Mt. Sanitas Update
On Thursday, October 1 at 6:00 pm in the Council Chambers, the Planning Board will take up discussion of the Council-amended Area Plan for the former Boulder Junior Academy (BJA) site. Friends of Mt. Sanitas was extremely disappointed that the Council, with the exception of Crystal Gray and Lisa Morzel, voted to approve an Area Plan designating approximately 3/4 of the property for an ambiguous “Flex-District” and the remaining for low density residential development. In sum, the Area Plan would allow for 80-100 congregate care units (in addition to 9 or more single family homes) and upwards of 150,000 sq. ft. of total build-out (the demolished school was @ 30,000 sq. ft.).
Friends of Mt. Sanitas has steadily advocated for a cap of 65,000 sq. ft. for the entire site and to retain the site’s historic low density residential zoning (dating back to the original Mountain Heights subdivision plat from 1903). We are stunned that the majority of City Council members ignored extensive, reasoned public input in a process they initiated, and approved an Area Plan which supports rezoning the site to allow for a density many times that of the existing neighborhood. The community’s diligent engagement in untold public meetings, workshops and hearings to promote an outcome compatible with the surrounding neighborhood and open space was summarily dismissed.
The Area Plan process effectively decoupled the standard requirement for a Concept Plan (design documents with extensive details–number of units and configurations, street layouts, traffic analysis, etc.) to accompany rezoning requests. Without a Concept Plan as reference, it is impossible to fully comprehend the developer’s intent. In effect, the City and the public are being asked to trust the developer based on broad-stroke statements. For a site as unique and integral to the existing neighborhood’s character as the former BJA property, bypassing the Concept Plan review phase and recommending rezoning based on the developer’s word is a failure of the public process.
We strongly encourage everyone to once again come before Planning Board, knowing that they voted earlier for an even more permissive development option, to express their deep disappointment and request a much more reasonable outcome for the final Area Plan.
Friends of Mt. Sanitas