Ballot issues are not radical measures—Karen Sandburg

Daily Camera, Boulder, Colorado
POSTED:   04/28/2015 07:11:07 PM
Link to Daily Camera letter

Boulder citizens have come up with two initiatives to address concerns that development is unchecked and unconcerned with what the community wants. Many of us don’t feel that our city planners are listening to the people of Boulder and feel the city government is weighted in favor of high- density development.

One initiative, called the “Neighborhoods’ Right to Vote on Land Use Regulation Changes” addresses the possibility that the city, in the near future, will try to change land-use zoning in many neighborhoods to make way for denser development, such as increased occupancy limits or taller buildings. The initiative will give every neighborhood impacted by city-directed land-use changes an opportunity to put to a vote whether or not they want the change. Essentially, this amendment is about who gets to decide about land-use changes in your neighborhood. Should it be the city planning department or you and your neighbors?

The other initiative, called “Development Shall Pay Its Own Way,” addresses the need for development to pay for its impacts. Currently, taxpayers are subsidizing development because developers are not required to fully fund the increase in city services and facilities made necessary by their particular project. The initiative attempts to bridge the gap between what developers are paying and the actual cost of the increased city services. The net result is that taxpayers will no longer have to subsidize development.

Neither of these are radical measures. One gives us the right to require a vote on upzoning in our neighborhoods and the other makes those who profit from development pay the full cost associated with it.

To be sure that these initiatives are put to a vote in November, several thousand Boulder voters must sign petitions requesting they be put on the ballot. Look for petition circulators soon.

Karen Sandburg