North Boulder Subcommunity Plan
In 1995, the City of Boulder adopted the North Boulder Subcommunity Plan to guide the significant amount of development and redevelopment that was expected in North Boulder, the area of the city with the most vacant land at that time. The North Boulder Subcommunity Plan, amended in 1996 and 1997, has helped shape the mixed-use, retail, and residential development patterns in North Boulder. Since 1995, approximately 1,700 new housing units and 500,000 square feet of new nonresidential space have been built. The planning area is largely built-out; though a few significant sites in the Village Center and north of Yarmouth Street have not yet been redeveloped.
In June 2012, City Council identified planning for the commercial area in North Boulder as a priority work plan item for 2013. Council directed staff to update the plan to:
- analyze what has occurred in the North Broadway commercial area since the 1995 plan was adopted;
- identify current market conditions; and,
- address new conditions in the 100-year floodplain, the possible need for grocery or retail to anchor the Village Center, and expansion of arts, culture, and a new library.
Status and Potential Next Steps
In 2013, city staff completed a background analysis, identified issues, and started a process of community engagement as a foundation for the development of policy choices. Staff has completed a North Broadway Market Study, analyzed changes since the 1995 plan adoption, conducted focused community conversations, and held one public open house on Oct. 30, 2013.
In response to September 2013 flooding, Community Planning & Sustainability (CP&S) Department staff are working in close coordination with Utilities Division staff to assess how the plan update can be responsive to the North Boulder-specific flood assessment and mitigation planning. The next step will be to develop and discuss key choices with the community, Planning Board and City Council.
- First Quarter 2014 – City Council will receive an information packet with updates about the market study, community feedback, and proposed next steps, including preliminary policy choices, flood-related issues and timing.
- Second Quarter 2014 – City Council will discuss key choices and directions for the North Boulder Subcommunity Plan.
North Boulder (NoBo) Arts District Update
Based on a request from the fledgling NoBo Arts District, the Art and Culture Program will work with city staff, the Boulder Arts Commission, other city boards and commissions, and the community to develop and propose a process by which the city can confer district designation for concentrations of creative businesses. The resulting process will accomplish the following proposed goals.
- Formalize the relationship between the city and recognized creative districts.
- Provide tools with which the city can contribute to the success and sustainability of creative districts.
- Establish structures that will maximize the potential of creative districts as economic engines and social anchors.
Staff is soliciting input from impacted city agencies and will draft a proposal for review by the City Manager. Council members may be asked for input on the proposal. It is not expected that City Council will need to take any formal action. The goal is to have a working process in place to allow the NoBo Arts District to take advantage of State of Colorado district opportunities in March 2014.
North Boulder (NoBo) Corner Library Update
A staff team is developing a specific program plan for a North Boulder Corner Library. The goal, upon opening the library, is to provide patrons with access to popular materials for both children and adults. Additionally, holds pickup and materials drop-off will be offered, along with Wi-Fi and public computer access. Once the NoBo Corner Library is operational, staff will reassess the space to determine if other features or resources can be offered.
A community open house was hosted at the NoBo Corner Library to coincide with the NoBo Art District’s “First Friday” on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. With help from targeted community outreach, staff will create connections and connect with traditionally underserved populations in order to build dialog around library service needs. The purpose of this gathering was to collect input and feedback to garner interest for the corner library opening date in March 2014. An email address, email@example.com, has been established and the project website at news.boulderlibrary.org/nobo-corner-library has been updated to include a patron survey.
North Boulder Transportation Update
The CP&S Department and Transportation Division are collaborating as part of the North Boulder Subcommunity Plan update and the Transportation Master Plan Update to identify existing and future multimodal transportation issues, opportunities, and challenges for this area of the community. Staff is also coordinating public outreach opportunities for the North Boulder community.
City staff has been reviewing what was heard during the Oct. 30 open house, coordinating with various stakeholders, and using that feedback to develop a set of choices and policy options. The city will present these choices to the community for consideration in early 2014. In the meantime, comments can be submitted by selecting the "Comment on North Boulder" link or emailing Jeff Hirt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please contact Jeff Hirt (email@example.com) with any questions or to be added to the project-notification email list.
Aug. 15, 2013 - Planning Board
June 6, 2013 - Planning Board
Past Open House
Oct. 30, 2013 - The public was invited to learn what has happened since the 1995 plan, see flood and transportation information, and share ideas about refreshing the vision for the North Broadway area. This open house included project information and interactive opportunities for feedback from adults and kids. Meeting materials have been posted under the "Oct. 30, 2013 Meeting Materials" section on this page.
The North Boulder Subcommunity Plan is the first and only subcommunity plan in the City of Boulder (see Chapter IV of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan for a more detailed description of subcommunity plans).
The Planning Board and City Council adopted the original plan in 1995 after a three year process. The 1995 Plan sets forth a vision for a North Boulder with “complete, discernible neighborhoods.” The plan’s overall goal is to strike a balance between preserving existing assets and to establish a vision for areas that had yet to develop at that time. Since adoption, the 1995 Plan has guided significant residential, mixed use, and retail development.
However, some key elements from the 1995 Plan have not been fully realized. Notably, the “Village Center” concept in and around Yarmouth Avenue and Broadway has been implemented on the east side of Broadway but not the west side. The North Armory site at 4650 Broadway also has short term redevelopment potential.
In 2013, City Council requested a targeted North Boulder Subcommunity Plan update focusing on the Village Center and Yarmouth North area along Broadway to address these issues. Both market and land use policy factors warrant consideration, as do floodplain issues.