1993 - Residential growth sharpened city of Boulder’s 2020 vision
With that boom came demand for development. In Boulder County, and especially within the city of Boulder, development is not a neutral subject.
New single-family housing permits in the city were projected to nearly double from 1990 through the end of 1993, and the city was thinking about tomorrow.
Discussions began on the possibility of a six-month to one-year moratorium on residential development applications — a time-out for the city to determine its future. City officials would use that time to create the Integrated Planning Project, or IPP, which would loosely map the city’s development through 2020.
The goal was admirable: Create a city that allowed for social diversity through affordable housing, committed strongly to environmental protection and strictly managed growth.
It was essentially a plan to keep Boulder from turning into another Aspen, where only the wealthy can afford homes. Citizens, the business community and city officials were all to give input on the plan.
News of the proposed moratorium prompted developers to flood the city’s planning department with applications. The glut forced City Council to act. On Feb. 15, the council imposed a 15-day moratorium on development applications. Its ruling ultimately would be in force for slightly less than a year.
While some residents were elated, some developers felt betrayed. Homebuilders who were working with the council had been assured that a moratorium would not be imposed. They feared housing costs in the city would rise, putting them out of business. The fears proved groundless. Many developers simply moved on, and Boulder’s famous quality of life continued to be a major factor in driving up housing costs.
The legacy of the moratorium, however, was the completion of Boulder’s IPP — the document that was intended to be a planning guide for the city through 2020.
After much discussion, polling and public meetings, the IPP’s goals were formulated:
• Decrease traffic congestion through land-use patterns that allow people to use modes of transportation rather than cars.
• Encourage and support affordable housing.
• Maintain a “sustainable, dynamic and flexible economy.”
• Foster a regional perspective to solve problems.