The University of Colorado – Boulder wants to develop a massive new campus on property it owns in south Boulder, often referred to as “CU-South.” As you may know, the South Creek Seven HOA, and in fact the entire Tantra community, is adjacent to the property and will be affected by whatever happens there.
Much of the land is within the South Boulder Creek floodplain. Following the 2013 flood, the City of Boulder started to develop ideas for flood mitigation at the site. The University has offered to give the city 80 of its 308 acres for flood mitigation. In exchange, CU wants the city to annex the property, which is under the county’s jurisdiction. CU cannot develop a new south campus unless the property is annexed by the city, which would provide utility services.
The City and County of Boulder have sought to protect the land for decades with an eye towards designating it as Open Space. The land, which is largely undeveloped, provides a valuable wildlife corridor, habitat for wildlife, including imperiled species, plus extremely rare, mesic, tallgrass prairie. The area is an enormously popular spot for enjoying spectacular sunsets, getting outdoor exercise, and dog habitat, which had been damaged by gravel mining, were to be reclaimed under a plan approved by the Sate Legislature. The University scrapped the reclamation plan.
City Council has approved a flood mitigation concept for a 100-year flood event and is moving forward with its consultants. Protection for a 500-year flood event was scrapped because of costs. CU submitted an annexation petition in 2019 and, after negotiation with city staff, submitted terms for annexation this year.
Boulder residents, some of whom have followed this issue for years, continue to raise serious questions about how much annexation will cost the city, and the 100-y. ear flood concept, which experts have said is inadequate in the face of climate change. Whatever happens will have a big impact on the South Creek Seven HOA, and south Boulder, and will affect the entire city.
Announcement that City to seek community input December 1-February1: https://bouldercolorado.gov/newsroom/city-to-seek-input-on-cu-south-annexation-proposal
CU Website about the Annexation: https://www.colorado.edu/cubouldersouth
Boulder Weekly Article: The Controversy Explained: https://www.boulderweekly.com/news/the-controversy-surrounding-cu-south-explained/
Save South Boulder is a network of south Boulder neighborhoods who share concerns about flooding in the South Boulder Creeek watershed. Save SoBo for short, we are currently focused on the floodplain and adjacent lands a.k.a “CU South.” Margaret LeCompte, a retired CU sociology professor who lives next to Frasier Meadows and whose 90-year-old mother was living in the retirement community at the time of the 2013 flood, and Harlin Savage (who lives on Tantra Park Circle) are the co-leaders of Save South Boulder. In addition to neighborhoods, they are allied with PLAN Boulder, Audubon, and Boulder Waterkeeper, among others. https://www.savesouthboulder.com
Harlin Notes: “I recommend several documents on the Save South Boulder website, including “The Uncounted Costs of Annexation,” and our analysis of CU’s terms for annexation. https://www.savesouthboulder.com/save-south-boulder-news/the-citizens-campaign-on-considerations-for-annexation-of-cu-southre-feedback-on-cus-annexation-terms-for-cu-south. I encourage people to join our list serve by sending an email to savesobonow.com. We periodically send out updates, action alerts, and notices when City Council, Planning Board, Open Space Board of Trustees, Water Resources Advisory Board, and the Transportation Advisory Board meet to discuss annexation and flood mitigation at CU South.
City of Boulder
Annexation of the South Boulder Creek Floodplain or “CU South” would be the largest annexation of undeveloped land in Boulder County and will affect everyone in the city in some way. Thankfully, the City of Boulder has extensive resources on its website that are available to the public. The information is broadly divided into two sections “Annexation” and “Flood Mitigation.” One of the most recent and useful summaries is a briefing book prepared by the Planning Department. The link I have is broken so I am attaching the pdf. Phil Kleisler is the senior planner in charge of annexation, and he is generally very responsive to the public. KleislerP@bouldercolorado.gov Here’s the link to the City’s annexation page:https://bouldercolorado.gov/flood/cu-south
City of BoulderFlood Mitigation. For details about flood mitigation this link https://bouldercolorado.gov/city-council/south-boulder-creek-flood-mitigationuniversity-of-colorado-cu-south-annexation is a good starting place.
The University of ColoradoCU mostly refers inquiries to the City’s website. I swear CU had a dedicated webpage for this stuff but at the moment I can’t find it. What I do have is the website for Trestle Strategies http://www.trestlestrategy.com/cu-south which CU has hired for this project.
South Boulder Creek Action Group https://www.southbouldercreekactiongroup.com/cu-south/South Boulder Creek Action Group would appear to be fairly aligned with Save South Boulder. Indeed, the co-leaders of Save South Boulder met with leaders of this group early on to see if we could work together. Unfortunately, our attempt to collaborate was rejected. On paper at least, we appear to agree on the issues; however, when this group appears at public meetings that is not the case. In fact, one of their leaders went so far as to call us “evil,” at a City Council meeting. Their goal is to build a flood mitigation dam and floodwall as soon as possible, regardless of any other concerns, a position shared by some members of the Frasier Meadows Retirement Community. It’s clear that they are terrified of another flood, and they have every right to demand action that will protect them. Save South Boulder also supports flood mitigation as the highest priority, but we want it done right. These two groups were heavily involved in flood mitigation and so far seem to be less active on annexation.