What has Boulder City Council accomplished so far?

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Thursday July 15, 2021

With less than four months to go, Boulder’s elected officials have little to do on their to-do list. City council has completed seven of its dozen initial priorities and will likely bring home at least one other big item before the November election: adding 308 acres in the city for a future University of Colorado campus.

This amid a pandemic that has drained budgets, reduced staff and significantly increased the board’s workload. Staff shortages have derailed some projects but will give the next council more freedom than in the past.

Here’s a look at what has been done and what remains to be done:

Priority: Racial equity. Progress: Racial equity plan adopted on February 16

Read: Council unanimously adopts racial equity plan (Twitter thread)

Priority: Local energy supply. Progress: Settlement negotiated with Xcel, which voters adopted on November 3, 2020

Read: Boulder Ends 10 Years Of Armed Efforts As Voters Endorse Landmark Xcel Deal

Priority: Climate mobilization action plan. Progress: CMAP will be adopted this fall

Read: Boulder is heading for a ‘new paradigm’ on climate change

Priority: COVID-19 response. Progress: COVID-19 orders will be repealed on August 17

Get the latest COVID-19 local data

Priority: Financial strategy. Progress: Sub-committee launched

Read: Boulder Explores New Taxes, Fees As Revenue Dips

Priority: Housing. Progress: Update of the manufactured homes strategy on February 18

Read: Boulder Adds Protections For Mobile Home Residents (Twitter thread)

Priority: Police surveillance. Progress: The civil oversight committee met on January 26

Read: Boulder sits on first police oversight committee

Priority: Vision Zero. Progress: Residential speed limits lowered to 20 mph in May 2020

To read: The unanimous council lowers speed limits in neighborhoods (Twitter thread)

Priority: Roaming. Progress: Diversion services launched in early 2020; the extended encampment application

Read: Boulder allocates $ 3million for removal from camp, cops

Priority: CU South Annex / South Boulder Creek Flood Mitigation. Progress: Flood protection design selected in early 2020; annexation agreement planned for adoption by the planning council (July 20) and the council (September 7)

Read: Boulder Settles On Flood Design


Use tables – deferred until the project manager can be hired

East Boulder Sub-Community Plan – 90% complete by end of 2021. Board review July 27.

Community Benefit 2.0 – discontinued

New and current articles

The outcry from the community drew the council’s attention to a couple of things. Opponents of a real estate development project near Celestial Seasonings have prompted elected officials to promise Gunbarrel would be the next to receive a sub-community plan, after East Boulder. Staff will “think about it” next year, according to the notes.

This year’s University Hill riot and a controversial reuse of Marpa House also prompted a city-wide response to the impacts of parties, noise and student trash. Boulder dubbed it the “Quality of Life Improvement Project” and hired a contractor for an 18-month study and strategic plan. The police department launched a 90-day law enforcement and data collection pilot project this month. A municipal task force – previously focused on the economic revitalization of the Hill – focused entirely on this project; even CU has developed its own “Community Action Plan on the Hills”.

Council is committed to reviewing nuisance ordinances throughout the city, as it is also reviewing occupancy limits in preparation for the adoption of Bedrooms Are For People. The city will collect “baseline” information on its own approach and case studies of peer cities.


Two things staff didn’t consider was a neighborhood infill pilot, something that was put forward by community members in several updates to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. With the cuts in the planning department, there aren’t enough employees, staff told the council.

At this year’s retreat, City Councilor Aaron Brockett advocated for programs that would replace the police with mental health professionals to respond to mental health crises. Denver’s STAR program saw early success and sparked the interest of other cities in hopes of replicating it. But Brockett couldn’t get majority support for the idea locally.

Staff plan to “re-evaluate” mental health response options after 12 to 18 months of the new approach to ending homeless camps, they said. This involves the use of non-police ambassadors and urban park rangers – as well as a dedicated police team – to liaise with homeless people.

Brockett stepped back, wondering why a homelessness strategy was tied to a mental health response. He pledged to take the idea to a new board in January.

Read a thread on Tuesday’s work plan

With the current board accomplishing so much, the newly elected will have more room than usual to take on new projects and priorities. The previous council left several large projects unfinished, some of which remain unfinished.

– Shay’s castle, @shayshinecastle

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COVID-19[female[feminine Governance annexation budget municipal Council city ​​of boulder climate change COVID COVID-19[female[feminine financial strategy flood mitigation homeless housing pandemic police police surveillance speed limits transport University of Colorado Vision Zero

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