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Continued and New Community Projects

City Manager's Office


The objective of Boulder’s Resilience Strategy is to provide a roadmap for building resilience in the city organization and community through strategic and targeted changes in how the city conducts business and makes decision. The strategy identifies core areas where the city’s work has already helped advance resilience principles and established a strong foundation for future action; identifies specific actions for further embedding resilience principles and concepts into city operations; and defines an approach for developing an ethos of preparedness and vigilance in the community. The strategy was adopted by Council in Dec. 2016.

The three strategic areas of activity are:

Connect and Prepare 

Prepare all segments of the community for uncertainty and disruption by encouraging community preparedness, creating a culture of risk awareness and personalizing resilience. Preparing for future disruption is a core aspect of building community resilience. To address gaps in the city’s response to the 2013 flood, the city is preparing for future uncertainty by building robust and flexible local capacity, inclusive plans and new opportunities for community collaboration.

Partner and Innovate

Capitalize on the collective problem solving and creativity of Boulder’s community by leveraging advances in data, research and observations to address emerging resilience challenges. The complex issues which the Boulder community faces lack easy or obvious solutions. By developing mechanisms and partnerships for inclusive and collective problem-solving, Boulder can elicit novel and innovative answers from a broad pool of expertise, creativity and talent.

Transform and Integrate

Embed resilience into city operations and systems to transform Boulder’s approach to community resilience. Embedding resilience into long-held sustainability values creates systemic change for both the city and the larger community that allows us to better address a wide range of climate, economic and social challenges.

Innovation Architecture: Performance Measurement and Open Data

The Department of Innovation and Analytics works as a City-wide partner to improve overall city effectiveness. Our efforts are achieved through programs and initiatives focused on:

  • High Performance Government—Use process driven continuous improvement to measure and manage our performance and better serve our constituents; build and manage tools that improve transparency and accountability    
  • Data Driven Decision Making—Better understand, collaborate with, and leverage our information assets for more effective program outcomes
  • Operational Efficiency—Mirror our innovative policies with internal operations practices that are shared, efficient, and online
  • A Culture of Innovation—Reduce barriers to entry for value added changes, creative thinking, and collaboration; engage our highly talented staff in problem solving for the benefit of our entire community
  • Our Community as Resource—Find new solutions to our most pressing community challenges through new mechanisms for direct engagement with our highly talented community members

Volunteer Cooperative

The purpose of the City of Boulder’s Volunteer Cooperative is to strengthen existing volunteer programs, enhance volunteer connections and build more opportunities for community members to contribute to the City of Boulder and community goals. Volunteer Cooperative members are focused on improving community engagement, recruitment and organization of volunteers for disaster recovery while remaining committed to providing the highest quality of volunteer experience. Our mission is to support a community of service and our vision is an integrated network of resources and opportunities to strengthen community stewardship. A cross departmental staff team is working to implement tactics to support the mission and vision of the cooperative.  A component of the process is continuous feedback and input from volunteers, community members and organizational stakeholders.

Communication Department

Website Refresh – Digital Strategy

The website is one tool of a comprehensive digital strategy.  It was reviewed by the Public Participation Working Group (PPWG) as an opportunity to enhance community engagement, educate the community on key issues and connect a wider segment of the community to the city organization.  The website is the city’s strongest communication platform. A redesigned website would implement best practices shared across similar cities and would more readily accommodate new technology and applications that could be provided by a vendor.

The website redesign is a two-year process. The strategy will be developed in FY 2018 which will be an internal staff work group process.  This would include an RFI and assessment of available website applications, technologies and integration technologies to meet needs identified in the IT Strategic Plan as well as recommendations from the PPWG. FY 2018 also will include a website refresh to improve the user experience and prepare to migrate content to a redesigned website. In 2019, financial resources will be requested to implement the strategy. including website redesign. 

Community Vitality

Hill Community Development Program Implementation

The Hill Community Development program is part of the city’s Community Vitality Department and staffed by a full-time Hill Community Development Coordinator. The program promotes quality of life on University Hill for its residents, businesses and visitors. From 2014 to 2016, the “Hill Reinvestment Strategy” phase focused on engaging stakeholders, identifying priority improvements, and establishing long-term governance and funding mechanisms to continue efforts in partnership with Hill stakeholders. In 2017, the Hill Reinvestment Strategy transitioned to an ongoing Hill Community Development work plan. The Hill Reinvestment Working Group (HRWG), made up of representatives of 15 Hill stakeholder organizations, was established to advise and pursue the objectives of the Hill Community Development program.

