BoCo, briefly: May 15, 2024

Local news at a glance

The Cemex cement plant near Lyons. Credit: Amanda Dumenigo

Ned repeals rights of nature

Nederland’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to repeal the town’s Rights of Nature protections passed in 2021, The Mountain Ear reported. The resolutions recognized the “inherent and legal rights” of the “living and non-living natural components and communities” within 448 square miles of Boulder Creek watershed to “exist, maintain integral health, regenerate, evolve and be restored.”

But town leaders worried the resolutions might negatively impact their right to use water from Middle Boulder Creek and develop a reservoir to store it. Nederland is in the process of renewing those rights. Save the World’s Rivers, a nonprofit advocating for Rights of Nature throughout Colorado, in April filed a statement of opposition to the renewal application in water court. 

In notes shared with the town board ahead of the May 7 vote, Nederland Mayor Billy Giblin cited the group’s legal challenges to other development projects — including Eldora Mountain Ski Resort’s bid to build and expand reservoirs, to which the town of Nederland was also opposed — as reason to rescind the Rights of Nature resolutions.

“This unexpected shift — from Rights of Nature as a tool to provide the Town with information about the health of the Creek, to others using Rights of Nature as a point of leverage against the Town and its neighbors in the community … should be considered in deciding whether Rights of Nature remains a good fit for the Town of Nederland and consistent with its values and objectives,” Giblin wrote. The repeal “would in no way lessen the Board of Trustees’ and the Town’s commitment to considering and protecting the environment. … The Town would continue its commitment to environmental sustainability in the watershed.”

The vote comes just months after board members appointed two “guardians”  to inform government discussions and represent the watershed and ecosystem.

Cemex fined $1.3M for air pollution

The embattled Cemex cement plant near Lyons was fined $1.3 million by state air pollution officials, Colorado Sun reported last week. The penalties come as Boulder County attempts to shut down operations. 

The recent fine is for air pollution discovered by inspectors in 2022 and 2023. State officials told Colorado Sun that $835,000 of the recent penalty will fund “environmental justice programs in neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by pollution.” The company also paid a $357,000 fine last year for similar violations in 2021. 

Last month, Boulder County terminated the plant’s right to keep operating, citing truck traffic that violated the terms of Cemex’s permits. The company is expected to respond this month.

$7M project will repair mobile homes

Major improvements are coming to Boulder County’s manufactured housing communities, courtesy of a Boulder County pilot program utilizing federal funds. The $7 million Mobile Home Communities Program — funded by the American Rescue Plan ($5 million) and Community Development Block Grants ($2 million) — will pay for repairs, insulation and weather proofing, according to a statement from the county. 

An initial $400,000 will be used to make upgrades to 30 mobile homes in two Boulder communities: Columbine (6292 Arapahoe Ave.) and Orchard Grove (3003 Valmont Road). The City of Boulder is a partner on the project, which will eventually expand to all mobile home parks in the county, officials say.

In a survey of 252 manufactured housing residents in Longmont and Lafayette, 25% of respondents rated the condition of their home as poor. 

Photo by Matt Hoffman on Unsplash

In other news…

• Boulder is set to begin “extensive citywide pothole patching” on its major streets, according to a news release from city officials, including Foothills Parkway, Arapahoe Avenue, 28th Street, 30th Street, Colorado Avenue, Table Mesa Drive, 9th Street, Broadway, Folsom Street, Valmont Road and Baseline Road.

“We will continue until dedicated funding is depleted,” says city spokesperson Aisha Ozaslan. “Internal staff are also focusing on pothole repairs to collector roads (which are, generally speaking, roads that connect local and arterial roads) and residential roads.”

Some of the biggest roadways — Arapahoe, 28th and Foothills — are owned by the Colorado Department of Transportation and maintained by the city.

“CDOT has not performed paving within city limits on CDOT owned roads since 2021 on 28th Street,” says Transportation and Mobility Director Natalie Stiffler, contributing to declining road conditions that have drawn the ire of residents. City council added $500,000 to the 2024 budget specifically for pothole patching and pavement maintenance.

Staffing and weather have also played a role; Colorado’s freeze-and-thaw cycle is particularly harsh on pavement.

“In addition to CDOT’s lack of preventative maintenance, we continue to see a 40% vacancy rate in the city’s transportation maintenance division,” Stiffler wrote in response to emailed questions. “For 2024, we’ve budgeted approximately $2.4M for reactive pavement repairs including potholes and patching. This does not include our annual preventative pavement management program that is approximately $5M annually.

“With changes in climate induced weather patterns, aging infrastructure, and staffing constraints we continue to be challenged to keep up with transportation maintenance needs. I’m optimistic that this special one-time effort will help us catch up in 2024.”

Residents can view city maintenance and construction projects at

• Meet the people running for local and statewide office at two upcoming events:

– Primary candidate forum hosted by PLAN-Boulder County and Empower Our Future: 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 21 at the Boulder Public Library (1001 Arapahoe Ave.) Free and open to the public.

– Candidate meet-and-greet hosted by Boulder Progressives: 2-4 p.m. Saturday, June 1 at Sanitas Brewing  Company (3550 Frontier Ave., Suite A, Boulder). Free, but space is limited. RSVP:

Look for Boulder Weekly’s primary vote guide, publishing June 6. 

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include additional information and statements from city transportation officials.


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