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Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that Bob Greenlee served as mayor during his final two years on the Boulder City Council. He is not currently the mayor.

Let’s first agree there’s no such thing as perfect in resolving any number of public issues. That’s especially true considering human nature and behavior. When trying our best to solve problems the most we can hope for is reasonable efforts to discern scientific or provable truths and not much more. Hopefully, that gives us comfort that we have agreed to accept reasonable solutions on various and complex problems like those expertly examined and articulated by Councilmember Bob Yates’ recent article in his online publication called Boulder Bulletin.

In his article, Bob reports that “there is no plan B” when it comes to solving Boulder’s lingering South Boulder Creek flood mitigation issues or when it comes to working with the university on CU South property planning needs. So we’re now caught up with another attempt to resolve complex flood and property-use matters just because a handful of righteous and indignant self-ordained community know-it-alls say the current annexation agreement is unacceptable. These folks are just unhappy for a variety of reasons and just want the rest of us to be equally displeased and play their game.

Bob Greenlee
Bob Greenlee

Here’s the deal: The University of Colorado purchased a 308-acre parcel of land south of Boulder city limits that was once part of an old gravel mine and for many years thereafter the site automatically became Open Space in the warped minds of those who believe any unbuilt-upon land around Boulder is automatically considered to be Open Space.

Both CU and the city have many important reasons to work together on a number of issues that owning and controlling the property can achieve. CU South gives the university a place to expand its facilities for research, student housing, classrooms, and outdoor activities plus providing the city with 119 acres of new and dedicated and precious Open Space that everyone seems to crave.

All these wonderous things can happen because the two principal parties have engaged in trying to agree on important and complex Annexation terms. CU needs the city to help them acquire water for the property because it would be an essential matter for anything that might ultimately be built there. More importantly, the land can be used to help solve serious flood control issues the city and region have had to deal with over the years concerning South Boulder Creek. These issues have turned into serious life, safety and private property rights concerns for decades without resolution. Now there’s reason to celebrate CU’s land purchase and a willingness by both the city and the university, along with various other private and public interested parties, to work together for the benefit of all.

Unfortunately, not everyone is happy about the approved Annexation Agreement, because some citizens remain unsatisfied and are seeking to overturn the embattled annexation approval in any way they can.

It’s interesting to note that many people, including me, can’t understand how the current crop of malcontents can now require a public vote on the annexation and void and destroy a difficult and time-consuming approval process. None of this recent de-annexation propaganda has surfaced until recently. Many now wonder why a public vote on the matter is necessary or even legally possible since that issue was supposedly resolved almost seventeen years ago.

In 2006 Boulder citizens rejected a plan to require a public vote on approving new annexation requests. It appears things decided years ago can now somehow be reconsidered subject only to the periodic whims of local malcontents. You would think that such an important matter would not be allowed to rise again from the dead. Were our expensive and bloated city attorney’s office personnel not involved in putting this on the November ballot, thus allowing this recent turn of events to take place? But then again we should remember this is Boulder and accept that the public can try doing whatever it wants whenever it wants.

Bob Greenlee is an 18-year veteran of Boulder’s city council. He served as mayor during his last two years on the city council. Email:

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