I am a business and property owner in Niwot and a lifelong Boulder County resident. I truly believe that the County Commissioners are making the very best decisions with the information available. It seems as though most of the information comes from the Land Use Department.
Overall, I think that the Boulder County Land Use Department has done a good job in preserving the land and enhancing the quality of life for people, like me, a lifelong Boulder County resident. Unfortunately, it seems to me that the information is not coming to you in a way that is fully transparent or in a way that you can fully understand the plight of the local business and commercial property owners. It’s clear to me that you understand the plight of the Third Street residents who bought their properties directly adjacent to the alley and commercial district, but there are many more residents in Niwot that should have a say and who will be negatively impacted by the proposed changes. The Boulder County Land Use states that NRCD should be there for the residences of Niwot and the surrounding areas to provide goods and services to those residents. Therefor, we should assume/believe that means “all” of the residents, not just those on 3rd Street.
It is unfortunate that our neighbors didn’t fully realize that they were purchasing their properties near the commercial district. And now those neighbors want to now change the commercial zoning and devalue our properties. The moratorium that you imposed (with no
notice) has had many unintended consequences. Personally, I’m caught between a rock and a
hard place with the moratorium, which after my building permit has been approved is relying on additional parking places to be rented from my neighbor who will no longer rent them because of the uncertainty that the moratorium has created. The hard place is that my insurance company is unwilling to pay me the full amount to rebuild the business. Meanwhile, I’m trying to run my two other restaurants in Boulder while dealing with this untenable moratorium. I’d like to get Colterra back on the map, but the county is making it impossible, and is now adding more risk for the current business and property owners in Niwot.
One of the fundamental issues is, if the average floor area ratio (FAR) is approximately
1.4 in the block east of Franklin why is Boulder County Land Use recommending to make it .6 in the block west of Franklin? (see map it is easier to understand Colterra is located on the corner of 2nd and Franklin) That only reduces the amount of commercial in the core and for what reason are we transitioning? On the other side of the east Block is Niwot Road. Good planning would dictate you keep the same density unless you are transitioning to another use. Is that what Boulder County Land Use proposing? A transition to Niwot Road and a Pocket Park? This does not make sense and will have a largely negative impact on downtown Niwot.
As a businessman, I understand you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If we want a
vibrant downtown we need continued investment and businesses that are competitive
throughout the Boulder County, especially in the designated commercial core, such as Niwot. If you drive the commercial business away, where will they go? The population is increasing
rather than decreasing. The answer is… they will go to another town and force residents to get in their cars and/or move to a more business friendly environment. What Boulder County Land Use is proposing makes our town properties uncompetitive.
My dream is to bring Colterra back to Niwot and that is what the entire local community
wants as well. Between my insurance company and the County it’s looking more and more like a pipe dream. I don’t think my family and I deserve this, especially after all we have given back to Boulder and Niwot. Have you really thought through the long term impacts of the proposed changes? Do you really believe this is just and fair? Do you serve a greater audience than the Third Street residents? What about all the other people that are left with destroyed businesses and a ghost town? What about the retail and commercial businesses that are suffering now? Not one supports the proposed changes. So far the County has provided a lot of lip service, meaningless charrettes and a complete waste of our valuable time.
I urge you to listen to the commercial property owners and local businesses when
considering any changes to the code for Niwot. I feel confident that we can come to an
agreement which serves all parties.
Colterra Food and Wine