In 2018, Hill Community Development efforts will focus on identifying and pursuing public-private partnerships to achieve the goals of the HRWG. These include:

  • Research and identify possible neighborhood conservation approaches;
  • Support Hill commercial area property owners exploring the feasibility of a Business Improvement District (BID) to raise funding for enhanced district marketing, ‘clean and safe’ efforts, landscaping and lighting;
  • Work with the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) to identify the best role for the university in long-term governance and funding for ongoing improvements on the Hill;
  • Partner with The Hill Boulder merchants’ association to develop a programming package for the newly constructed University Hill Event Street;
  • Promote ridership among potential users of the pilot Hill Employee EcoPass;
  • Continue to develop an Alley Enhancements Master Plan for the Hill Commercial Area; and
  • Continue to pursue a public-private partnership to construct a 250-room boutique hotel, 30,000 square feet of dining/retail and a 250-space public parking garage at Broadway & University.

Neighborhood Parking Permit Program Implementation

The Department of Community Vitality is undertaking a review of the 20-year old Neighborhood Permit Parking (NPP) Program through a process of community engagement. Established in the mid-1990s the residentially based parking management program balances neighborhood quality of life with public access to public streets.  The shared street approach prioritizes residential access through paid permits, accommodates commuter permits and short-term non-paid parking. The city currently has 12 zones surrounding traffic generating areas such as downtown, high schools and the University of Colorado.

During the fall of 2017, staff is working with residents, other stakeholders, and boards and commissions to reaffirm current programmatic goals, examine process improvements and provide recommendations for a more holistic approach to access to and use of parking spaces in the public right-of-way, as a community infrastructure and valuable public asset.  Several opportunities for improvement will be explored, including: processes and solutions for expanding and adding new NPP zones, appropriate permit pricing, overall program management and permit issuance, and more efficient and effective enforcement for NPP zones. The best practices from other communities will inform the program recommendations.   The NPP review will also explore options for newer mixed-use neighborhoods that vertically integrate residential and commercial uses that are not addressed in the existing program.   The Chautauqua Access Management Plan (CAMP) pilot is a parallel effort that informs the NPP review.

The summary of community feedback will be shared with City Council through an Information Packet in November.   Staff will present initial recommendations to the community and City Council in the first quarter of 2018. 

Chautauqua Access Management Parking Implementation

The purpose of the CAMP is to manage existing demand for transportation access to and from the Chautauqua area during the peak summer period in ways that minimize vehicular and parking impacts to surrounding neighbors, visitors and the area’s natural and cultural resources. The city initiated the CAMP process in response to the 2015 city lease with the Colorado Chautauqua Association (CCA) and successfully managed a pilot program in 2017 that included a free shuttle service with free satellite parking, paid parking, a Neighborhood Parking Permit program, an employee transportation demand management (TDM) program and discounted Lyft rides to and from Chautauqua. CAMP is an interdepartmental effort including Transportation, Open Space and Mountain Parks and Community Vitality. 

In April 2017, City Council approved the summer pilot to test various mitigation measures and assess effectiveness in achieving the plan’s purpose to inform development of a CAMP for implementation in future summers. Data collected during the pilot indicates several positive impacts, including an average of 873 daily shuttle riders, 20 percent reduction in overall parking utilization and 19,958 parking transactions over the course of the pilot with an average of 2.42 hours per stay.

At the October 24 study session, council discussed the 2017 summer pilot results and preliminary recommendations from staff that include the program continuing as an ongoing operation for the next five years with minor programmatic changes while other relevant studies and updates are completed, including the Open Space and Mountain Parks Master Plan. The preliminary recommendations and City Council feedback will be presented to boards and commissions throughout November and December 2017. Feedback from the boards and the community will be incorporated into final recommendations for the five year program, along with ordinance amendments required for implementation, to be presented to City Council in the first quarter of 2018.

Human Services

Human Services Strategy Implementation

On July 19, 2017, City Council approved the  Human Services Strategy (Strategy) 2017-2022. The Strategy is a five-year blueprint for city human services and identifies the city’s strategic goals, priorities and strategies that will guide work plans and investments over the next five years. The Strategy aligns city investments with priorities identified in providing city direct services, community funding, and building community partnerships.

The Strategy includes six key human services goal areas and related strategies:

  • A Good Start (children and youth)
  • Aging Well (older adults)
  • Economic Mobility & Resilience (poverty, income and affordability)
  • Health & Well-being (physical, mental and social health)
  • Homelessness (families and individuals)
  • Inclusive & Welcoming Community (cultural, social and economic inclusion)

The Strategy includes a new framework and guiding principles for investments, including greater focus on:

  • Upstream investments - investing in programs, services and systems which have greater impact on mitigating costlier interventions later and positive long-term outcomes for community members;
  • Data-driven decision-making -  focusing investments on efforts which have the greatest positive, long-term community impacts;
  • System and service integration and coordination - leveraging investments from other sectors and providing efficient and effective services for community members;
  • Strengthening community partnerships and integration for planning, developing and delivery of services; and
  • Maintaining and supporting a strong social safety net of services, while building greater long-term community resilience. 

