In a 4-3 vote, Boulder’s Planning Board chose not to recommend approval of the CU South annexation agreement negotiated by the city and the University of the Colorado Boulder.
Members Jorge Boone, Crystal Gray, Sarah Silver and John Gerstle opposed recommending the draft agreement at the Thursday night meeting, while Chair David Ensign, Vice Chair Peter Vitale and member Bryan Bowen supported it.
Lisa Smith and Lupita Montoya were recused from the two-part hearing due to affiliations with CU Boulder. Former members Bryan Bowen and Crystal Gray stood in.
Despite the majority opting against recommendation approval, the board in a 6-1 vote agreed to provide several pages of recommendations that it hopes the Boulder City Council will consider when it officially takes over purview of the agreement on Tuesday. Ensign was the dissenting vote, noting that he did not agree with some of the recommendations.
“All things being equal, I’d rather see this go in front of the voters. That’s just my personal opinion,” Boone said. “That’s not to discredit all the stuff that we did tonight because I think we all reached really good conclusions.”
The board’s meticulous conversation about the various sections of the draft agreement lasted more than seven hours, extending into the early morning on Friday.
The board offered a number of new terms and reworked existing ones to clarify language and provide more details regarding open space, development, water, natural resources and more on the 308-acre site owned by CU Boulder. The property, near U.S. 36 and Table Mesa Drive, will be the site of the South Boulder Creek flood mitigation project if the annexation into Boulder city limits is approved.
Of the 155 acres that CU Boulder has designated for the city, an additional 44 acres would be donated for open space and the city will purchase the remaining 75 acres at $37,500 per acre. Boulder and the university each obtained an appraisal for the land and negotiated a price in the middle, Senior Planner Phil Kleisler said in last week’s Planning Board meeting.
One recommendation agreed to Thursday would require that the annexation agreement include a timeline for the purchase of Open Space land.
“I think the idea was just to make it clear when the city could start purchasing land and not to say they have to start purchasing it at annexation,” Planning Board member Sarah Silver said on Thursday.
Typically, the Planning Board has decision-making authority. However, because this was a legislative matter, the Planning Board was tasked with providing a recommendation to the City Council, who will vote in September.