On limiting growth
In response to Charlie Danaher’s Nov. 14 letter (Re: “Build on open space?”) about building on open space to make Boulder more affordable, I have this to say:
As a person born in Arvada 60 years ago and raised in Boulder since age 7, I, needless to say, have seen a lot of growth in Boulder, and Colorado, especially in the last 7-8 years with 100,000 people moving here annually, mostly along the Front Range.
Boulder had been pretty affordable until cannabis was legalized in Colorado, Google moved to Boulder, and word got out about the awesome outdoor recreation opportunities on all the open space. A friend of mine in Philadelphia said, “Google will ruin your city.” Maybe so, but changing Boulder’s building regulations and building on open space will definitely ruin our city. Those are primary reasons why so many people want to live, play, work and move their corporations here. The only way I can continue to afford to live in Boulder, as a middle-income household, is because I live in a manufactured home, though in a park where the lot rent is rapidly approaching the price of a one bedroom apartment. If we increase population density on behalf of affordability, how will we limit greed-motivated housing cost increases?
I wonder, Charlie, if you would like a high-rise, 200- to 300-unit apartment building on the west side of your house (blocking the mountain view) with as many families, with at least as many vehicles driving by your house daily? Has density in other cities (i.e. Seattle, San Francisco) kept housing costs “affordable”? Instead, how about preventing businesses from moving to Boulder without an affordable housing and transportation plan for their employees? Or let’s get the companies here that are benefitting from all the tax breaks to fund mass transit for their workers, and the service industry employees supporting them, that in-commute to Boulder? Or telecommuting, carpooling, ride-sharing, company-funded transport vans…?
You know how a building has a maximum occupancy? Maybe a state should too, based on ecological sustainability, human and wildlife wellbeing, water availability, infrastructure maintenance, population diversity, etc. I just don’t find it comforting, as someone said to me recently, that, “at least the pollution on the Front Range is not as bad as Los Angeles.” (Even L.A. should not be as bad as L.A.)
I see the optimistic opportunity in this difficult situation to keep beautifully unique places from getting even more damaged.
I agree with you, Charlie, that, “We can make a difference in other people’s lives if we would dare to.” And I would add that we all may need to dare to “take a hit to our investment portfolios” to make a substantial difference in other’s lives (and our own) locally and globally.