CU, Boulder reach preliminary agreement on south Boulder campus

BOULDER — After years of discussion, the University of Colorado Boulder and the city of Boulder have reached a preliminary agreement on conditions that would need to be included if the city annexes the CU Boulder South property.

The agreement takes into account flood protection for downstream Boulder residents, riparian habitat, and housing-centered development on a portion of the site.

After input from city boards and commissions as well as residents and businesses, the agreement would be put in place prior to annexation.

“The CU Boulder South Annexation Agreement is a legal document that explicitly sets the requirements and conditions for the annexation of 308 acres of CU Boulder land at the junction of U.S. 36 and Table Mesa Drive into the city,” the city said in a statement announcing the potential agreement. 

“Terms include the university’s commitment to the transfer of 155 acres to the city for flood protection and open space uses, the transfer of water rights to the city needed for habitat restoration, development phasing that prioritizes housing, and continued public access to the site. It also contains numerous binding covenants that set limits on building sizes, heights and locations as well as an actively managed multimodal traffic plan,” the city said.

The university has long proposed that the south campus be used primarily for housing of faculty, staff and non-freshman students. The city agreed with that usage because it could help with the community’s housing shortage. 

The draft agreement also includes a proposal to set aside five acres of the site for permanently affordable housing open to the community at large and not just those affiliated with the university.

“This draft agreement comes after many rounds of community engagement and input, as well as years of planning analysis, and further builds on prior decisions by [the] City Council,” said Director of Planning and Development Services Jacob Lindsey. “While the negotiations addressed multiple topics in great detail, it is time for the community, boards and the City Council to assess the agreement as a whole and determine if it achieves critical city goals and includes needed safeguards to assure benefit and protection to Boulder residents.”

“We’re excited for this major milestone as we work toward a path forward at CU Boulder South that incorporates so many of our shared values, including flood protection for the community, much-needed workforce and student housing, preservation of open space and valuable habitat, and continued recreational use for the public,” said Derek Silva, assistant vice chancellor for business strategy at CU Boulder. 

Community members can submit comments in multiple ways, including a Be Heard Boulder questionnaire, open July 14 to Aug. 13. The city will also host a community briefing and listening session on Wednesday, July 14, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. More information about the session and a link to the meeting can be found on the project webpage

Board and council activity has already begun with the council expected to act on first reading of the agreement Aug. 3 with final approval slated for Sept. 21.

The agreement will also require approval from the CU Board of Regents.

The agreement includes the following provisions, according to the city:

  • The university’s commitment to the transfer of 155 acres to the city for flood protection and open space. This includes the original commitment of 80 acres for flood mitigation and open space, plus an option for the city to purchase an additional 75 acres for open space.
  • City construction of flood protection for 2,300 downstream Boulder residents and 1,100 homes.
  • The preservation of 119 acres overall for permanent open space, and the transfer of the needed water rights for habitat rehabilitation and maintenance.
  • A limit on future development to 129 acres of the 308-acre parcel, with no development allowed within the 500-year floodplain.
  • Restrictions on density and intensity of future development.
  • A required minimum 2-to-1 square footage ratio of housing to non-housing buildings to ensure that housing is always the predominant use.
  • A 750,000-square-foot cap on the amount of non-housing development allowed.
  • No non-residential development is allowed prior to the construction of at least 150 units of housing.
  • The dedication of five acres for the development of permanently affordable housing available to all who qualify, not just university affiliates.
  • Preservation and protection of wetlands and natural habitat, including lands near the state habitat area.
  • Performance-based transportation plans and trip caps to limit future traffic.
  • The creation of a multimodal hub with connections to the larger transportation network.
  • Dedication of two acres of land for a potential public safety facility.
  • Provision of continued shared recreation uses for the community and university, including parks, trails and fields.

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BOULDER — After years of discussion, the University of Colorado Boulder and the city of Boulder have reached a preliminary agreement on conditions that would need to be included if the city annexes the CU Boulder South property.

The agreement takes into account flood protection for downstream Boulder residents, riparian habitat, and housing-centered development on a portion of the site.

After input from city boards and commissions as well as residents and businesses, the agreement would be put in place prior to annexation.

“The CU Boulder South Annexation Agreement is a legal document that explicitly sets the requirements and conditions for the annexation of 308 acres of CU Boulder land at the junction of U.S. 36 and Table Mesa Drive into the city,” the city said in a statement announcing the potential agreement. 

“Terms include the university’s commitment to the transfer of 155 acres to the city for flood protection and open space uses, the transfer of water rights to the city needed for habitat restoration, development phasing that prioritizes housing, and continued public access to the site. It also contains numerous binding covenants that set limits on building sizes, heights and locations as well as an actively managed multimodal traffic plan,” the city said.

The university has long proposed that the south campus be used primarily for housing of faculty, staff and non-freshman students. The city agreed with that usage because it could help with the community’s housing shortage. 

The draft agreement also includes a proposal to set aside five acres of the site…