By Bryan Bowen and Bill Rigler
Later this month, Boulder City Council will call its annual retreat to determine its political agenda for 2022 – a task made more difficult by the Omicron variant and the Marshall Fire. The Council is expected to address resilience and adaptation to climate change, increasing CO2 emissions, investments in public transport and transport, the twin crisis of housing availability and affordability, and sustaining of our strong economy – and ensuring that the workload does not overwhelm our already overworked municipal staff.
These priorities are embodied in plans that have been formally adopted and have benefited from years of deliberation and public comment. These include the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, the Transportation Master Plan, the Climate Commitment and others, and appropriately guide the work of the Council.
As past Chairs of the Boulder Planning Council and Transportation Advisory Council, we understand the limitations caused by limited resources and competing priorities. For this reason, we urge the Council to prioritize initiatives that can achieve multiple priorities simultaneously. Completing the Village Transit Plan (PATV) – one of the most successful public-private partnerships in our city’s history – should be high on the Council’s agenda.
A Brief Introduction to TVAP: First adopted 16 years ago and codified in Plan Comp, TVAP sits in the geographic center of Boulder and is now known as Boulder Junction. Designed as a two-phase development, Phase 1 is over 95% complete and has brought substantial benefits to the community: nearly 1,500 units of labor and affordable housing, preservation of the historic Depot building, new affordable commercial space for restaurants and stores, protected bike lanes, flood protection and major multi-use trail improvements, among other investments.
Boulder Junction is now a transit-focused development model thanks to Depot Square Station’s multimodal RTD hub (transit follows rooftops, as transportation planners like to point out). Phase 1 put millions of dollars in development costs into city coffers, helping to create even more affordable housing in Boulder. Since the milestones required by the City’s PATV implementation plan have been achieved on time or well ahead of schedule, it is now time to move on to phase 2.
So why would the Council want to move to phase 2? To begin with, the benefits for the community would be substantial: over 1,000 new labor and affordable housing units that are urgently needed (at least 25% will be dedicated to affordable housing), up to 12, $ 6 million in impact and link fees, substantial transportation reductions. associated CO2 emissions (more people will live where they work), enhanced flood protections and substantial progress towards reducing Boulder’s notorious employment / housing imbalance.
Additionally, every council member who was elected in the November 2021 election responded affirmatively on the Boulder Chamber Candidate Dashboard: “As a member of city council, will you prioritize the implementation and advancement of TVAP. [Phase 2]? ”It is appropriate and appropriate that these new Board members live up to these commitments.
To achieve the TVAP vision and maximize the City’s investments in infrastructure and BRT, the City will need to modify land use and zoning. Fortunately, the City provided the very roadmap for moving forward: under the direction of City staff, phase 2A of TVAP has already started with the fire station project at 30e and Valmont. Phase 2A of TVAP was a land use map change of the city-initiated Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan from a Mixed Use Industrial (MUI) to a Mixed Use Enterprise (MUB). This change in land use affects two plots of land at 30e and Valmont which will facilitate the relocation of fire station # 3.
From reducing traffic and CO2 emissions to increasing our building stock, time has been the enemy. Indecision and delays dramatically increased the costs and expenses associated with achieving each goal, and the urgency to respond to each only increased. It is time to implement the plan that was first adopted in 2007 and realize the substantial community benefits that can come from full implementation. It’s time to start TVAP Phase 2.
Bryan Bowen is a former Chairman of the Planning Board and Principal Architect at Caddis Collaborative. Bill Rigler was three times chairman of the TAB and director of Greenlight Strategy LLC.