Washington Village Project Controversy Continues

The saga continues over the controversial Boulder real estate project at Washington Village just north of downtown Boulder.

Last summer when I attended a seminar on green building with John Beldock from EcoBroker International, I had no idea that the developers that talked to us about their work in the Holiday Neighborhood, an area often called NOBO, and their future plans for another sustainable designed community at the old Washington School off Central / North Broadway, would meet such resistance.

The Washington Village project sounded like a nice plan and it looked like things were well though out and going forward. Then the stuff really hit the fan as area neighbors got bent out of shape over the proposed development.

By no later than November 2007, area residents aimed to get signatures on a petition to attempt to reverse the approvals for development of the old school building and surrounding land. Then with a new city council, a lawsuit, 9000 signatures, people up in arms about school closings and a city-wide grass roots effort to turn this while thing around, it looks like this continues to be a major point of interest for residents all over Boulder and not just a localized neighborhood concern.

The latest buzz in this story is that there’s a potential conflict-of-interest accusation against one of the City of Boulder’s planning board commission members. The Boulder Daily Camera article reported that Adrian Sopher, a member of the city’s planning board, is also the president of Architecture Inc., which is the firm Wonderland Hill Development Co. hired to creat the plan to redevelop the former Washington Elementary School into condos, commercial space and a co-housing community.

The City Council on Tuesday also agreed to explore the idea of appointing an ad-hoc committee to advise on the future design of the Washington Village project. Developer Jim Leach will have to revise his plan after neighbors successfully petitioned the City Council to rescind a zoning change that allowed his current design to go forward.

As it continues to be a heated issue in Boulder especially considering that fewer and fewer development opportunities are available, we’ll surely see and hear more on this project in the weeks to come.

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