• A neighborhood group that advocates for the safety of people whose lives and property are threatened when South Boulder Creek overtops U.S. 36 in Boulder, Colorado.

We endorse Bob Yates for Boulder City Council 2019

Bob Yates

Bob Yates

 

We endorse incumbent Bob Yates because he is a natural collaborator who has consistently sought areas of agreement with an eye toward reducing flood risk at South Boulder Creek as quickly as possible.  He has listened to expert staff and consulting engineers and made evidence-based decisions on how to move forward.

“I remain optimistic that a solution will be found that provides effective flood protection to the 3500 downstream residents, while being acceptable to CU, CDOT and the Open Space board. We may have lost time….but we may still be able to get things on track and fulfill the municipal government’s most sacred responsibility to its residents, health and safety.”

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We endorse Mark McIntyre for Boulder City Council 2019

Mark McIntyre

Mark McIntyre

 

We endorse Mark McIntyre because he sees big picture potential at CU South to solve the flood mitigation impasse while addressing housing, open space, recreation and traffic.  He has been clear in his desire to move the flood mitigation project forward stating that there’s nothing more important than the health and safety of City residents.

“While never really saying it, the current council majority seems to want to turn back the clock so that the city could buy the now CU South property and turn it into Open Space. Well, it is too late for that. Now our only job is to do the best we can to turn CU South into an asset for the University and the City. This is an asset that could provide sorely needed flood protection, University workforce housing, sustainable housing with open spaces, and a transit model for how to move people between campuses.”

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We endorse Junie Joseph for Boulder City Council 2019

Junie Joseph

Junie Joseph

 

We endorse Junie Joseph because we appreciate her perspective as a CU student and renter who supports collaborating with CU to reduce flood risk.  Junie is a thoughtful candidate who has has clearly expressed that the health and safety of “downstreamers” are of great importance to her.

“I believe that the Council must do its due diligence to work with CU in order to move the project forward. The longer we wait the more we put people’s lives in danger because we don’t know when the next flood will be.”

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We endorse Rachel Friend for Boulder City Council 2019

Rachel Friend

Rachel Friend

 

We endorse Rachel Friend because she supports fact-based governance, a value we also support and believe will be most helpful in achieving flood mitigation and solving other problems that matter in Boulder.  As a resident of Southeast Boulder, Rachel understands firsthand the urgent need to reduce flood risk at South Boulder Creek.

“Any city’s #1 duty is to protect the health and safety of its residents, but the City of Boulder has failed repeatedly over the past six years to protect residents from South Boulder Creek’s flash flood threats. We need to treat this as the urgent health and safety matter that it is, and figure out where the property owners (CDOT/CU/City) have alignment, ASAP.”

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We endorse Benita Duran for Boulder City Council 2019

Benita Duran

Benita Duran

 

We endorse Benita Duran because her experience as a former Assistant City Manager gives her insight in what a productive relationship between councillors, staff, boards and experts can look like.  Benita is a community minded problem solver.  We appreciate her concern about the lack of progress on South Boulder Creek flood safety and believe she is ready to take real and meaningful action to correct this.

“I would have taken the professional, expert advice and aligned with the recommendations from staff and the paid expert engineers. I would rely on experts and professionals for the direction needed.”

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We endorse Aaron Brockett for Boulder City Council 2019

Aaron Brockett

Aaron Brockett

 

We endorse Aaron Brockett because he is an empathetic leader who understands that failure to act to reduce flood risk at South Boulder Creek puts lives at stake.  An incumbent candidate, Aaron has offered consistent support for flood mitigation as a councillor.  We especially appreciate how he has pushed for more clarity on schedule to provide relief for the 3500 residents that live in harm’s way.

