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Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan - 2015 Major Update


The city and Boulder County jointly adopted the 2015 Major Update to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP) pdf in August of 2017.  Since the plan was first approved in 1977, this is the seventh major update. The BVCP articulates the community’s vision for the future and details policies representing long-standing community core values such as open space preservation and compact, sustainable urban form.  Its policies are organized around the Sustainability Framework for a range of topics, including: intergovernmental cooperation and growth management, built environment, natural environment, energy and climate, economy, transportation, housing, community well-being and safety, agriculture and food, and local governance and community engagement. The updated plan includes guidance for resilience and sustainability, diversity of housing including for middle incomes, achieving greater community benefits, arts and culture, and other refreshed policies.

The BVCP Land Use Designation Map delineates the desired land use pattern for the Boulder Valley, and the BVCP Area I, Area II, Area III Map provides direction for future growth of the valley. 

Status and Next Steps for Implementation

In September 2017, City Council approved the BVCP Action Plan and identified the following near-term items for focus in 2017 and 2018:

  1. Prepare an Alpine-Balsam area plan, including coordination with Boulder County regarding the Iris and Broadway site. (See Central Broadway:  Alpine-Balsam and Civic Area Redevelopment description.)
  2. Coordinate and plan for public engagement for CU South, including flood mitigation, open space planning, and site master planning toward an intergovernmental agreement and annexation. (See also South Boulder Creek Flood Mitigation description.)
  3. Prepare Land Use Code amendments to address height modifications through site review (up to the City Charter 55-foot height limit) and address the affordable housing community benefit by July 2018.
  4. Prepare incremental Land Use Code amendments for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to address barriers to creating new units and support affordable housing goals.
  5. Initiate the Neighborhood Planning/Residential Infill Pilot project, including defining the project purpose and criteria for neighborhoods or other groups to apply and propose a project(s).
  6. Initiate other Land Use Code Amendments to address Enhanced Community Benefit/Site Review, including some code maintenance updates from the on-going proposed code amendment list. 

Other items included in the Action Plan that may begin as early as 2019 are: 

  1. Begin Phase 2 of Transit Village Area Plan.
  2. Initiate area planning for 55th Street and Arapahoe Avenue area.
  3. Amend the Land Use Code for BR-1 and BC-2 to achieve a beneficial character and mix of uses and encourage future housing opportunities in the Boulder Valley Regional Center.
  4. Amend the Land Use Code for Light Industrial Areas and the General Industrial (GI) zoning district to maintain economic vitality, while encouraging sustainable character and form and some use mix including housing as appropriate.
  5. Update the BVCP Natural Ecosystems Map.
  6. Refine the BVCP Indicators

Council Action

  • First Quarter 2018 – Study Session on Central Broadway projects including Alpine-Balsam; check in on CU South/South Boulder Creek Flood Mitigation; direction of other code amendments, including Building Height and ADUs
  • Second Quarter 2018 – Study Session on Central Broadway projects; direction on Building  Height code amendments and ADUs. 


Jean Gatza, Senior Planner, [email protected] or 303-441-4907. 

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