Letters of Support for “Sustainable Urban Village” Scenario
Boulder Chamber of Commerce
May 16, 2019
Dear Mayor Jones and members of the Boulder City Council,
The Boulder Chamber advocates for the Alpine-Balsam site to be leveraged for mixed-use residential and commercial development. The site provides unique potential for the City to strategically advance its affordable housing goals and support small businesses and nonprofit organizations that are faced with increasing financial pressures due to low commercial inventory. The diversity of housing options and affordable commercial spaces must be explicitly authorized, and the City’s direction should address impediments to achieving this goal.
We support the City staff recommendations that include incorporating affordable housing and other challenging types of housing needs and analyzing the highest and best land use/zoning with the goal of increasing the development potential of the property.
This direction would provide important support for members of our economically diverse workforce. Our young professionals need housing options that align with early-career salaries. And we want a community that includes our police officers, firefighters and the teachers that educate our children. Providing higher-density, multi-family housing inventory will ensure that the individuals who help create the fabric of our community will have a place to sleep, nearby, when their workday ends.
The City of Boulder recently adopted a 15% affordable housing goal, an increase from its current 7% inventory. Important advancement toward this goal could be achieved at the Alpine-Balsam site through mixed-use, higher-density development. We also advocate for complementary policies and incentives that could increase housing inventory and decrease expenses, including density adjustments, fee exemptions and accelerated review timelines.
The Alpine-Balsam site provides the City of Boulder with a critical opportunity to support our community. It is imperative that that we incentivize and facilitate development that providesaffordable housing choices for Boulder’s workforce, and commercial options attainable for the fledgling startups and creative sector that makes our community so special.
John Tayer President and CEO
WE BUILD COMMUNITY THROUGH BUSINESS303.442.1044 l 2440 Pearl St. Boulder, CO 80302 l boulderchamber.com
Boulder Housing Coalition
Dear Boulder City Council,
As you probably know my job is to provide affordable housing for Boulder residents.
I was working with a single dad who lives in Masala co-op in the same room with his two children. He let me know that he could not afford bicycles for the kids and we used some of our TDM budget to help him get bikes at Community Cycles. There is a different story like this each week for us and for folks throughout the city struggling to afford housing and basic needs. The cost of the bikes is the cost of a fun evening on Pearl street for many of Boulder's more affluent residents. This kind of income disparity exits in our city, our county and in our world and its increasing each year. I bring this up because I see it as our duty to try and help as best we can to address these inequalities and Alpine-Balsam is a unique opportunity for the City of Boulder to help with this issue of affordability.
Having read through the packet for tonight I saw the staff's well prepared letter options not as separate lanes but as idea's with which we can create a vibrant, affordable, sustainable development in our cities core. If we do need to exit lets create a plan that does the following:
Provide and retain 100,000sf of office space so the City can relocate offices from the high hazard flood plain to a viable central location.Do not deconstruct the hospital and save the 16 million bucks.Rezone the site for mixed use to include affordable housing to middle and low income folks and include density bonuses for private developers to far exceed the 20% affordability requirements. Allow BHP and other non-profits to develop affordable housing on the site.Rezoning away from public use will make the land much more valuable and help recoup the large public investment the City of Boulder has already made on the site. In addition, it will help to address our affordable housing need by providing housing in our core and help to address the 50,000+ daily in-commuters to our city so sustainability will be enhanced as well. Allow Co-ops and Co-housing as part of the rezone just as we had at 30th and Pearl.Sell the parcels but be sure to include a mix of for profit and non-profit developers.
The City was very wise to secure that land and my hope is that we can create a beautiful, affordable, community enhancing space at Alpine-Balsam.