“I worked hard to win approval for the Variant 2 500 year plan as it was the only option that combined 500 year flood protection with a proposal that was acceptable to CU. I was extremely disappointed that council instead chose an option that was unacceptable to CU, which has resulted in many months of delay, meaning many more months that folks remain in harm’s way. If re-elected, I will work hard to get South Boulder Creek flood mitigation back on track”

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Opinion by Jan Burton: Deep work needed by Council for real results

We need a council willing to work deeply to solve Boulder’s bigger problems like reducing flood risk at South Boulder Creek.  Check out former councilwoman Jan Burton’s piece in the Daily Camera that advocates for a deeper and results-driven approach to governance: Deep work by Boulder City Council required for real results.   Here’s an excerpt:

 

Jan Burton

Jan Burton

Let’s take the South Boulder Creek flood mitigation as an example. This has been a work item for 25 years, brought into laser-focus after the 2013 floods. During my tenure on Council, we made regular, albeit snail-like, progress, adding the CU South property (fundamental to flood mitigation) to the 2017 Comprehensive Plan and directing the Planning Board to document our annexation guiding principles.

But the composition of Council shifted in 2017, and the new majority began slowing down the decision process to delay housing development on the University of Colorado Boulder’s south property. In the process, they dismissed preferred recommendations from the Water Resources Advisory Board, key engineering experts and other key constituencies, including the land owner — causing confusion and back-tracking for all parties involved and ultimately the departure of critical and highly capable city water engineering staff.

Sadly, 3,500 of our residents in south Boulder neighborhoods aren’t any closer to flood protection than they were when I took office in 2015.

If City Council truly focused on Boulder’s top three to five priorities, I believe both they and city staff would be more effective, residents would feel less overwhelmed with the public process, and we’d show more progress. But, how do we get there?

Knowing that 3,500 residents’ lives are at stake, South Boulder Creek flood mitigation could easily become the top area of focus. The next Council, starting their term in November 2019, could publicly declare this as their top priority and one on which they would focus 50% of their efforts in the following six months. This would send a signal to the key stakeholders and partners to clear their calendars for deep work . . .

Click through to read the full piece here.

Boulder City Council endorsements: 6 candidates prepared to implement flood mitigation

Boulder City Council Endorsements:  The South Boulder Creek Action Group (SBCAG) endorses six candidates for the upcoming Boulder City Council elections:  Bob Yates (incumbent), Aaron Brockett (incumbent), Rachel Friend, Mark McIntyre, Benita Duran and Junie Joseph.  The SBCAG views these candidates as the best hope to implement urgently needed flood mitigation designed to ensure the health and safety of residents living along the South Boulder Creek floodplain.

SBCAG looked specifically for candidates who demonstrate they understand the urgency of South Boulder Creek flood mitigation.  Their endorsed candidates also have important and beneficial qualifications which will enable them to address other critical City issues including affordable housing, traffic, social justice, and open space management.

“Each of our endorsees has demonstrated their commitment to following the data and science when it comes to expeditiously completing the critical South Boulder Creek flood mitigation project.  Nearly six years after the 2013 flood and after decades of study, this projects completion is long overdue and is imperative to safe-guarding 1000s of lives in future flood events, which we know will occur” says Jon Carroll of the SBCAG.

“We are pleased to support candidates that can help accomplish our health and safety goals, and are also well-qualified to provide leadership to the City for a variety of other critical issues such as affordable housing and traffic mitigation” says David McGuire of the SBCAG.

Decisions on endorsees were based on responses to questionnaires, interviews, and individual discussion with candidates on a variety of topics.

The South Boulder Creek Action Group formed six years ago, immediately after the 2013 floods, to strongly advocate for implementation of flood mitigation as soon as possible.  Many members of the group live in the Frasier Meadows and surrounding neighborhoods which experienced extreme flood damage from the overtopping of floodwaters at US36.

“I’m excited to vote for candidates willing to pursue pragmatic solutions to a range of issues, from flood control to housing, traffic mitigation, and habitat restoration, by collaborating with CU at CU South” says Laura Tyler of the SBCAG.

