The city of Boulder, CO, owns 4525 Palo Parkway a 3.2 acre site for which a proposal has been submitted by Boulder Housing Partners in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, to develop 44 units (35 1, 2, 3 bedroom affordable rental units & 9 affordable homeownership units). This is approximately 14 units per acre a high density development with no garages or streets. By contract, Kalmia38 has a density of approximately 5 units per acre , almost three times less dense and each home has at least a one car garage and the development has four streets running through it.
The 167 owner/ tax payer/residents of Northfield Commons and 50 owner/tax payer residents of Palo Park Filing No. 4, adjacent communities to this site, strongly object to this proposal for the following reasons:
#1Traffic Engineering Issues – The proposed site is on Palo Parkway, a dead end street with no direct access out to major intersections. All vehicles exiting the proposed site will have to travel west on Palo to reach either 30th or 28th street. The traffic congestion at the 30th street stop sign as well as at the 28th street stop light will become a traffic “nightmare”.
Has a traffic study been completed?
#2 - Insufficient on premise parking space availability leading to nearby neighborhood residential street overflow- Parked vehicles from the project will overflow on neighborhood streets, most probably Palo Parkway, Ouray St. and Ridgeway Street. At a minimum 44 units means at least 44 – 88 or more vehicles using the limited parking at the site and overflowing to Palo, Ouray and Ridgeway. Ridgeway is already densely parked and has, because of its narrowness, become a “one way street”. In fact at its south end, with parking on both sides it is, in effect, a one way street.
How many parking places are proposed at the site?
What is the plan if site residents have more cars than spaces?
#3 Safety/Emergency Management Evacuation Problems – There is one street bordering the entire proposed site, Palo Parkway which is also the only direct way in and out of the site . Further Palo Parkway is a dead end street with no exit to the east. Emergency services (fire, ambulance, and police) will be impeded from providing emergency help in a timely fashion due to vehicle congestion and limited accessibility. Fire engines in particular would have to “back out” Palo Parkway.
Has an emergency management feasibility study been conducted?
#4 Current Density in Neighborhood- Kalmia38 already has 53 units well under construction ( 29 homes, 6 sets of duplexes and 3 sets of 4 plexes) This development is increasing the density by 53 units and at least another 106 vehicles. However Kalmia38 is on 10 acres and each unit has at least a one car garage and or parking pad. This neighborhood is situated between Palo and Kalmia just west of Northfield Commons. Again the overflow of parking and traffic flow will impact Palo Parkway directly. Northfield Commons has 167 units on 22 acres (a density of 7.6 units per acre including a park and several streets) and each unit has at least a one car garage and or parking space.
Has a neighborhood vehicle density study for the site been conducted?
#5 Extreme population density – On a mere 3.2 acres, 44 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units are proposed to be constructed.44 units means that the population could potentially increase to three (3) times the number of units ( 88 or 132 additional people living on 3.2 acres). This creates over-dense housing within an already densely populated neighborhood.
Has a neighborhood population density study been conducted?
#6 Issues for Mobility Challenged Individuals- The nearest bus stop is ½ mile away from the proposed site which presents a significant issue for mobility challenged individuals who need to use public transportation. Further not all of Palo Parkway has sidewalks or street lights presenting yet another challenge for those already challenged.
Has any thought been given to persons with special needs?
#7 Diminished quality of neighborhood serenity and life -Because of extreme density of population and density of vehicles at the proposed development, there will be traffic congestion and noise pollution (speeding vehicles, honking horns) resulting air pollution detrimental to the health of the neighborhood population.
Has a noise pollution study been conducted?
#8 Public Safety Issue- Due to the current population density, Palo Parkway has already become a very dangerous street. Many vehicles speed (totally disregarding the posted 25mph speed limit) east and west to and from the 30th street stop sign to the Palo Parkway dead end street. This portion of Palo is under City police jurisdiction and there is little to no enforcement of the 25 mph speed limit because there is little to no City Police presence. We have many children who play on lawns and curbside swales and are constantly in danger of being fatally injured.
Is the City willing to allocate more money to enhance law enforcement presence on Palo Parkway?
