Published: Oct. 1, 2018

With an eye toward the future, in 1996, CU Boulder bought 308 acres of land located just south of Table Mesa and west of U.S. 36 from the Flatirons Mining Co.

Although the university has not developed plans for the property, we have provided public access to the site, allowing citizens to walk, run, cross-country ski and cycle. We also have allowed students, staff and faculty to use the site for research, classroom and athletic activities. There is a storage warehouse on the property and tennis courts for our Athletics Tennis Team.

Last year, the city asked us if we would bring forward an annexation petition to propose that the property be annexed into the city from the county. Annexation would allow CU Boulder to access power, water and sanitation services for future development while allowing the city to develop a flood mitigation project on part of the property to protect the downstream neighbors—particularly in Frasier Meadows—who were inundated by the 2013 floods. Another project goal is to protect U.S. 36 from the kind of flooding that cut the city off five years ago.

Currently, the city of Boulder is working to select a final flood-control option, and we have pledged our partnership and the use of up to 80 acres of university land for that purpose. We are ready to advance an annexation petition, but because we do not have any development plans for the property, we are unable to provide the kind of details the city normally receives with an annexation petition. In fact, we are just starting our Campus Master Plan visioning process, which, when completed in 2021, will outline potential uses for the CU Boulder South property.

Next week, at an Oct. 9 city council study session, council members and university representatives will discuss how to proceed with CU Boulder South annexation.

To help the city achieve its flood-mitigation goals in spite of the university’s internal timeline constraints, we have sent the mayor and the city council an outline of benefits that CU Boulder will bring to the table. We have also listed CU Boulder’s annexation requirements that would ensure we can fully meet our fiduciary obligations to manage university assets to achieve our teaching and research mission for all citizens of the state.

Ultimately, we remain committed to partnering with the city to achieve a flood-mitigation solution that will improve community safety. We believe the city and the university can achieve our separate and mutual goals by working in a collegial manner throughout the annexation process and look forward to our discussion on the 9th to move the flood mitigation work forward quickly.

Frances Draper
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Relations and Communications

Tune in Oct. 9 to the city’s Channel 8 television station to watch the Boulder City Council’s CU Boulder South flood mitigation study session or review a copy of the document CU Boulder provided to the city council.

Vice Chancellor for Strategic Relations and Communications Frances Draper

Vice Chancellor for Strategic Relations and Communications Frances Draper

CU Boulder South benefits to the Boulder community

  • The use of up to 80 acres of university land—at no cost to the city—to facilitate the city’s flood-mitigation project.

  • A university offer to convey ownership to the city of land that is under actual dam structures.
  • A university agreement on several constraints of what and where the university will build on the CU Boulder South site, restricted to less than 50 percent of the property with a maximum 55-foot height limit applied to future structures.
  • City input on site building and planning in accordance with previous memorandums of understanding (MOUs) between the city and university related to the future conference center.

University requirements for CU Boulder South annexation

  • Acreage available for our development remains equal to that envisioned within the 2015 Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP).
  • All costs related to development and construction of the flood mitigation project shall be borne by the city.
  • Any resulting costs for modification to our road(s) or current facilities from the flood mitigation project will be borne by the city.
  • The city will ensure that the 100-year and 500-year floodplains will not be increased on the property.
  • No site plan will be required for annexation.
  • Any additional land the city might require (for example, for open space or wetlands mitigation) will be purchased, if agreeable to CU, at market value cost as determined by a third-party appraisal.