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The Boulder Planning Board spent more than three and a half hours Thursday evening digging into the specifics of the CU South draft annexation agreement.

The board was set to make a recommendation to Boulder City Council about the agreement that will guide annexation and flood mitigation work at the 308-acre site owned by the University of Colorado Boulder. However, the discussion concluded after the Camera’s print deadline.

There was some debate at the beginning about whether a third extension might be possible. The Planning Board had a public hearing July 22 and continued its questions, deliberation and recommendation until Thursday. But most of the Planning Board agreed that it was important to conclude the conversation so the recommendation would make it into the record ahead of City Council’s first reading on Tuesday.

Much of the hours-long deliberation on Thursday was spent debating a number of questions about specificity and clarity. How much specificity should the agreement include? And how clear and concise should the board’s recommendations to the council be?

Planning Board members John Gerstle and Sarah Silver argued that many of the pieces of the agreement should be more clearly defined, given the binding nature of the agreement.

Gerstle, for example, requested more explicit consideration regarding the exchange of water rights.

Within the agreement, CU Boulder agreed to convey to Boulder, at the city’s request, 30.2 shares of the Dry Creek No. 2 Ditch Company water rights historically associated with the property.

He also asked for more details about any existing wells on site.

“We’re talking in good terms with the people we’re dealing with,” Gerstle said. “None of us is going to be around in 25 years when this turns into a real issue. That’s why the language has to address all of these potential possibilities.”


In order to encourage housing as the predominant use on the site, the agreement specifies that a mix of uses will be phased in a two-to-one ratio. That means a ratio of two square feet of enclosed residential floor area to one square foot of enclosed non-residential floor area.

One piece of the draft agreement dictates that residential units larger than 4,000 square feet only will receive a credit of 4,000 square feet to discourage large dwelling units.

This led to some debate Thursday. Silver suggested reducing both to 2,000 square feet. Planning Board Chair David Ensign, on the other hand, said he recommended reducing solely the credit to 2,000 square feet.

Fellow member Jorge Boone said he tended to agree with Ensign.

“I like the idea of the cap,” Boone said. “I also hear the university’s call to preserve some flexibility for their needs.”

The 80-page document dictates that CU Boulder will transfer 155 acres for flood protection and open space on the property near U.S. 36 and Table Mesa Drive. If approved, the full 308 acres would be annexed into the city of Boulder.

In exchange for city services, the university has agreed to share a portion of the land it purchased in 1996 with Boulder for the 100-year South Boulder Creek flood mitigation project.

The CU South project, decades in the making, will be voted on by the City Council in September. The recommendation provided by the Planning Board will be considered at that time.