In 2018 implementation includes:

  • Data and Analytics Work Plan
  • Developing action plans for new and expanded goal areas:
    • Economic Mobility and Resilience goal
    • Inclusive and Welcoming Community goal
    • Continued program coordination and integration with Boulder County and other community partner organizations
    • Implementation of new community funding strategies and priorities for the Human Services Fund and Youth Opportunities Fund
    • Expand child care subsidy program
    • Aligning direct service programs with priority strategies
  • Implementation of Homelessness Strategy including coordinated entry and, program based shelter, and navigation services for adults  
  • Continue inter-generational facilities planning in coordination with Civic Area and BCH site planning

Sugar Sweetened Beverage: Health Equity Advisory Committee

On Nov. 8, 2016, City of Boulder voters approved Ballot Issue 2H, which authorized the city to impose an excise tax of up to two cents per ounce on the first distributor in any chain of distribution of drinks with added sugar and sweeteners used to produce such drinks. Boulder Revised Code Section 3-16-1 outlines potential uses of tax revenue. It provides that revenue may be used to offset the administrative cost of the tax, and thereafter for the following purposes:

  • Health promotion;
  • General wellness programs and chronic disease prevention in the City of Boulder that improve health equity, such as access to safe and clean drinking water, healthy foods, nutrition and food education, physical activity; and
  • Other health programs especially for residents with low income and those most affected by chronic disease linked to sugary drink consumption.

The city created a funding program and RFP process for community programs to apply for HEF which meets the purpose and intention of the tax. To distribute funds collected through the tax for community programs, the city created a nine-member Health Equity Advisory Committee (HEAC) to review funding proposals and make funding recommendations to the city manager. 

Tax collection began on July 1, 2017. The city implemented a shortened fund round process for distribution of 2017 funds, limiting funding to existing community programs and services. Beginning in 2018, both new and existing community programs will be eligible for funding.

For 2017 funding, the city allocated $950,052 to 18 community programs addressing health promotion and health equity. 

Inclusive and Welcoming Community Work Plan

As part of ongoing dialogues taking place nationally, statewide and locally, the city manager outlined a work plan approved by City Council on April 7, 2015, to address community concerns and plan proactively to meet the city’s goal of being a safe, inclusive and welcoming community. 

The work plan includes:

  1. Address current community member vacancies on the Police Professional Standards Review Panel;
  2. Ensure the structure and process of the Police Professional Standards Review Panel remains a best practice;
  3. Provide objective, transparent analysis and information through an independent review of the Police Department’s arrest and summons data; and
  4. Support the Human Relations Commission (HRC) in its role to advise council on efforts that foster inclusivity and community building in Boulder. 

Items 1-3 were completed in 2016 and resulted in the Hillard-Heinz Report and ongoing workplan initiatives implemented in by the Boulder Police Department.

The fourth item resulted in the city commissioning a Community Perception Assessment (CPA) to gather more specific information from community members to inform city policies and programs and to help guide the Human Services Department and HRC annual work plans. The CPA report was completed in April 2017, with specific recommendations for plans of action for the city and community.

A community meeting is scheduled for Nov. 29, 2017 to debrief the report and gather community feedback on priorities for future city work.

Open Space and Mountain Parks

Regional Trails

OSMP is participating in the planning and building of regional trails as one of the department’s priorities. Staff is committed to working with other city departments, Boulder County and other partner agencies to advance regional trail connections. In 2018, OSMP anticipates participating in several regional trail projects, including:

Boulder Creek Path Extension: Boulder County is the lead agency for the CDOT-City-County joint project extending the Boulder Creek Trail to connect with the city’s Chapman Drive Trailhead and eventually Betasso Preserve, which is managed by the county. The city will continue to fulfill its responsibility for funding the project in 2018. The county will continue permitting and refining the project design, with construction anticipated to begin in 2018.

Rocky Mountain Greenway : The overarching goal of this multi-agency effort is to create regional trail connections between the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Two Ponds NWR, Rocky Flats NWR and Rocky Mountain National Park. OSMP staff contributed to both a feasibility study for trail connections between Rocky Flats NWR and Boulder, as well as a collaborative grant application led by Jefferson County to plan and construct a trail connection between Rocky Flats NWR and city and county open spaces north of Highway 128. Grant funding has been allocated for this project by the Federal Lands Access Program. OSMP staff will continue to provide assistance to integrate city interests, including public safety, resource and visitor experience considerations, into the grant project and the ongoing feasibility study assessing trail connections between Boulder and Lyons.

Joder to Heil Valley Ranch Connection: City staff will continue to work with partners at Boulder County Parks and Open Space on long-term plans to develop a trail connection from the western part of the city’s Joder property to the county’s Heil Valley Ranch property, which is accessible from Lefthand Canyon Drive.

