Boulder East County Mayor Forum Lafayette

The third mayor to address the group at the recent Mayor’s Forum was Lafayette’s Mayor, Chris Cameron. Cameron’s initial comment was that she no longer believes that Lafayette is a ‘second choice’ for people that can not afford Boulder, but wished they could.

I thought the comment was peculiar because I have often heard that Louisville held title to that concept.

We understood her point though, and it has been clear for a while that the surrounding communities have come into their own on the popularity front some time ago. As evidenced by the good press that many national publications have given some of the “L” towns. I guess we can use that moniker for communities lying outside Boulder anymore with Superior and Erie gaining in popularity. Once upon a time, it was Lyons, Louisville, Lafayette, and Longmont that were contenders for the second string choice alternative to living in Boulder.

An astonishing detail that Mayor Cameron shared with us is that there were only 37 residential building permits issued by Lafayette in 2008. She said that she too is confident that the ConocoPhillips facility, and more specifically, its influx of jobs, will be a big boost to the Lafayette economy.

The large businesses Cameron cited, which are currently the stalwart employers for Lafayette are Exempla Good Samaritan Hospital (locally referred to as Good Sam) with about 1350 jobs, and the adjacent Kaiser facility with around 300+ jobs. An exciting prospect for Lafayette is the first hotel for the city. As part of the SoLa development, it will be a residential inn style hotel. Another, second hotel of similar style is also planned for Lafayette.

Another focus for Mayor Cameron, and the city of Lafayette is the ‘main street’ area along Public Road. Lafayette has an Urban Renewal Authority which has identified funds specifically allocated to revitalize this area. Events include the seasonal weekly farmers market, and the festival plaza in old town which closes Chester Street adjacent to Public Road. I suppose the high level of success that Boulder and Louisville have seen with their farmer’s markets and other similar activities has inspired Lafayette to get on that band wagon too.

Lafayette has twelve new development projects planned over the next two years, including a number of assisted living facilities, however the new Lowe’s project is currently on hold.

If you’re interested in what the city is doing to show sensitivity to green building issues and the environment, Mayor Cameron said that all community events are ‘zero-waste’ focused. The city is also contracting with Johnson Controls to revamp all of the community buildings in order to cut energy waste and energy costs. Part of the plans also include adding solar driven electric systems to all municipal buildings.

There are several parts of town that we asked about during the forum. The chicken farm was an issue for one member of the audience, others asked about the old WalMart store, there’s some vacant land north of the vacant WalMart owned by Markel Homes which is zoned commercial, but each of these has an undetermined future as Cameron says the recent economy has caused delays in getting developers to commit to firm plans for improvements.

It’s been interesting to have a look at the different local communities, and to see how the respective mayors have of those towns present the picture of the future. I’ll have more from the mayor’s forum and some specifics on Erie in a future post.

I’m glad you took the time to read my run-down of the meeting, and hope you found it useful. If you’re thinking about investing in real estate in the Lafayette area, or one of the nearby Boulder County communities, please give me a call or an email so we can talk about your plans.

-Zachary Epps, full-time professional Realtor and EcoBroker.


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