Gov’t watch: March 27, 2024

What your local officials are up to: Council retreat and Boulder Country Club zoning

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Courtesy: City of Boulder

Boulder City Council 

On April 3 and 4, council will hold its biannual retreat where they will set priorities for the next two years. For 2022-23, those included various housing priorities (zoning, occupancy reform, middle-income housing and updated rules for accessory dwellings) as well as homelessness- and transportation-related priorities. 

Housing affordability is expected to be a continued area of focus, says Mayor Pro Tem Nicole Speer, who is on the retreat committee. There will also likely be movement around human services, public transit and climate initiatives, she says. 

“I would assume everything that people think is wrong with the city will be discussed,” says councilmember Tara Winer, who is also serving on the retreat committee. 

Each council member is submitting a list of 10 priorities this week and will pitch their ideas on the first day of the retreat. Boards and commissions, Community Connectors-in-residence and the Police Oversight Panel were also invited to submit their thoughts ahead of the retreat. 

Speer says council will evaluate priorities based on “impact,” which will likely be evaluated differently by each council member, and “how big of a lift” something will be in terms of financial resources, staff time and so on. Council typically selects between eight and 10 priorities total, Speer says. 

“Our budget is so tight,” she says. “So anything people are bringing forward, it’s not gonna be able to cost money, or they’re gonna have to make a good case for why it’s worth cutting something else in order to have it.”

Residents can attend virtually: bit.ly/councils_retreat. The retreat takes the place of council’s regular April 4 meeting.

Boulder County Commissioners 

On April 2, commissioners will hold a 9:30 a.m. public hearing and make a decision on whether to give Boulder Country Club in Gunbarrel Use of Community Significance Designation, which would change the club’s zoning to make it easier to do minor renovations. 

That would mean the country club would no longer need to go through a full hearing before both the planning commission and the board of county commissioners to make minor changes, such as redoing the pool deck, for example, according to Pete L’Orange, who works in the county’s Community Planning and Permitting office. Those changes would only require staff-level review and approval — a much less cumbersome process. Major modifications would still require a public hearing before the commissioners, but would not have to go through the planning commission. 

The country club’s application originally proposed a dome that would have covered several existing tennis and pickleball courts during the winter months, but the club withdrew that request in December 2023. The withdrawal came after community concern over increased traffic and visual impacts that could be caused by a “giant glowing dome,” L’Orange says. 

If the change is approved, the club would still need county commissioners’ approval to build the dome, since that would be considered a substantial change, according to L’Orange.

The hearing will be held in a hybrid format, and those who wish to speak virtually or in person can sign up at boco.org/lu-23-0028