If you go

What: Boulder City Council

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Boulder Municipal Building, 1777 Broadway

Info: To read the memo on the North Boulder Subcommunity Plan update and to see the complete agenda, go to bit.ly/QRNH7Y

Street improvements that mark the distinctive commercial district on North Boulder and ease congestion, the creation of a formal arts district and a housing policy that creates more affordable spaces for artists are some of the steps Boulder is considering to fulfill the North Boulder Subcommunity Plan.

The plan, which envisions a "village center" at Broadway and Yarmouth Avenue and diverse, walkable residential neighborhoods, was drafted back in 1995. The area has undergone significant redevelopment since then, including the construction of the Holiday neighborhood on the former drive-in movie theater and the Uptown commercial development along the east side of North Broadway.

But the east side of Broadway and the former Armory site remain underdeveloped, the area still doesn't have a full-service library branch or a grocery store and many residents believe the area has far more than its share of permanently affordable, deed-restricted housing.

Boulder planners are in the process of updating the plan, including drafting a series of "action items," such as using public art, plantings and other features to make Broadway a more pleasant street to stroll and exploring zoning changes that will encourage the creation of live-work spaces that would be attractive to artists.

The Boulder City Council will discuss the draft update and action items in the North Boulder Subcommunity Plan on Tuesday.

Chris Chandler searches for a book at the Nobo Corner Library in Boulder on Monday afternoon.
Chris Chandler searches for a book at the Nobo Corner Library in Boulder on Monday afternoon. (Paul Aiken / Daily Camera)

Neighborhood activists are praising the plan, which city planner Jeff Hirt said incorporates many ideas from community meetings held in recent months.

But they also hope the city doesn't drag its feet on fulfilling the plan.

One big question mark is how much the city can mitigate the flood risk from Fourmile Canyon Creek, which crosses Broadway at the south end of the commercial strip.

The west side of Broadway has remains largely unchanged, while the east side bustles with newer shops in mixed use developments.

The west side is largely in the floodplain, and Hirt said that is the major barrier to redevelopment in the area.

Boulder Armory in North Boulder on Monday.
Boulder Armory in North Boulder on Monday. (Paul Aiken / Daily Camera)

In a letter to the City Council from the North Boulder Community Forum, neighborhood advocates asked that short-term improvements like new streetscaping not be overly delayed by flood assessments.

"We are particularly concerned about delays in actual implementation of a re-envisioned North Broadway caused by the flood impact studies," they wrote. "We appreciate the need to carefully evaluate those impacts so that improvements can be appropriate and lasting. We urge the city not to allow the necessity for flood impact evaluation to become an unnecessary obstacle to the achievement of a successful North Broadway, which the community has waited over 20 years to realize."

Amy Tremper, a retired ranch manager who lives in the Holiday neighborhood, said one of the biggest things the city could do is provide organizational support to the creation of a formal arts district on North Broadway, an idea artists have been supporting for years.

"There's nobody in North Boulder who doesn't think an arts district would be wonderful," she said. "Nobody is against it."

Tremper is also excited by the potential redevelopment of the Armory site at the southeast corner of Lee Hill Road and Broadway by Bruce Dierking. Dierking hasn't formally submitted his plans to the city, but he has held a number of community meetings and met with city staff.

Hirt said the plans shared so far fit the city's goals for the area.

The ideas for the site include a brew pub, community gathering space, arts-oriented spaces like galleries or studios, restaurants, stores and mixed-density residential.

Tremper said some activists were initially concerned that the subcommunity plan might hurt efforts to redevelop the Armory, and she's pleased that doesn't seem to be the case.

Tremper helped spread the word about community meetings and said more than 100 people attended each one. She was happy to see the city include so many neighborhood ideas in the plan.

"Many, many people have contributed ideas that the city is now incorporating," she said. "I think it's been a tremendously positive and successful outreach."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355 or meltzere@dailycamera.com