Growth Controls


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This is a presentation to a Wisconsin regional land use forum, that offers an assessment of the successes and failures of growth control measures in Boulder, Colorado.

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Growth Controls

  1. 1. Growth Controls The Boulder Experience
  2. 2. Boulder, Colorado <ul><li>24 square miles between the mountains and reality </li></ul><ul><li>95,000 population </li></ul><ul><li>30 minutes from Denver </li></ul><ul><li>Research / technology </li></ul><ul><li>Natural setting </li></ul>
  3. 3. Growth Management Techniques <ul><li>Comprehensive Planning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Joint city-county plan for Boulder Valley </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Area I – built area within city </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Area II – rural/suburban subject to annexation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Area III - rural </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Zoning </li></ul><ul><li>Housing permits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Initially 2% limit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Now 1% growth </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Growth Management Techniques <ul><li>Blue Line </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No city utilities to west </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5,750 feet </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open Space & Mountain Parks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>0.5% sales tax for land purchases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>42,000 acre controlled by city </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Growth Management Techniques <ul><li>Jobs-Housing Balance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1.2 jobs per resident </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Re-zone or down-zone commercial and industrial land </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Purchase commercial and industrial land </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Curtail future job growth </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Growth Management Techniques <ul><li>Water supply </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Superior, Colorado </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Height limitation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>55 feet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Height of a mature cottonwood tree </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Growth Management Techniques (Informal or Not Enacted) <ul><li>Exclude “unwanted” businesses or development </li></ul><ul><li>“Big box” prohibition </li></ul><ul><li>Chain business prohibition </li></ul><ul><li>Head tax </li></ul><ul><li>Roads </li></ul>
  8. 8. Positive Outcomes <ul><li>Preserved open space and farm land </li></ul><ul><li>Created high density </li></ul><ul><li>Fostered good design </li></ul><ul><li>Maintained healthy commercial areas </li></ul><ul><li>Preserved property values </li></ul><ul><li>Provides neighborhood retail and services </li></ul>
  9. 9. Sprawl <ul><li>Not in Boulder! </li></ul><ul><li>Not in the greenbelt! </li></ul><ul><li>Everywhere outside of it </li></ul>
  10. 10. Population <ul><li>Increasingly wealthy </li></ul><ul><li>Increasingly older (skewed by the college students) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Housing <ul><li>Housing affordability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Boulder $350,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Denver $262,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Affordable housing programs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Preference in issuing permits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Affordable housing requirement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>$160,000 gets you a 400 square foot condo. A parking stall is extra. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Housing <ul><li>What is happening in the market? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Families are not moving into Boulder </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buyers are singles or couples with no children </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Young and old population </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Neighborhood schools are closing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Housing is booming beyond the greenbelt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workers can’t afford to live in Boulder </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Companies are increasingly attracted elsewhere to have access to employees </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Transportation <ul><li>Few roads lead to Boulder </li></ul><ul><li>Traffic congestion is a growing problem </li></ul><ul><li>Parking is a problem </li></ul><ul><li>Commuter rail is focused on getting Boulder residents to Denver, and not getting workers to jobs in Boulder </li></ul><ul><li>Boulder’s isolation is making it increasingly undesirable as a business location </li></ul>
  14. 14. Retail Opportunities <ul><li>Boulder residents pay more for goods </li></ul><ul><li>Places like Pearl Street do not meet local shopping needs </li></ul><ul><li>People leave town to shop at big boxes and malls in neighboring communities </li></ul><ul><li>People leave town to shop high-end goods </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer regional residents shop in Boulder than once did </li></ul>
  15. 15. Retail Opportunities <ul><li>Market share </li></ul><ul><li>Revenue </li></ul>
  16. 16. Economic Health <ul><li>Businesses leaving </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ball Aerospace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intrado Software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>StorageTek </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Horizon Organics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leopard Communications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allegro Coffee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exabyte </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Economic Health <ul><li>No longer the single entrepreneurial place </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“If we had it to do over again, we would never put it in Boulder” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“Boulder celebrates the entrepreneur, but if you are actually successful, you become public enemy number one” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“nine ideas come out of private industry for every one coming out of the university or federal labs” </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Is There a Better Way to Grow? <ul><li>No place is an island </li></ul><ul><li>Promote infill and redevelopment, but still allow growth </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize economic realities </li></ul>