Debate on hyper-growth heating up fast

The influx continues. The debate is just starting.

| Sep 2, 2014

The hyper-growth debate is a potentially fiery issue. It first really caught my attention with the publication of a letter from Stacey Goldfarb in our paper of record on Aug. 16. Since Stacey also sent it to us, we’ll say nyah-nyah to any copyright police at the Camera and reproduce it in full here:

I’m so disgusted I don’t really know where to start. I came to Boulder in 1982 after finishing graduate school. The town was small, beautiful, had wonderful trails, and everyone was so friendly. I knew immediately this is where I wanted to live.

Fast forward 32 years and Boulder has changed beyond recognition. Beyond anything I thought possible.

This city is beyond capacity. Way too many people and way too many cars (ever sit through two or more light cycles at 28th and Arapahoe?) Now with break-neck speed this city is putting ugly,”boxy” high rises on every piece of land left. The developers have learned the right buzz words: infill, mixed use, and affordability. All the while these four-story box developments are continuing to go up and the developers are laughing all the way to the bank!!

The infrastructure can’t and won’t ever be able to keep up with this explosive growth. It’s crazy! The high rises keep going higher without any attempt to make the ugly boxes aesthetically and architecturally pleasing- not that it matters. Driving North on 28th St. to Colorado Blvd. this is patently obvious.

The Blue Line, height limits, open space, and slow growth were all passed for good reasons…to preserve our quality of life and keep the small town feel of this once awesome city. No’s all gone. The dreams of our forefathers (past city council’s) have been thrown out in favor of all this rampant development.

North Boulder used to basically end at the Bus Stop, now an entire new city sits there. Canyon Street has become a literal canyon. Then there’s Boulder Junction, 33rd and Pearl, the Sutherlands property, the Daily Camera building(say goodbye to the mountain views), Baseline Zero (which should be a non-starter from the beginning). We can’t and shouldn’t try and house everyone that wants to live here. I can’t afford to live in Palo Alto, San Francisco, or New York City. That’s life! Stop the social engineering! It obviously isn’t working. Boulder is full to the gills.

It’s time for “we the people” to step up to the plate and stop the high rise box developments in Boulder. Call, email city council, write letters to the editor, do whatever you can to let this council know we’ve had enough. Get your friends, neighbors and colleagues involved in putting a halt to this insanity.

Stacey Goldfarb

The discussion was punctuated by a few other spicy Camera letters, leading up to a well-reasoned column by Steve Pomerance on Sunday, Aug. 31, which (quick bow to copyright police) we won’t reproduce here but rather link to. A particularly compelling excerpt:

Many ordinary citizens are appalled at the rate and size and ugliness of recent development, and want it all to stop, as recent letters to the Camera show. Yet others see our path as leading to an unsustainable, brittle, big-city future, where all systems are stressed passed the breaking point.

And this one:

The huge projects recently built and in the pipeline will significantly affect the future of Boulder. But they were decided on without knowing whether the end result will be consistent with the citizens’ desires, and without any way to deal with the impacts on everything from our roads to our water supply.

Perhaps most compelling is an agreed-upon statistic: that 50,000-60,000 people make their way into Boulder to work each day. Most of us have at some point seen the streams of traffic coming in and going out, but many of us hadn’t seen that shocking number.

Growth controls continue to do a good job of limiting Boulder’s residential population. City projections show some modest growth in the next 10 years toward perhaps 110,000. Isn’t it time to take a long look at limiting, or cutting back, the number of people working in Boulder and, of necessity, incommuting?

This article has been updated to reflect the author’s changing view of the subject.

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