Friday, March 14, 2008

Boulder City Council Are Out of Control

by Osman Parvez
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I attended last night's packed City Council study session. Before the meeting, I was under the impression that they were calmly studying the issue of a few oversized, out of character houses in Boulder and carefully considering reasonable options for addressing the problem.

I was wrong. Dead wrong.

Before I had a chance to write this post, Mark Hartwig provided the following comment:

Osman, I'm not sure if you made it to the meeting tonight or not, but I was there. The city council means business. At least 5 of the city council members were in agreement that the revised FAR should be lowered to .35 including garage space... thats right, from where it is currently at .8 to .35.

This is not even the worst of it. Deputy Mayor Crystal Gray asked numerous questions to the city attorneys regarding the steps that would need to be taken in order to push through an "emergency ordinance." The simple reply was that such an emergency ordinance could be passes after recommendations from the planning board, and a 2/3 majority vote from city council. It is likely that such an interim "emergency" ordinance may come into effect as early as next Tuesday's public hearing.

This is at an absolute outrage, as well as a serious assault on property rights, and personal rights. The .35 FAR will directly affect approximately 36% of all single family homes in Boulder, and indirectly affect all the others. Just as an example, a 50ft by 125ft Newlands lot would be limited to an above grade floor area of 2187sqft, including a 2 car garage. We need to do all we can to get the word out that the city council is seriously attempting to stifle ANY AND ALL FUTURE DEVELOPMENT IN BOULDER. We need to take up arms against our would be oppressors, and show them that we will NOT let them loot our rights.


Like Mark, I was stunned by last night's meeting. There are only a handful of houses that have offended and City Council is preparing a sledgehammer of a solution. If they could have, there is not doubt in my mind that an emergency ordinance would have been passed last night. An emergency ordinance!!

It was also clear from the questions and discussions that members of City Council have no clue how this will impact the real estate market. They haven't considered the young homeowners with families who purchased undersized homes with future plans of expansion. They don't seem to realize that with a draconian action like dropping the FAR to 0.35, they will massively increase the value of larger homes in Boulder.

At one point, someone commented "The last thing we need is another $2 million dollar house in Boulder." Everyone at the table laughed in front of a silent audience. City Council's action will create more $2 million dollar homes than the builders ever could by constraining the market. There will also be a flood of applications for poorly conceived, hastily designed building application permits before the emergency measure takes place.

Mark, I appreciate your comment. For those concerned with City Council's outrageous intentions, I highly recommend writing emails, calling council members, and attending this Tuesday's City Council meeting. Unlike last nights meeting, the public will have an opportunity to speak on Tuesday. Arrive at the meeting early (5pm) in order to sign up to speak.

image: philgarlic


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