the community is a necessity.

    The idea of a permaculture farm is very entertaining, a place that can teach the youth how everything interacts in the living environment as well as provide organic and naturally produced items. Summer camps? Classes? volunteer opportunities?

  4. Albert Bartlett says:

    Dear Susan,

    Thanks for your article in The Blue Line on the north Boulder Planning Reserve.

    I could imagine using a small portion of this for low-cost housing.

    I am strongly opposed to the big box development of athletic centers, hotels and recreation facilities.  This is just a proposal to make money for an investor at the expense of the community as a whole.

    If the community should go for the recreation facility we should insist that the agreements with the City include a provision that the ownership of the land and facilities will NEVER be transferred to a charitable organization that is exempt from paying taxes.

    Thanks and best wishes,
    Albert A. Bartlett

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