Boulder Politics - A Message from Scott

For those of you who live in Boulder, here is a quick voting guide.  Please feel free to forward it around. I get involved in local politics and planning policy because it has dramatic impacts on all our lives.  My main criteria for these recommendations are environmental and social responsibility.Please vote NO on ballot issue #300 & 301. They have deceptively innocuous and reasonable sounding names, but their impacts will be quite negative.300 – Neighborhood right to vote – divides Boulder into 60+ neighborhoods, all of which are interested in keeping “unwanted” projects in someone else’s backyard – it allows just 10% of any neighborhood to force an expensive vote on any proposed upzoning. The delay, expense and uncertainty it adds will in effect kill all affordable housing projects forever (including co-ops and cohousing).301 – Development shall pay its own way – It already does.  Boulder already has some of the highest development fees in the region.  Proponents claim that developers will simply reduce their profits to pay for the extra fees, but in reality we know that all costs flow through to the end purchaser/renter, making the cost of living in Boulder even higher.  Additionally, independent reviewers of the proposal agree that the vague language of this ballot will stop all development in its tracks (potentially for years) as the fee formulas are hashed out in courts.Both 300& 301 will have the direct impact on cutting off supply of housing, which will accelerate already skyrocketing prices.  If you care about affordable housing, please vote NO on 300 & 301.Lastly, Sierra Club, the Urban Land Institute, the American Planning Association and every other national planning organization in the country agree that concentrating new development in currently developed areas is the preferred location because:

  1. Reduces urban sprawl and the habitat destruction that comes with it.
  2. Promotes the use of alternative modes of transit.
  3. Reduces the size and energy consumption of dwelling units and the carbon footprint per capital associated with each dwelling unit.

So if you care about the environment, please vote no on 300 & 301.

There are five open seats on City Council this year.  The folks I am voting for and supporting are:

Bob Yates — Former Chairman of Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. He's an all around great guy and community member. He's a former exec turned non-profit leader.

Aaron Brockett — Already a strong, independent voice of reason on the Planning Board, focused on land use, Open Space, the arts, and transportation. He is a dad, lives in the Holiday neighborhood, is a balanced and reasoned voice on Planning Board. He is amazing.

Jan Burton — Jan is an intelligent and kind person who listens well. She brings refreshing perspective as a long-time tech executive, now focused on creative housing solutions and inclusive leadership.

Bill Rigler — A young, strong voice from a former international aid expert turned Naropa executive, with an emphasis on encouraging our entrepreneurial economy.

Tim Plass — An independent voice on Council for restraint and moderation, and a leader on economic policy and land use.

If you’re interested in learning more about these folks you can see their answers to Open Boulder’s questionnaire (and those of all the candidates) here:



Re-building after the Flood

Home and Hood Magazine - Rebuilding after the flood. Huy Lam dug his shovel into the deep sand and continued to excavate the buried play-structure in what used to be his family’s back yard. Twenty feet away, the creek that used to be on one side of the house now flowed swiftly down the other. When the stream moved, it dumped hundreds of tons of sand and rock all over his property and it tore away a good chunk of the house.


“I’m not sure what comes next. It all depends on what the County decides to do with the creek”, Huy said between shovels.

For six months from the time of the flood, the County is allowing flood victims to bypass the daunting Site Plan Review process (as long as the re-constructed house is the same size as the original), but all new construction must still meet all local building codes. The green building codes are some of the most rigorous in the Country, and many of the older homes that were damaged will require a substantial upgrade to their envelope and mechanical systems in order to meet them.

The Lams have a long way to go before they can get back into their home: County reviews; navigating insurance and mortgage requirements; figuring out how to best rebuild with the insurance settlement; getting a building permit; re-building the house; moving back in; and perhaps most important of all, repairing the land that made them want to live in this beautiful, but (every 500 years) dangerous place in the first place.

Brokers can help you find cheap car insurance deals, especially if you've got specialist requirements. However, you will pay for their services so make sure that the savings you'd make are worth it.

We are currently assisting them to reconstruct their home to begin living after the flood.

Columbine Elementary Growe Dome

We were the Associate Architects for the new Columbine Elementary School that opened two years ago here in Boulder. The Boulder Valley School District made a special investment in the re-building of this underserved school, and it has paid off in spades. It is now a vibrant and sough-after bi-lingual school with some of the most beautiful and advanced sustainable architecture in the state. And now as the cherry on the top, we just assisted the school in creating a new geodesic greenhouse, where the kids will grow fresh food for their school lunch program year round in partnership with the Growe Foundation.   Columbine Growe Dome

BARA (Boulder Area Realtor Association)

We have had a very positive and long-standing relationship with Boulder Area Realtors, which recently culminated in our complete remodel of their new association headquarters.  We provided full design/build services for their 10,000s.f. building.  BARA sought to dramatically transform the dysfunctional and dated existing building into one that was professional, inviting, and green.  It had to accurately express their brand, support their mission, and do it cost-effectively and quickly.   {read more…}