Eldorado Canyon to Walker Ranch: Boulder County is the lead agency for the “Eldo-to-Walker” trail. City, county and state staff continue work on the evaluation of alternative trail alignments and anticipate presenting findings to the appropriate appointed and elected officials in 2018.

Colorado the Beautiful “16 in 2016” Initiative: This initiative represents the state’s 16 most important trail gaps, missing trail segments and unbuilt trails from the Front Range to southwestern Colorado. Identification of the 16 trails is designed to build upon strong existing support and partnerships to push them to completion, and start a more focused, coordinated conversation to support trails and promote outdoor recreation across Colorado. Of the 16 trails in the initiative, three are likely to be part of the OSMP network, including the Eldo-to-Walker Trail, The Front Range Trail and the Rocky Mountain Greenway.

Local and Regional Trail Assessment:  In 2018, OSMP staff will undertake an assessment of existing and proposed regional and local connections between adjacent agency trails, community trails and the OSMP trail system. The purpose of the assessment is to develop a more comprehensive picture of existing and desired connections, along with potential gaps, that can help guide and inform where the best opportunities reside for OSMP to collaborate and align efforts with partner agencies to complete trail connections. 

North Foothills and Wonderland Lake Pilot Integrated Site Plans

OSMP staff will be continuing work started in 2017 on two pilot Integrated Site Plans for the North Foothills and Wonderland Lake areas to aid in the design and implementation of actions approved in the North Trail Study Area Plan. The purpose of Integrated Site Plans is to create a coordinated and collaborative approach to design and implement plan actions with education, volunteer activities, infrastructure maintenance and ranger patrol for a specific geographic area. Site plans take into consideration all of OSMP services including natural, agricultural, recreational, cultural and scenic resources and are developed at a scale that allows projects to be implemented with clear guidance on constructability and materials. The completion of both site plans is anticipated for late 2018 or early 2019.

Prairie Dog Working Group

In 2016, City Council suggested the city form a working group that could suggest, based on a broad understanding of the full range of community perspectives, adaptable prairie dog management practices to be implemented under existing policy, as well as possible longer-term policy changes. The working group was formed to provide a forum for conversation. It also was intended to help develop innovative ideas to best balance city goals, such as managing diverse grassland ecosystems and agricultural practices while providing for healthy, sustainable prairie dog populations – all while maintaining good-neighbor relations. The first phase of the project and recommendations from the working group were completed in 2017, resulting in recommendations that describe the new and/or modified, consensus-based management practices that can be implemented under existing plans and policies. The second phase beginning at the end of 2017 will continue through 2018. This phase focuses on working-group recommendations that are longer-term in nature or would require changes to existing plans and policies. It is anticipated that a study session with City Council would occur in the second quarter of 2018 to discuss the working group’s second-phase recommendations.

Parks and Recreation

Construction Launch: Scott Carpenter Pool and Boulder Reservoir Visitor Services Center Replacement

Building on community engagement to develop the concepts and designs for these projects, in 2018 Parks and Recreation will issue requests for bids for the replacement of the past their life-cycle Scott Carpenter Pool and Boulder Reservoir Visitor Services Center. Construction on both projects is anticipated to begin at the completion of the peak season in September 2018 with new amenities planned to open for summer 2019. Both projects are informed by extensive community input and the 2014 Parks and Recreation Master Plan, as well as sub-plans the 2012 Boulder Reservoir Master Plan and 2015 Aquatics Feasibility Plan.

Health Promotion to Low-Income Youth and Families, funded by the Sugary Sweetened Beverage Distribution Tax

Boulder Parks and Recreation (BPR) is implementing two new initiatives funded by Health Equity Advisory Committee awarded grants. The first, Dream Big: Healthy Together, is an innovative collaboration between BPR, Boulder Housing Partners and “I Have A Dream” Foundation of Boulder County. The Dream Big: Healthy Together initiative seeks to ensure low-income, primarily Latino youth and families, have access to physical activity opportunities aimed at preventing and eliminating health disparities by supporting overall health among Boulder’s low-income housing communities. The grant will expand and enhance existing “I Have A Dream” and YSI programming at BHP sites through youth health and wellness activities, nutritional snack availability, regular after-school programming, parent classes, and adult fitness teacher training to impact health outcomes. More than 90 youth and their families will benefit from the program which will include residents living in and around four BHP housing sites, including Red Oak, Diagonal Court, Broadway East and Kalmia.

The second initiative expands recreation facility and program access to families and seniors living in low-income housing. With this infusion of funding, BPR is piloting 100 percent subsidized access to department facilities and programs for residents living in Boulder Housing Partners low-income housing sites. The pilot will help identify barriers, beyond financial, that impact community members’ ability to work toward health and wellness goals and steer future efforts to increase access and participation by all members of the community.

