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Thursday, October 15,2009

Foes say makeover of Army Reserve facility isn't all it could be

By Jefferson Dodge

Community meetings

On Oct. 6, officials hosted another community meeting at the Meadow Branch Library to describe the latest changes made to the project. Among those who attended was Spense Havlick, an architect who served on the Boulder City Council for 22 years. Havlick says it's typical for a developer to roll out a highly ambitious plan at first and then tone it down based on any concerns that arise. He said Four Star, being a local company, was sensitive to the needs of the community and even incorporated more affordable housing into the project than was required (developers can pay the city cash in lieu of up to half of a project's affordable housing requirement; Stainton is building all nine units.)

But like others, Havlick still has lingering concerns about certain elements of the project, especially the effect that the development will have on traffic in the area. Some say the developer's traffic impact study was erroneous in concluding that the effect would be minimal.

Havlick says one traffic study only estimated two to three vehicle trips per day, per unit, but the city average is more like 12 to 13 trips per day, per unit. Others say traffic flow on Table Mesa is already at capacity, and that adding about 40 units to the mix is a recipe for trouble.

"You can't add 100 people and not have an impact," Cerio says. "That's not a reasonable or rational statement. It's just a joke. You're losing credibility."

Korba says Tantra and Table Mesa could become much busier corridors in the long term, especially if the University of Colorado at Boulder ever decides to develop the 308-acre Flatiron/Gateway property it bought south of that neighborhood in 1996.

"I understand people's concerns about traffic," Stainton replies.

But he adds that the traffic engineer hired by Four Stars has experience doing similar reviews for plenty of other projects, including some done by the city. The engineer found that the development's effect on traffic would be "insignificant," Stainton says, the equivalent of adding a 1/10 of a second delay to vehicular traffic.

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