Published: May 1, 2017
A detail from the CU Boulder South concept plan

The university released a draft concept plan for its CU Boulder South property on Monday that offers a preliminary look at what development of the site could someday entail.

The 308-acre CU Boulder South property has become a major topic of discussion as Boulder County and the city of Boulder work on an update to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP). Specifically, interest has centered largely around a change to the site’s land-use designation and potential annexation of the property by the city, how portions of the site could be utilized for flood mitigation, and what development on the property might look like if the city were to annex.

With the process moving forward toward adoption of the new BVCP this summer, CU Boulder planning staff have been working to respond to the request for more information about what might be developed on the property. While the comprehensive 10-year master plan for the campus, including CU Boulder South, will take a few years to update, we have developed a draft concept plan for CU Boulder South for both the Boulder community and our campus community to see.

The university has created a new website with information related to how CU Boulder envisions utilizing the property to serve the long-term needs of the University while also addressing the community’s needs and interests. Included are the set of assumptions behind the draft concept plan, a map showing the draft concept plan, a set of frequently asked questions and answers and an invitation for the public to provide feedback via a survey posted on the site.

The draft concept plan lays out general development areas for the site. Along with an accompanying map, a more detailed list of land-use assumptions breaks down how many acres of the large parcel at the city’s southern gateway might be devoted to academic buildings, open space and trails, flood storage (including recreation fields) and to housing for non-freshman students, faculty and staff.

We invite our campus community, local citizens, elected officials and appointed members of local boards and commissions to visit to review the various resources there. Afterward, please take our survey that is linked on the site. The survey will be open from today through 11:59 p.m. on May 10.

That survey feedback will help us determine adjustments, refinements and clarifications to the draft concept plan assumptions and map so that updated versions can be provided to local governing bodies to inform their deliberations and decisions on the upcoming BVCP adoption.

The City Council and Planning Board intend to hold a joint public hearing regarding the BVCP on May 23, with City Council to vote on the entire BVCP on June 13 and the Planning Board to vote on CU Boulder South portions of the BVCP on June 15. The Boulder County Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners are planning a joint public hearing at the end of June, with their respective votes on the BVCP slated for late July.

An approval of the BVCP with a changed land-use designation for CU Boulder South would allow annexation discussions between the university and the city to occur. Even with an approval of the BVCP and an annexation agreement in place, the sites designated for development at CU Boulder South will take many years to complete. The university will remain focused on developing the main and east campuses first, but a finalized annexation agreement would help inform CU Boulder’s own visioning process as the university embarks on updating its campus master plan.

When the Board of Regents approved the purchase of CU Boulder South in 1996, its resolution stated that CU Boulder at that time had no immediate or specific use in mind for the property but that it was “a strategic acquisition to ensure the long-term future of the University of Colorado Boulder and to ensure access to quality education for the citizens of the state of Colorado for 50 to 100 years to come.”

That vision for the site remains today. While there is much work to be done before any detailed development plans are created for CU Boulder South, campus leaders will continue to engage the local community about any plans at the site along each step of the process.