Cathern Smith: Redtail Ridge: City must make developer compile with code
The Louisville Planning Commission must act to ensure that Redtail Ridge fully complies with the City Code now and in the future. Brue Baukol, the developer, recently, announced a pivot to biotechnology. The City Code requires developments to “promote the health, safety, convenience, order, prosperity and welfare of the present and future inhabitants of the city.” Questions need to be asked and answered.
Biotechnology can mean many things. An online dictionary defines biotech as “the exploitation of biological processes for industrial and other purposes, especially the genetic manipulation of microorganisms for the production of antibiotics, hormones, etc.” At the University of Colorado, Biotech includes Computational Biology and the following types of engineering: Aerospace — Bioastronautics; Chemical & Biological — Biomaterials, Biopharmaceuticals and Tissue; Electrical, Computer and Energy — Optics, Nanostructures and Bioengineering; and Mechanical- Biomedical. We need to know what Brue Baukol means by biotechnology.
The property is currently a Planned Community Zoned District with a commercial PUD-C overlay. Generally, industrial activity requires an industrial PUD-I overlay. Here, however the permitted uses probably allow for some industrial activity. But in my opinion, the applicant cannot convert a PUD-C/Commercial Overlay to a PUD-I/Industrial Overlay through the backdoor (i.e., by using one of the 13 permitted uses to completely change the character of Redtail so that it is exclusively or primarily industrial). If this were permissible, no developer would ever apply for a PUD-I/Industrial Overlay. This section of the Code would become meaningless, leaving concerns about pollution, congestion and public utilities unaddressed.
It is the job of the Planning Commission to ask enough questions to determine whether the planned biotechnology center is truly commercial. If it is not, the general development plan must be amended so that the current commercial PUD-C/Commercial overlay is replaced by an industrial PUD-I/Industrial overlay.
Cathern Smith, Louisville
William J. Kramer: Library district: Full funding will deliver limitless dividends
As a Library District supporter, I’d like to comment on one of its principal challenges: adding a new tax on individuals and businesses. It is a real concern. And the burden will be more difficult for those with limited means. But, at the same time, they will be the very residents who can benefit most from full funding.
There are solutions. Both the city and the county have full quivers of taxing and expenditure tools to assist in redressing inequities. County Commissioners and members of the City Council must think and act creatively: find ways in which to offset the mill tax for those who need it.
Over decades we have found reasons to tax ourselves to express community values and to achieve community goals. I think members of the council and County Commissions who oppose the district will be surprised — and, I hope ashamed — that even those with limited resources will overwhelmingly support taxes from which they can see immediate, direct and beneficial returns.
A fully-funded library system is a remarkably efficient, and virtually limitless, dividend-paying investment in our collective future, but, more importantly, it is an investment in each and every one of our children and grandchildren. Library District voters will see that, I believe.
If the district passes, everyone will have the opportunity to take credit for a lasting, positive legacy of public engagement that delivers powerful benefits to current and future residents. What Andrew Carnegie, the father of modern public libraries wrote about libraries more than a century ago rings true today: “Upon no foundation but that of popular education can man erect the structure of an enduring civilization.”
William J. Kramer, Boulder
Reynold Ruslan Feldman: Election: We need more political parties
Time for a Third Party? Or even a fourth? How exceptional we are with our two-party system! Not that I advocate creating a dozen or more splinter parties as we see in some other countries. But having only two can cause extreme splits with little room, at least nowadays, for practical compromises that serve the people. I remember learning that a two-valued orientation leads to simplistic black-and-white decision-making. Something is either good or bad, right or wrong. There’s no room for nuance. But perfection is not a human characteristic. So, shades of gray are almost always called for.
Consider Liz Cheney, now vilified by her own Republican party. Yikes! She comes from Wyoming, the reddest state in the country. Yet her strong sense of the importance of democracy over Donald Trump’s ego-driven lie about the stolen 2020 Presidential Election has made her a pariah for many Republicans, and her role as vice-chair of the January 6th House Investigation Committee will likely cause her to lose her primary for Congress. I think she should turn her back on Congress to found a Conservative Party of America. Such an organization would provide a more comfortable political home for principled Republicans of the Nelson Rockefeller, Dwight Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush type. It would give centrist Republicans — RINOs according to those on the hard Right — a place to call their own. In fact, as many as a third of current Republicans would likely move into it.
And while we’re at it, I’d like to see Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman AOC establish the Democratic Socialist Party of America as an official fourth political organization. Life is about change, and here is a suggested political transformation that I believe would keep us from tearing our country apart. What do you think?
Reynold Ruslan Feldman, Boulder