#9 Reluctance of City to monitor housing restrictions –Although the number of unrelated people living in a unit is restricted by local law, it is well known that there almost no City/Housing Authority enforcement. It is highly likely that, especially in rental units, four or five or six unrelated residents could reside in many of these rental units. This enforcement failure also further suggests that the number of vehicles increase by four, five or 6, times so that it is possible to have 200 to 300 additional cars without dedicated parking.
Is the City allocating more budget to monitor, investigate and take action to enforce its laws?
#10 Increase in Pet Density- Our neighborhoods are already teeming with dogs and this proposed plan of 44 units will surely increase the community dog population including the need for more Animal Control enforcement for off leash violations. In addition, Northfield Commons homeowners already pay dues for dog waste pick up on it's property. The addition of another extremely dense community will add more pets who will use our community and particularly our park, Jasmine Park, for recreation and elimination. We have purchased dog waste stations positioned in Jasmine Park, and we supply bags and waste pick up services already and this comes out of our HOA dues!
Is the City prepared to reimburse the Northfield Commons HOA for these services we provide?
#11 Firefly Habitat- The proposed site is home to an extensive firefly colony. This fact would indicate that this site should be fully examined by the proper organization to determine its merits as a designed firefly habitat for this endangered species.http://www.firefly.org/
Has a study been conducted to investigate this as a potential firefly habitat?
#12 - Project is situated in a designated Flood Zone- As of September 2013, This site has been designated a City of Boulder High Hazard Flood Zone, City Conveyance Flood Zone and a FEMA 100/500 Year Flood Zone ( source: http://gisweb.ci.boulder.co.us/agswebsites/pds/floodmap/ )
For potential homeowners and renters there are significant concerns as to safety from potential flood damage and potential resulting personal injury and personal property damage. For the city there are significant and fiduciary financial responsibilities that the City has in the event the City needs to rebuild/ and or repair the rental units after flood damage. Further since the city will be responsible for the rental units Flood Insurance must be purchased or the City must “self-insure” this risk with its own funds either of which is very costly. In addition, there is question as to whether FEMA assistance would be granted in the event of a flood. Reference http://gisweb.ci.boulder.co.us/agswebsites/pds/floodmap/
Does the City intend to purchase insurance?
How much will the insurance cost?
#13 Sewage - During the last flood almost all the homes on Ridgeway experienced both storm sewer back up and over flow and, even more critical experienced sewer overflow in their basements.
What sewer/storm sewer infrastructure improvements are planned to tie the new site into existing infrastructure?
Will existing infrastructure be improved to handle the additional 44 units?
#14 Sunshine Law Violation -. All City deliberations and planning to date regarding development of this parcel have been made without compliance with Colorado’s rule requiring open meetings . Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.24-6-401-402 ) are commonly referred to as the state’s “Sunshine Laws.” They mandate (inter alia.) that any board, commission or other advisory decision-making body of a political subdivision of the state, or any entity that has been delegated the governmental decision making function make full and timely notice of any meeting, and provide minutes of that meeting that are open and available to the public. We believe that the Boulder City Council and its housing sub-division have acted in violation of these statutes with regard to development of this parcel. Please see attached Exhibit B, Letter to the City Attorney, Tom Carr, dated July 14, 2014.
We the undersigned residents/owners and taxpayers of Northfield Commons Community and Palo Park Filing No. 4 Community, petition the Boulder City Council to abandon the proposal to build 44 on units on 3.2 acres at 4525 Palo Parkway and in lieu of this we the undersigned believe that the best land use of this land is Open Space/ Park for multi- neighborhood and general recreational use.
When complicated and contentious public housing issues are involved, a legislative body should never authorize public projects without clear and detailed empirical data justifying its action and the impact on the surrounding community.
The proposed project has been authorized by Council before all “baseline information” has been obtained. But baseline information should exist before the project has been approved – not afterwards. If the council is not in possession of all relevant information now, it should remove it's authorization of this project until this information is obtained and made public.
The Stop High Density Housing Development of 4525 Palo Parkway, Boulder, CO petition to Boulder City Council was written by Judy Langberg and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.