Urban Forest Strategic Plan

In response to recent and potential impacts to Boulder’s urban tree canopy including, but not limited to, the current Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation, climate change, and individual severe weather events such as the 2002 drought and extreme temperature fluctuations, Boulder’s Parks and Recreation Department will complete a broader scope Urban Forest Strategic Plan. The plan will capitalize on the recently completed public tree inventory and make recommendations for urban tree management for city parks and street rights-of-way. The plan is scheduled for completion in 2018 and will build on technical assessments and community input on long term urban canopy goals, tree diversification goals, urban heat island mitigation, prioritization of tree planting activities, pesticide use guidelines for public trees, opportunities to optimize rooftop solar capture capacity via trees, and outreach and education regarding the benefits of the urban canopy.

Civic Area: Enhanced Park Operations and Maintenance, Phase II Exploration

In June 2015, the City Council accepted the updated Boulder Civic Area Master Plan, which defines the overall concept for the site and establishes criteria and guidelines for the consideration of specific improvements. The site includes the area between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue and 9th and 14th streets. The 2015 Civic Area Master Plan replaced the 1992 Civic Center Master Plan and builds on the 2013 Vision Plan. The long-term vision is to transform the Civic Area into an even more unique place that reflects the community’s shared values and its diversity, providing space and programs for people to gather, recreate, eat, learn, deliberate and innovate. The plan establishes the goals, guiding principles and core themes for Civic Area implementation. This major planning effort is now an integral element of the Central Broadway planning effort.

As plans for future park development and Civic Area transformation are developed, in 2018 Parks and Recreation will focus on the operations and activation of the new Park at the Core. The activation efforts will focus on fostering both active and passive use of the park as vibrant public space. The operations efforts will ensure this new park is maintained to the community’s high expectations and also evaluate appropriate staffing levels to support the new playground and horticulture areas.

Planning, Housing and Sustainability

Design Excellence

The Design Excellence Initiative was informed by the Sept. 16, 2014, City Council motion that directed staff to provide recommendations to help increase the predictability of the discretionary review process, improve the public realm, and lead to the design of better buildings and public spaces.

The primary areas of focus of the Design Excellence Initiative include:

  • Conducting public design forums through lectures and workshops;
  • Evaluating built projects relative to plans, codes, and design metrics to determine if desired outcomes are being met;
  • Identifying specific problems and issues to be addressed to meet community expectations; and,
  • Developing and adopting specific tools, code changes, process changes, and/or design review criteria to achieve better design outcomes.   

Several aspects of the Initiative are ongoing. These include:

  • Implementing a more rigorous, integrated staff design review process on Site Review and Technical Document applications.  This includes requiring more design details and information in the early stages.  This process has been applied to approximately 30-35 Site Reviews and 18 Technical Document submittals over the course of the last year.
  • Implementing an architecture and landscape inspection process through a new city staff position.  This program is designed to ensure the design elements identified in the design/review stage are carried forward to the projects as built.  Thus far, staff has conducted 24 “rough” and 27 “final” inspections. The new inspections have improved the ability of the city to identify projects not conforming to agreed-upon design standards.
  • Piloting a Form-Based Code (FBC) and assessing the design/built outcomes on FBC Projects.  The first projects designed and reviewed under the FBC are in various stages.  These include:
    • 3200 Bluff - Airgas (in review)
    • 30th and Pearl (pending)
  • Design staff involvement and review of various planning, redevelopment, and capital improvement projects across the city to ensure high quality design of the public realm.  These projects include the Civic Area, Andrews Arboretum, Alpine-Balsam Medical Office Pavilion Reuse Analysis, Canyon Complete Streets, two corridor projects (30th & Colorado and East Arapahoe), CU Hotel/Conference Center, University Hill Alley Improvements and Event Street, and the Urban Canopy Strategic Plan.

Other manifestations of the Design Excellence Initiative anticipated for 2018 include:

  • Design staff participation in the effort to develop code amendments relative to applications for height modifications and the provision of affordable housing.
  • Design staff participation in the Alpine-Balsam Area Plan.
  • Design staff participation in the Civic Area East Bookend concept level site planning.

No direct council action anticipated in 2018.

