After purchasing the Boulder Community Health (BCH) properties in December 2015, the city led an intensive planning and community engagement process from fall 2016 through spring 2017 to develop the Alpine-Balsam Vision Plan. The Alpine-Balsam Vision Plan is intended to guide the redevelopment of the site; it identifies the desired future for the city-purchased sites and the surrounding neighborhoods, with Guiding Principles to inform future planning and development.
The Vision Plan process explored the potential of the site and asked about the community’s hopes, concerns and vision for the future of Alpine-Balsam. Residents participated in a variety of community engagement activities that included community workshops, an open house, pop-up events, and various opportunities for online input. Through this outreach, it was clear that Alpine-Balsam is a thriving neighborhood described as having many of the conveniences of city life within walking distance including shops, restaurants, medical services, a neighborhood school, and the North Boulder Park for recreation. However, with the closing of the hospital, some have expressed concern about the loss of activity. The input gathered throughout the Vision Plan process helped to generate a vision the
“Alpine-Balsam will be a vibrant multi-generational hub for community life and local government services—a welcoming and inclusive new model for equitable, affordable, and sustainable living.”
The Vision Plan was a first step in the planning process for Alpine-Balsam, and will be followed by more detailed Area Plan process. The Area Plan process will take place from Spring 2018 through mid-2019, and will include a range of community engagement events to help shape the final plan.
On June 6, 2017, Boulder City Council accepted the Vision Plan and guiding principles to inform future planning and development. Each guiding principle is further supported by strategies that identify “what” will be addressed and performance criteria that identify “how” the principles will be supported. Community input helped form the backbone for each of these components in the Vision Plan.
Alpine-Balsam Vision Plan Guiding Principles:
Respect the site’s physical environment.
Create a vibrant place for community gathering.
Capture synergies with mixed-use development.
Serve as a model for equity, affordability and sustainability.
Innovate planning, design and delivery processes.
Guiding Principle No.1: Respect the Site's Physical Environment
Alpine-Balsam will enhance the neighborhood with quality design and improved connections to the site and neighborhood destinations. To do so, the future plan will address design quality and character, neighborhood connections and crossings, creek, floodplain and watershed issues, and exterior lighting.
Guiding Principle No.2: Create a Vibrant Place for Community Gathering
Alpine-Balsam will become a center of community activity along Boulder's most important transit corridor, with active destinations for shopping, gathering and community services. Streets, sidewalks, plazas and ground floor spaces should be developed carefully to create an active and walkable urban fabric, with varied and defined open spaces and places for arts, culture and multi-generational activities.
Guiding Principle No.3: Capture Synergies with Mixed-Use
Alpine-Balsam will be developed as a vibrant mixed-use place, with a mix of uses designed to capture synergies-residents will access a range of goods and services that support basic living, transit to and from work, and access to parks and recreation within a 15-minute walk-- and commercial and public uses will increase daytime activity supporting retail, transit and other amenities. Economic analysis is needed to inform detailed decisions about the types and quantities of uses.
Guiding Principle No.4: Serve as a Model for Equity, Affordability and Sustainability
Alpine-Balsam will be a model of affordable and sustainable living in Boulder, and will set and meet social equity goals for design, construction and operations. Affordable housing, high performance buildings, multimodal transportation and local business support are key strategies for affordable living. buildings and site development will demonstrate best-practices sustainable design with respect to energy, water, waste, materials and ecosystems.
Guiding Principle No.5: Innovate Planning, Design and Delivery Processes
Alpine-Balsam is an exemplar as it poses an opportunity for Boulder to manifest its vision and values. Embrace innovative processes for engaging the community, leveraging expertise, reviewing and adapting city standards, financing and project delivery, and developing sustainable urbanism.
Vision Plan Process Materials
8/22/2017: City Council Study Session
2015 Boulder Valley Comprehensive (BVCP) Implementation: Action Plan including Discussion of Building Height (up to City Charter 55-foot limit), Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), and Subcommunity and Area Planning for Alpine-Balsam
6/6/2017: City Council Agenda Item
Acceptance of the Central Broadway Corridor Design Framework and Alpine-Balsam Vision Plan
5/2/2017: City Council Agenda Item
Central Broadway Corridor Design Framework and the Alpine-Balsam Vision Plan
2/28/2017: City Council Study Session
Central Broadway Corridor Design Framework, Alpine-Balsam Project, Reuse of the Medical Office Pavilion, and City Facilities Assessment
11/15/2016: City Council Agenda Item
Update and Council Input on Central Boulder Planning Projects: Alpine-Balsam, Civic Area, and City Facilities Assessment
1/18/2017: Community Workshop
At this community workshop, participants brainstormed how the site might be redeveloped through hands-on activities. They considered questions like: What’s the right mix of uses for the Alpine-Balsam site? How much affordable housing, green space, retail space or other uses should be there? Where should city facilities be located?
September & October 2016: Pop-Up Events
These Pop-Up Events were created to share the Alpine-Balsam Visioning effort with both the surrounding neighborhoods and the broader community. The Pop-Up Events were designed to intercept folks in various locations to provide project information as well as gather input into the early phases of the work, including visioning, neighborhood values and civic uses.
9/8/2016: Community Visioning
The Community Visioning Workshop included multiple activities for community members to share ideas, insights, and perspectives.
Spring & Summer 2016: Storytelling
In the spring and summer of 2016, members of the community shared memories, hopes, history, and ideas to capture the history and character of areas surrounding the BCH-Broadway campus.