Boulder City Council approves Alpine-Balsam plan for city-owned site

BOULDER — The redevelopment of the city-owned former Boulder Community Health hospital site in central Boulder is moving forward.

The Boulder City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to approve a limited version of the Alpine-Balsam Area Plan, setting the stage for construction of a new municipal services hub and potentially 260 affordable housing units. 

The plan, however, does not contemplate the surrounding privately-owned properties. 

“The purpose of the area plan is to provide direction on land use and improvements in an area of opportunity and change,” Boulder senior planner Jean Gatza said. “Based on the direction that council provided in August, we are proposing the plan include only land use changes within the city owned areas.”

The city purchased the Alpine-Balsam site in 2015 for $40 million. Boulder planning staff developed a comprehensive area plan for redevelopment of a 70-acre parcel roughly bordered by Broadway on the east, Ninth Street on the west, Balsam Avenue on the north and Portland Place on the south. The scope of that plan narrowed after several rounds of contentious public comments over the past two months. 

Some residents have expressed concerns about increased housing density, while others favor any plan that increases housing affordability in the city.

Boulder’s Alpine-Balsam Area Plan establishes a framework for redevelopment of a 70-acre parcel roughly bordered by Broadway on the east, Ninth Street on the east, Balsam Avenue on the north and Portland Place on the south. Courtesy Boulder’s Alpine-Balsam Area Plan.

“A lot of work went into the area plan, and although we are only adopting a part of that … please don’t throw [the unused portion of the plan] away,” Councilman Bob Yates said. “I think we will be needing it soon.”

While Councilman Aaron Brockett said he feels the city “landed at a reasonable place” with the tailored plan, Councilwoman Mary Young worried that Boulder is “going to end up with a poorly planned area” because of the limited scope.

The remainder of the city-owned parcel will house government services and departments. City and county leaders will continue discussions about the possibility of relocating certain county departments to the former BCH site.

“We have an opportunity to create an amazing municipal campus … [that] raises the level of public engagement because it can bring together people in a collaborative and fun way,” Mayor Suzanne Jones said. 

Design work on the municipal hub is expected to start next year, with construction set to break ground in 2022.

BOULDER — The redevelopment of the city-owned former Boulder Community Health hospital site in central Boulder is moving forward.

The Boulder City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to approve a limited version of the Alpine-Balsam Area Plan, setting the stage for construction of a new municipal services hub and potentially 260 affordable housing units. 

The plan, however, does not contemplate the surrounding privately-owned properties. 

“The purpose of the area plan is to provide direction on land use and improvements in an area of opportunity and change,” Boulder senior planner Jean Gatza said. “Based on the direction that council provided in August, we are proposing the plan include only land use changes within the city owned areas.”

The city purchased the Alpine-Balsam site in 2015 for $40 million. Boulder planning staff developed a comprehensive area plan for redevelopment of a 70-acre parcel roughly bordered by Broadway on the east, Ninth Street on the west, Balsam Avenue on the north and Portland Place on the south. The scope of that plan narrowed after several rounds of contentious public comments over the past two months. 

Some residents have expressed concerns about increased housing density, while others favor any plan that increases housing affordability in the city.

Boulder’s Alpine-Balsam Area Plan establishes a framework for redevelopment of a 70-acre parcel roughly bordered by Broadway on the east, Ninth Street on the east, Balsam…