Boulder: Comp Plan Update Kicks Off

Boulder is ready to begin the community outreach that is the focus of the first phase of the Boulder Valley Comp Plan (BVCP) Update, the long-range planning vision for the City and County of Boulder. Clarion Associates offered this critique of the current Comp Plan,

“While Boulder has been successful in preserving a ring of open space around its borders and limiting outward sprawl, many working people now find it challenging to live within the city due to the high cost of housing. Infill and redevelopment opportunities within which to retain some demographic balance are limited, therefore the city faces the challenge of making sure that the city’s planning does not lead to social elitism and other unintended changes in the quality of life and character in Boulder, due to high costs of housing and other factors such as high levels of workforce in-commuting. The city has continuously revisited the question of balance between housing and jobs over the years, and has made adjustments to the BVCP land use plan in response. However, the dynamic between places to live and work is now a regional issue, as are transportation challenges, and Boulder will need to continue to engage with other communities as well as regional partners on this topic. “

The consultants also point to the biggest weakness of the current plan, saying, “For the most part, the policies do not have direct and well defined measures of outcomes, results, and actions. While this encourages flexibility of implementation, it discourages public understanding, accountability, collaboration, and organizational learning.” A written policy that can be interpreted as either supporting or opposing a proposed action is not a useful decision guide.”  Clarion suggests integrating the various Master Plans (transportation, public safety, housing, etc.) and adding outcomes and metrics.

The update will have four phases, each with community outreach. The entire update is scheduled to be complete by mid-2016. Implementation steps, such as changes to code and zoning map updates, would be added once the plan is adopted. Expect the controversy and conflict evidenced in recent planning discussions to come to a head during the BVCP update. BCVP 2015 Update

Note: The land use map associated with the “Super IGA of 2003,” vividly illustrates the planning decisions that have impacted growth and home prices in Boulder County and its municipalities. Boulder County Land Use Map

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