Climate Action Plan Tax Alternatives

The programs and policies within the Climate + Sustainability (C+S) division are currently funded by the Climate Action Plan (CAP) Tax, which was extended to March 31, 2023 per a ballot measure in 2015. The CAP tax was the nation’s first voter-approved tax dedicated to addressing climate change. Accomplishments attributed to the CAP Tax include:

  • Stopping the growth of greenhouse gas emissions and achieved real emissions reductions
  • Helping thousands of residents and businesses implement energy efficiency improvements at home and at work
  • Increasing the number of property owners and tenants investing in, and benefitting from, energy efficiency programs
  • Earning Boulder one of highest rates of installed solar capacity per capita in the United States, and recognition as a Platinum-level Solar Friendly Community
  • Piloting new programs and approaches that have been replicated across Colorado

Since implementation of the tax, a number of issues have evolved that make this an unsustainable long-term funding source. Staff will begin to explore alternate options in 2018. An alternative funding mechanism should better align with the community vision and goals for a city powered by clean, renewable energy, and should provide a sustainable source of funding for necessary programs. Staff expects to have constraints defined and preliminary options developed by mid to late 2018, at which point feedback will be solicited from the community, boards and council. Staff will potentially bring forward a new ballot measure for an alternate tax or fee (which would replace the CAP Tax) in 2020. Implementation of the alternate tax or fee would begin at the start of 2022 (one year before the current CAP Tax is set to expire).

The city’s current CAP Tax is not a viable long-term source of funding for the following reasons:

  1. The CAP Tax does not function like a true carbon tax, and does not penalize the most polluting fuel sources.
    1. The CAP Tax taxes electricity consumption, but electricity is the one fuel source that can be replaced by clean, renewable energy. Because the city has a goal of having 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, the city is trying to encourage people to transition from natural gas and petroleum powered devices (i.e. furnaces and gasoline vehicles) to electric heat pumps and electric vehicles. The current tax is working against the incentives and disincentives that are intended.  A true carbon tax would have different rates for various fuels based on their carbon emissions, and should more closely reflect the true societal cost of carbon emissions.
  2. The CAP Tax is not a sustainable source of funding.
  3. As electricity use declines (a goal of the C+S programs and policies), the annual revenue collected by the CAP Tax declines as well.
  4. Since 2015, the city has added a major new policy and program (the Building Performance Program), partially funded a new FTE to support the city’s energy codes, initiated citywide climate support services to help reduce organizational carbon emissions, and adopted aggressive new community wide Climate Commitment goals. The city needs to ramp up efforts and expand programs to meet the aggressive targets set by council, and staff is working with less and less funding each year.
  5. Municipalization is a possible solution for the funding issue, but there remain uncertainties as to whether it will occur, and even if it does occur it is a long way off.

Short-term Rentals/Cooperative Housing

The city currently administers the Rental Housing Licensing Program for long-term rentals, which are residential properties rented for a period of more than 30 days, and short-term rentals, which are properties that are rented for less than 30 days at a time. Implementation of the short-term rental ordinance began in January 2016.

Since implementation of the ordinance, staff has collected and provided council with data regarding enforcement of both short-term and long-term rentals and has obtained council direction regarding amendments to the short-term rental regulations. Changes to the short-term rental regulations were considered and implemented in November 2016.

In 2016, Council considered an ordinance intended to expand the availability of cooperating housing units and to establish requirements for licensing housing cooperatives. On Feb. 16, 2017, the cooperative housing ordinance took effect, and on July 3, 2017, the city began accepting cooperative housing license applications.

An update on implementation will be provided to council during the last quarter of 2017, along with issues that have been identified to date and potential solutions, some of which may have code implications. Any code changes proposed as a result of that discussion would be developed for council consideration during the first quarter of 2018.

Developing Five Year Action Plan for Climate

The division of Climate + Sustainability will begin to develop the Climate Commitment Action Plan in 2018. This will provide strategies and implementation actions for the next five years in support of the goals, long-term pathway and vision laid out in the city’s Climate Commitment (approved by council in December 2016). The Climate Commitment Action Plan will be an internal strategy that will evolve over time based on changing needs and external circumstances. It will likely be updated every two or three years. This first iteration will focus on providing a detailed energy strategy that puts Boulder on the path to transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy. An outline of the strategy will be provided for the other three components of the Climate Commitment (Resources, Ecosystems, and Community Climate Action), with future iterations providing detailed action plans.


Community Dialogue and Engagement Panel 

The Boulder Police Department is committed to a philosophy of community policing. This involves building partnerships with the community to share information and work together to prevent and address crime and crime-related issues. The Community Dialogue and Engagement Panel is a venue for open dialogue regarding trends in law enforcement and other significant community issues, community policing strategies and increasing public awareness about the department. The panel is not a review board of any specific police action, whether internal or external, and will not provide input or discuss specific employee personnel issues. A separate panel called the Professional Standards Review Panel reviews allegations of serious misconduct filed against department members and provides recommendations to the Chief of Police. Twelve panel members were selected in January 2017.  The panel meets on the first Thursday of every other month and has met six times in 2017. This meeting schedule will reoccur annually. 

