"The overall effect of urban growth must add significant value to the community, improving quality of life. The city will require development and redevelopment to provide significant community benefits, achieve sustainability goals for urban form and maintain or improve environmental quality as a precondition for further housing and community growth."
 --Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan



Hain-Celestial is working with developers and the city of Boulder to put up 268 high-density rental apartments. Below are some of the many problems with this proposal:


Now is not the time - Covid19 is drastically affecting the economic and public health landscape around the world. Plans made before the pandemic should be put on hold until we have a better idea of what the new normal will be and when that new normal will begin. It would be best to complete a Gunbarrel subcommunity plan and prevent any more unplanned development in Gunbarrel.


Prairie dog preserve - Celestial Seasonings made a public agreement in writing with the community in 1999 (after being caught poisoning dozens of prairie dogs) to convert this land to a private prairie dog preserve. Prairie dogs are recognized as a keystone species, supporting an ecosystem of dozens of other species of wildlife, including coyotes, foxes, owls, bald eagles, other raptors and other species. 


Density - The proposed 268 units on 9.8 acres equals 27.35 units per acre. It is completely incompatible with the neighborhood, where density ranges from 2 to 17 units per acre. 


Open space - Boulder land use requires 40% of a proposed development be useful contiguous open space, where residents can gather for recreation or other outdoor activities. The proposal does not meet this requirement. In addition, the nearest city park, Eaton Park, is mainly a wetland area more than a mile east of the site.


Affordable housing - This proposal provides only the bare minimum required by the city, and it physically segregates the affordable housing component into one separate area of the development where the apartments are smaller and there is a separate swimming pool. Also, Boulder needs affordable housing in Boulder proper, not miles away in Gunbarrel, far from most jobs, services, and commercial areas.


Zoning - These parcels are zoned IM, Industrial Manufacturing, and Boulder has a scarcity of IM land. It is not in Boulder's best long-term interest to see this land used for residential. 

Traffic and parking - The proposal would bring more than 600 people and their more than 500 cars, but only 360 parking spaces would be provided. Considering how far this site is from services and amenities, and how long a bus ride takes to get to Boulder proper, everyone here needs to drive. The proposal itself suggests an additional 1500 cars per day on these small streets, which have already been recognized as unsafe. Bicyclists have died trying to bike on Jay Road. Spine Road ranks number 6 on Boulder's Neighborhood Speed Management Program.


Amenities - According to Boulder's own data, Gunbarrel is already over its carrying capacity, the ability of the local services to satisfy the needs of the local population. Gunbarrel has no rec center, library, or public art. There are only two city parks in all of Gunbarrel, one with few features and the other a 2.5 mile car ride from the site. This proposal only adds more people to the area, while providing no benefits whatsoever to the neighborhood.