Poor decision on Google — Sally Schneider

Daily Camera, Boulder, CO
POSTED:   12/24/2014 05:27:35 PM MST

When the city council and city planning board approved the 1,500-employee Google office complex near 30th and Pearl it was one of the worst decisions the city has ever made. It will take Boulder in the exact opposite direction from where it claims it wants to go regarding affordable housing and strengthening the middle (in terms of income distribution). How the Google complex could be approved is beyond me.

Google and other tech companies’ expanding presence in the San Francisco Bay Area has skyrocketed rents, to the tune of 12 percent increases just last year. And Google, unlike downtown commercial developments, will be exempt from paying linkage fees that go toward affordable housing. My comments are not personal to Google, or about them as a company. I’m addressing the lack of intelligent city policy and planning, given where Boulder finds itself at this particular point in its history.

Also, adding 1,500 commuters to 30th and Pearl, when huge amounts of traffic will soon be added to that intersection due to the large Boulder Junction Hotel, Solana rental apartments, and the likely approval of another complex of four- to five-story buildings called La Reve, is simply unconscionable and not at all respectful of the impact on the current citizens of Boulder. Has the transportation department done any studies on this reality and have they shared them with the planning board and city council? Finally, 1,500 workers actually represent close to 5,000 residents, considering spouses and families.

Next November there will be five city council positions on the ballot. It’s time for citizens to band together to find candidates who won’t keep Boulder heading along this destructive path of massive development, higher rents, disappearing middle class, and clogged roads.

Sally Schneider, Boulder