Public Works

Betasso Water Treatment Facility Upgrade

The Betasso Water Treatment Facility is located in the foothills west of the city and treats water from mountain reservoirs prior to delivery to customers. A major rehabilitation of the aging facility began in the third quarter of 2016 and is expected to continue through late 2018. Because the facility is the city’s primary source of drinking water, work is being phased to allow continued operation during construction. There will be several complete shutdowns during low water demand periods when the city will rely solely on the secondary Boulder Reservoir Water Treatment Facility for drinking water supply.  The overall project budget is just under $35 million. For more detailed information, please visit

South Boulder Creek Flood Mitigation

South Boulder Creek has flooded numerous times during the city’s history with recorded events as early as 1894. The associated floodplain was originally mapped in 1986 and was updated in 2009 following over a decade of additional study. A flood mitigation study was initiated in late 2009 and accepted by City Council in Aug. 4, 2015, following an extensive alternatives analysis. The 2015 plan proposes mitigation in three phases, including improvements upstream of U.S. 36, in the area of Manhattan Middle School, and at the Flatirons Golf Course. Improvements upstream of U.S. 36 have been identified as the top funding priority and would significantly reduce risks associated with South Boulder Creek overtopping U.S. 36 and flowing into the Frasier Meadows neighborhood. This flow path, referred to as the “West Valley Overflow,” occurred in both 1969 and 2013, resulting in significant impacts to downstream neighborhoods. 

The 2015 mitigation plan identifies land owned by the University of Colorado as the preferred location for a flood detention facility to capture the West Valley Overflow. This facility is commonly referred to as “Option D” and was one of seven conceptual detention options advanced for consideration in the final flood mitigation study. As part of the acceptance of the mitigation plan, council directed staff to initiate discussions with CU about acquisition of the necessary property. CU expressed a willingness to provide land for flood mitigation as part of an agreement with the city regarding future uses of the overall site. A public process to determine appropriate future land uses was initiated as part of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan Update and completed in 2017.

The city is currently working with CU to develop an annexation agreement that would seek to address numerous competing interests. Preliminary engineering, including further evaluation of requests identified through the BVCP update, is proceeding concurrently with annexation discussions. The ability to finalize a design and implement mitigation is contingent on the city obtaining the land necessary to complete the project.     

The 2017 budget included funding for preliminary design of flood mitigation, which will advance in 2018. City Council will likely be asked to provide input on the annexation process and terms during 2018. Council action on an annexation agreement will be subject to reaching a tentative agreement with CU. Bond funding for the flood mitigation project is identified in the 2019 capital improvements program and would require council action through the budget process. 

SmartRegs Compliance and Outreach

The SmartRegs policy was adopted by council in November 2010, and implemented in January 2011. Property owners had two rental licensing cycles (four years each) or eight years total to comply with the SmartRegs requirement.  Dec. 31, 2018 is the deadline to achieve SmartRegs compliance. Rental property owners have one year remaining to reach basic energy efficiency standards in their rental properties, as administered through the rental housing licensing program.

The city uses a 20,000-rental unit baseline, which accounts for nearly half the residential housing stock. As of September 2017, over 96 percent of those units are engaged with the SmartRegs process, and 81 percent of those are compliant. However, since the rental market has increased noticeably over the last few years, city staff is in the process of adjusting the rental license numbers and will indicate an increase in the rental unit baseline to approximately 23,000 units.

When SmartRegs was launched, the city committed to a few years of fully subsidized services and rebates to help property owners comply and to encourage prompt action. The city continues to aid and encourage early compliance. In 2017, the city implemented a service fee and continued it in 2018 to help partially fund the assistance services through EnergySmart. 

The city and its EnergySmart contractor, CLEAResult, continue to work with the Boulder Area Rental Housing Association (BARHA) and the remaining non-compliant property owners to reach SmartRegs compliance. For property owners finding the SmartRegs requirements challenging to reach, the policy included a Technically Impractical (TI) pathway, with the option to purchase energy offsets to reach full compliance. In 2017, the city defined the TI application process and is now educating property owners who find basic efficiency standards difficult to achieve on their properties. As the SmartRegs deadline approaches, council will be updated on the program’s progress.

Neighborhood Speed Management Program

Starting in fall 2017, the City of Boulder will begin to implement the new Neighborhood Speed Management Program (NSMP). The focus of the NSMP is to improve livability by reducing speeding traffic on neighborhood streets. The NSMP has four components: engineering, enforcement, education, and evaluation. The program is a resident-initiated process with neighbors applying to the city to enter the program. City staff will work with several neighborhoods each year to identify the best engineering speed management strategy for each location, and all applicants will receive enforcement and education tools.