Factual info about South Boulder Creek flood mitigation at CU South

The South Boulder Creek Action Group values facts.  We support facts-based decision making within the City of Boulder, and we strive for factual accuracy when we communicate with you and others about South Boulder Creek flood mitigation. Here are three information resources we’ve found helpful that you may find helpful, too.

CU Boulder South - FAQs

The University of Colorado’s CU South FAQ is a tremendous resource for people seeking to understand CU’s role in flood mitigation at CU South and their plans for the CU South site.  If you’ve wondered why CU wants to annex the CU South property, what type of development might happen on the property, or are seeking info about present and future recreation opportunities, check this FAQ out.

 

In 2017 the City of Boulder produced a detailed document, the result of extensive public process, called the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan.  Check out the Comp Plan’s Guiding Principles, a set of guidelines regarding the annexation of CU South that exist within the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan.  The Guiding Principles were created to shape the City’s negotiations with CU.  If you’re interested in understanding what the City of Boulder’s values and aims are related to related to this project, those details are here.

 

Also, check out the City of Boulder’s South Boulder Creek Flood Mitigation Project page for info about past and upcoming events.  There’s also some good project background here including links to videos, maps and FAQs.

Daily Camera editorial: “City Council is blocking critical flood control”

The Daily Camera published a scathing editorial on May 25th taking Council to task to failing to move forward on flood control at South Boulder Creek in a timely way.  Here is an excerpt:

Onset of the wet season highlights the threat of flooding faced by residents in south Boulder, and a letter delivered last week from the University of Colorado to the city of Boulder reminds constituents of the City Council’s bungled effort to reduce that threat.

CU and the city must work together to complete critical flood mitigation on property the university owns. But the city is pursuing a plan that CU has warned, over and over, is dead in the water. CU officials felt compelled on Monday to reiterate this message in writing. They cautioned the city not to waste any more time and money on a plan the university can’t accept.

City officials should listen.

During a meeting last August, six of the nine Council members took a look at the flood mitigation concept to which planners awarded the highest marks for meeting project goals and which was developed through eight years and $2 million worth of study, including professional consultation, community feedback, advisory board analysis and countless hours of staff time, and tossed it overboard. Some Council members said a main concern they had with the Variant 2 500-year concept was that flood debris could clog the South Boulder Creek underpass at U.S. 36 and create conditions for residential flooding. But experts, relying on studies and professional experience, repeatedly asserted that such a risk was low. No matter. The Council majority ignored this advice, offering little justification for their doubt beyond expressions of gut feelings. Then-Councilwoman Jill Adler Grano — Grano and Councilmen Bob Yates and Aaron Brockett were the three dissenters — could hardly contain her frustration. “I’m confused,” she said. “We just spent an hour and a half listening to experts tell us it’s not an issue.”

There has long been a hope among some community members, especially in certain south Boulder neighborhoods, that the CU South property could remain open space. And some university critics have faulted CU for what they view as a calculating move in 1996 to buy the property, a former gravel mine, and program it for development despite known complications related to the proximity of a flood-prone waterway. This is not a trivial complaint, and an undeveloped CU South forms a dramatic, natural gateway to the city from the south.

But City Council must make decisions based on present circumstances and contemporary needs, and if Council members themselves harbored ill will toward CU for machinations that occurred more than 20 years ago, such grievance was not part of the majority’s stated opposition to an otherwise promising plan. So what’s going on? It’s hard not to assume that political pressure from anti-development interests is behind at least some of the Council majority’s obduracy.

Whatever the reason for Variant 2’s rejection, it was entirely predictable that pursuit of Variant 1 would lead to the current impasse. CU told the Council it would not participate in Variant 1 500-year. Council chose Variant 1 500-year anyway. Yet it’s as true today as it was last August — no CU participation, no Variant 1 500-year.

What happens now?

Click through to read the full piece:  City Council is blocking critical flood control at CU South.