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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the current status of the Alpine-Balsam site process?

On February 12, 2019, the Boulder Planning Department presented four scenarios to the Boulder City Council.  The lowest housing density proposal calls for 195 housing units; the maximum calls for 330 housing units.  The County has requested to also locate offices at the site, a request that is under review.  The City will present to the Housing Advisory Board on April 24. Refer to the “News” page on this website for the updated schedule from the City of Boulder Planning Department.

Why do you refer to the project as Alpine-Balsam-Broadway (ABB) instead of Alpine-Balsam?

Although the City refers to the project and area plan as Alpine-Balsam, we want to highlight that this project will affect traffic, density, parking and resources well beyond these two streets. The City is in the process of creating a new Area Plan which could result in zoning or use changes that significantly increase the height of buildings in the area as well as traffic and parking loads. The Area Plan not only encompasses the former Boulder Community Hospital but also North Boulder Park, the Ideal and Community Plaza Shopping Centers and the neighborhoods surrounding all of those areas.

What is the difference between the Alpine-Balsam Site Project and the Alpine-Balsam Area Plan?

The Alpine-Balsam Site Project generally refers to the former Boulder Community Hospital site (8.8 acres) which the City bought in 2015 for $40 million.  The Alpine-Balsam Area Plan refers to a larger area surrounding the site that includes North Boulder Park, the Ideal and Community Plaza Shopping Centers and adjacent neighborhood areas.

What is affordable housing?

Across the U.S., as well as in Boulder County, housing is generally considered "affordable" if monthly rent or mortgage, plus utilities, total less than 30% of your household’s gross monthly income. 

What is permanently affordable housing?

“Permanently Affordable” is housing in which a unit remains affordable in perpetuity. In Boulder, it includes both occupant-owned and rental housing. This housing is mostly targeted toward moderate and low income households. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) criteria, it is income-qualified at a certain percentage of Area Median Income (AMI) for various household sizes. As an example, a four person household in Boulder would qualify as “moderate income” if their gross income was under $77,700 per annum, or 80% of the Area Median Income.

For more information, go to the websites below: 

https://boulderhousing.org/maximum-qualifying-income-limits-0

https://bouldercolorado.gov/housing/affordable-housing-goals

https://bouldercolorado.gov/homeownership

What is permanent supportive housing?

“Permanent Supportive” is a housing model that combines affordable housing assistance with support services (for example, mental health assistance, education, social services) to address the needs of identified vulnerable populations such as chronically homeless people, U.S. veterans or "at risk” youth. 

What is the City’s Plan for parking at the Alpine-Balsam site?

The City’s current plan calls for 0.8 parking spaces per housing unit. This appears to based on the assumption that in the future people will buy fewer cars.  However, the City of Boulder’s Transportation Master Plan states that the current average is 1.2 vehicles per housing unit. Doing the math, 0.4 vehicles per unit, on average, will not be able to be parked on the site. With as many as 330 units being planned for the site, this represents an additional 132 vehicles that would have to park in the surrounding neighborhood.  

Other sources (DataUSA.io) state that the number for Boulder is 2.0 vehicles per housing unit. Per this higher figure, there may be up to 396 cars that would need to find parking outside of the immediate site and most likely in the surrounding neighborhood.

What is a detention pond?

A detention pond or basin is an excavated area installed on, or adjacent to, tributaries of rivers, streams, lakes or bays to protect against flooding and, in some cases, downstream erosion by storing water for a limited period of time.  (source - Wikipedia) 

Is it fair to say your group is NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard)?

No, that term does not apply to this group.  NIMBY suggests that a group or individual supports a project or value in principle as long as the project is not placed in their neighborhood.  While residents naturally become more involved in a project that is close to home, this is often because they can see the direct effects in a way that those living further away cannot. We promote this kind of community engagement, not just for this project but for all neighborhoods throughout Boulder.

Please also see our “Facts” page