Master Plan for Chautauqua

April 13, 2011 in Community News, Our Outdoor Playground

Posted: 04/12/2011 10:22:19 PM MDT

 

Matt LeBeau kisses his daughter Emmy, 7 months old, as the family prepares for a hike at Chautauqua on Tuesday after navigating a full main parking lot and finding a spot on the road around the Chautauqua green. The City Council is split on how to approach the matters of congested parking and proposed new development at the historic 40-acre site. ( PAUL AIKEN )
Boulder should “step back” and develop a comprehensive master plan for the iconic Chautauqua Park before allowing the park’s management to move ahead with construction plans, city planners told leaders Tuesday.

But the City Council was split on how to approach the matters of congested parking and proposed new development at the historic 40-acre site.

The nonprofit Colorado Chautauqua Association recently completed work on the Chautauqua 2020 Plan, a document that charts changes the organization believes are necessary to ensure a “sustainable future” for the park. That plan includes better management of parking, constructing a 7,000-square-foot building for offices and meeting space, and moving the family picnic shelter from the east side of the park to the north side near the children’s playground.

While the association owns most of the historic buildings and has leased 26 acres of the 40-acre park since 1898, the city of Boulder remains the owner of the land and must sign off on any changes to the site.

To help guide those changes, four of the nine council members said they would support a wider planning process that addresses parking, access and use of the site — an idea endorsed by the city staff, the Landmarks Board and Planning Board.

A master plan for Chautauqua would encompass the entire historic district, including the Chautauqua facilities, park land and nearby open space. It would address public access, parking and programs at the park. The planning process would likely include a public outreach campaign and the formation of a steering committee.

“What is it we, the community, want Chautauqua to be?” said Councilwoman Lisa Morzel, who supported the planning process. “I see this as our first real attempt to look at all those uses.”

City staffers estimate it would take about 18 months to complete a master plan.

But other council members, including Suzy Ageton, said creating a master plan would be “overkill.”

“The parking and the traffic, to me, are the No. 1 problem,” she said.

Other options available to the council include allowing the Chautauqua Association to move ahead with specific projects through the standard review process, or supporting an “expedited process” to help make changes faster at the park.

Molly Winter, director of Boulder’s Downtown and University Hill Management Division, told the council that the city plans to conduct a survey of Chautauqua users later this year to find out more about why and how people use the park. The city also will study parking issues at the park this year, she said.

The council will talk again about how to move forward with Chautauqua’s future during a study session scheduled for June 16.

Part of the council’s discussion revolved around a letter sent to the City Council last week by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which is urging the city not to move the picnic shelter at Chautauqua.

“The National Park Service does not recommend moving historic buildings,” wrote Christine Whitacre, program manager for the Heritage Partnership Program. “In fact, moving a historic structure into or within a historic district may jeopardize its ability to contribute to the significance of the district and has a negative effect on the historic integrity of the district.”

The federal official also recommended against plans for any new construction on the property.

Because Chautauqua does not use any federal funding, plans to change the site don’t have to be approved by the Department of the Interior.

Read more: Boulder considers developing master plan for Chautauqua – Boulder Daily Camera http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_17831777#ixzz1JQ6My7fm
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recommendations for trails west of Boulder

April 1, 2011 in Community News

Mt. Sanitas

Boulder’s Open Space Board of Trustees agreed Wednesday night with a community group’s recommendations to close some trails to dogs, designate some for horses and make some social paths official in the city’s mountain backdrop.

The board voted unanimously to accept a package of recommendations from the Community Collaborative Group — made up of 15 people representing a variety of user groups, from conservationists to dog owners to rock climbers — about how to manage the trail system west of Boulder stretching from Linden Avenue south to Eldorado Springs Drive.

The recommendations for the West Trail Study Area took 16 months to create, and each proposal was arrived at through an often-painstaking consensus process.

“This package of recommendations is a delicate package — there were a lot of trades and gives and gets,” Michael Katz, who represented dog owners in the community group, told the Board of Trustees on Wednesday. “We did this as a package, and we want it to be accepted as a package because if it starts to be unraveled, then, frankly, what you have is the waste of 16 months of hard work by very talented people.”

Katz and his colleagues got their wish despite some public concern over certain compromises in the package, including dog owners upset about a couple of trail closures and conservationists concerned about more recreation use.

“When this began, I was not on the board, but I argued a number of times and I argued strenuously that the board not meddle with the outcome of the Community Collaborative Group,” said current Board Member Tom Isaacson. “Probably, like everybody, there are things I would have done differently, but that’s not an issue as I see it. This is a well-balanced document.”

Tracking the West TSALast we knew: After 16 months of work, the Community Collaborative Group held its last meeting during the first week of January, when it finalized its recommendations.

Latest: The group presented its recommendations to the Open Space Board of Trustees on Wednesday night, and the board voted unanimously to accept them.

Next: The staff will release its own recommendations for the West Trail Study Area on Feb. 1. These proposals will cover issues that could not be agreed on by the community advisory group, including whether to allow mountain bikes. The Board of Trustees will host an open house on the staff’s recommendations on Feb. 9 before holding a study session Feb. 10.

The board’s acceptance of the Community Collaborative Group’s recommendations without modifying anything was frustrating for some members of the public, who yelled out from the audience of about 50 people as the board members made the final vote.

“Basically, the public comment was worthless,” one said. “You didn’t listen.”

This is the first time Open Space and Mountain Parks has used such a community consensus model to make policy. In the past, open space staffers have created the recommendations for trail systems themselves and then gathered feedback from the public.

“This kind of a process is based on trust,” said Dean Paschall, manager of public process and communication for Open Space and Mountain Parks. “And it means that the community trusts the department to honor recommendations they’re going to have, and also that the department is going to trust that the community is going to make reasoned recommendations.”

The acceptance of the Community Collaborative Group’s recommendations is not the end of the process for the Board of Trustees, which must still review a set of proposals made by the staff on issues not agreed upon by the community group — such as whether to allow mountain bikes on trails in the area.

The department will release those recommendations on Feb. 1, and public comment on the plan will be taken by the Board of Trustees on Feb. 9. Ultimately, the Boulder City Council will make the final decision on all parts of the West Trail Study Area in mid-March.

Read more: Open space board accepts recommendations for trails west of Boulder – Boulder Daily Camera http://www.dailycamera.com/news/ci_17143086#ixzz1IJ2ZGIfX
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