The NSMP is tied to the City of Boulder’s Transportation Master Plan and Toward Vision Zero goal of improving safety for all modes of travel, ultimately reaching zero serious injury and fatal crashes. The NSMP supports this goal by reducing speeding traffic on neighborhood streets, which can reduce the frequency and severity of crashes.  Reducing speeding traffic can also help people feel more comfortable walking and biking, which leads to an increase in walking and biking trips and supports the city’s overall climate and sustainability goals. For more information on the NSMP, please visit:

Comprehensive Flood and Stormwater Utility Master Plan Update

The Comprehensive Flood and Stormwater Master Plan (CFS) is the policy that guides flood management, stormwater drainage (detention, retention and sewers), and stormwater quality in the city. The last update to the plan was accepted by City Council in 2004.  Significant work has been completed since that time and a major flood event in September 2013 has influenced the public’s perceptions related to flooding. An update to the CFS will be initiated in 2018 to evaluate the following types of considerations:

  • Climate change
  • Floodplain, stormwater, water quality and groundwater regulations
  • Floodplain mapping practices
  • Prioritization of capital improvement projects

The CFS update will include a public process to gather ideas and feedback from the community. The Urban Drainage and Flood Control District will also contribute funding and assistance.

Fourmile Canyon Creek Greenways Improvement Project

This project includes creek channel improvements, construction of a multi-use path connection between 19 th Street and Broadway and the replacement of two structurally deficient bridges at Violet Avenue and Upland Avenue with bicycle/pedestrian underpasses that also serve a flood benefit. The project provides a missing link in the path system, with safer access to Crest View Elementary School for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Preliminary design is currently underway and final design is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2018, with a 2-year construction period to follow.  Funding for transportation components of the project is proposed to come from the Community Culture and Safety Tax extension and will influence the final scope and timing of the project.

Community, Culture and Safety Tax Implementation   

In November 2014, Boulder voters passed the Community, Culture and Safety tax. This temporary, 0.3 percent sales tax increase provided approximately $27 million over three years to improve community spaces, bolster cultural projects and organizations and enhance safety in and around Downtown Boulder. A total of twelve projects were funded by the tax. As of October 2017, six projects have been completed. The remaining projects are:

  • Civic Area Improvements – under construction, expected to be substantially complete in December 2017
  • Chautauqua Phase 1 Lighting Improvements – in planning, pending approval of landmarks board approval of lighting master plan, work should begin in 2018
  • Public Arts Projects – in solicitation and selection phase installation will continue into 2019
  • Boulder Creek Lighting and Path Improvements – West end under construction, east end in planning and design
  • University Hill Event Street – under construction, installation of light fixtures and completion expected in November 2017
  • Boulder Creek Arapahoe and 13 th Underpass – in final design, construction expected to start Summer 2018

Planning and design work will continue into 2018, with construction anticipated to finish in early 2019.

The 0.3 percent sales tax increase will expire on Dec. 31, 2017. A community advisory committee was formed to develop a recommended package of projects for the renewal of the tax. In November 2017, city voters approved a four-year extension of the tax to fund an additional thirteen city and community projects. Voters also approved a ballot item to allow the city to issue debt to fund construction of city projects that are ready before sales tax revenues are collected. Implementation of the renewal will begin in early 2018, and debt may be issued by mid-to-late 2018.

Outdoor Lighting Ordinance

The Boulder City Council adopted the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance in July 2003 as an amendment to the Land Use Code (9-9-16 B.R.C. 1981). The stated purpose of this ordinance included providing adequate light for safety and security; promoting efficient and cost effective lighting and to conserve energy; reducing light pollution and offensive light sources; and establishing an amortization program to remove or replace light fixtures that exceed the adopted requirements.

The purpose of this item is to inform the Council that staff intends to bring forward changes to the Outdoor Lighting regulations of 9-9-16 B.R.C. 1981. The proposed changes include shifting the existing outdoor lighting amortization deadline to align with the Building Performance Ordinance (BPO).  The result of this change will be a citywide deadline for compliance with the 9-9-16 standards in 2021, where the prior deadline was July of 2018. This change is intended to adjust the amortization deadline only, and will not alter the adopted redevelopment thresholds that have, and will continue going forward, required partial or total compliance with 9-9-16 as cumulative redevelopment project valuations have been triggered.

The scope of the ordinance applies to all exterior lighting within the city, including private and publicly held properties. Compliance with the ordinance has been and will continue to be required for all new development proposed since initial adoption and implementation of the regulations. For pre-existing projects or conditions, the adopted ordinance included an amortization deadline that requires all exterior lighting fixtures which do not conform to the adopted standards to be brought into compliance no later than 15 years from the date of adoption. Similarly, redevelopment thresholds exist for pre-existing projects or conditions that result in incremental lighting improvements for addition, remodel, or tenant improvement projects leading up to the amortization deadline. These required improvements are directly related to the amount of investment being made in a particular property, and are intended to be proportional to the valuation of the proposed work relative to the assessed value of the existing structure(s). If the individual or cumulative valuation of proposed and previously approved permitted work since 2003 meet a particular threshold, then incremental compliance is required.

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