It’s Friday, August 18, 2023.

Good morning, Boulder. How are you? I sure hope you’re terrific.

For today, John Herrick covers last night’s city council meeting and a landmark change it brought to Boulder’s occupancy limits. In a 6 to 3 vote, councilmembers increased how many people can live in certain dwellings, from three in most of town up to five in many places. More than 65 people spoke at the public hearing on Thursday night, which extended until 10.30 p.m.

Also, there’s a running race in Gold Hill this weekend that will directly benefit wildfire mitigation projects. So if you’re a fan of running, and not a fan of wildfires burning out of control in Boulder County, you could kill two proverbial birds with one stone this weekend.

Enjoy your weekend, making sure to drink lots of water. And be mindful of your pets in this heat. Remember, dogs can’t sweat.

— Tim, reporter

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Featured stories

Boulder City Council, in response to a housing shortage, raises occupancy limits with landmark vote 

The Boulder City Council voted to raise the city’s occupancy limits on Thursday, accomplishing one of its top priorities ahead of the 2023 election and marking the council’s latest attempt to increase the supply of housing by chipping away at the city’s zoning laws. Continue reading…

Boulder Reporting Lab is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit news organization that empowers our community through non-partisan, locally focused journalism that informs and connects.

In other news

Hot thunder

There’s no nice way to put it: Today is going to be uncomfortable. Mid-90s will be followed by afternoon thunder and maybe a dollop of rain. The heat will last through the weekend, though some respite should arrive next Friday. But that’s a week away. And in this heat, that might as well be a year. In the meantime, seek shade.

Larger share of Boulder’s workers are driving to work

About 70% of the city’s workers drive a single-occupancy vehicle to get to work, a notable rise over prior years, according to the preliminary results from a 2022 city survey of about 900 employees.

“Part of that is just a significant reduction in transit use that we can certainly say is related to Covid but also to our declining RTD service levels in the city,” Chris Hagelin, a senior transportation planner, told the Transportation Advisory Board earlier this week.

The final results of the survey are expected to be released in September, Hagelin said. But the brief presentation to the volunteer board this week is an indication that the city is struggling to address some of its most pressing issues.

The cost of housing is often cited as one of the reasons so many people have to commute into Boulder for work. And the lack of infrastructure to make cyclists feel safe riding to work is a reason why people may opt to drive a car rather than risk it on the roads. Read more on BRL.

City council passes sales tax compromise with arts community

Boulder City Councilmembers voted 7-2 on Thursday, Aug. 17, to put a measure on the 2023 ballot that would authorize a .15% sales tax and dedicate half the revenue to the city’s general fund and the other half to arts and cultural programs. Councilmembers Nicole Speer and Mark Wallach voted against the ballot measure.

The measure was a response to a petition by members of the arts community. Earlier this year, they gathered enough signatures to place a measure on November’s ballot to reauthorize the tax and dedicate 100% of the revenue to arts programs and local nonprofits. Such a measure would have required budget cuts to city programs that rely on general fund revenue, according to city officials.

The tax, last approved by voters in 2003, is expected to generate about $7.24 million in 2024, according to city officials.

Road race to support wildfire mitigation

If you’re tired of smoke interfering with your runs, you can promote your hobby while helping mitigate the smoke impeding it. This Sunday, Aug. 20, the Sunset Trail Running Festival is happening in Gold Hill. With a 5k, 12k, 28k — and 1k for kids — the festival aims to raise money to help Gold Hill residents protect their homes from the flammable landscape around them.

The race last took place in 2019, with the funds raised allowing the Town of Gold Hill, along with the Boulder Watershed Collective, to leverage more than $400,000 in grant money for fire mitigation. BRL reported on the Gold Hill mitigation initiative.

“The Sunset Trail Running Festival gives runners who love our forests the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to protecting the lands they love,” said Maya MacHamer, director of the Boulder Watershed Collective. “All proceeds from this years race will be donated to the town to continue their wildfire resilience work.”

One of the areas mitigated in Gold Hill, lessening the chance of the visible home burning. Credit: Scott Heffernan

Cyclist and child hit by car

Boulder PD needs help identifying a car that didn’t stop after clipping a mother and child on a bike on Thursday, Aug. 3, on Lehigh Street. The car is a Subaru Outback, believed to be silver, gold or champagne-colored with tinted windows and a roof rack. The woman sustained minor injuries and her child was unharmed. Yet the vehicle fled the scene. A video of the car is available, and anyone with information on it is encouraged to contact Accident Report Specialist Frank Leyhe at 720-305-7554 or

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Boulder residents to pay more for water as city addresses urgent flood risk and aging infrastructure. Boulder has the highest risk of flooding of any municipality in Colorado, and it has fallen woefully behind in managing that risk. 

Boulder’s newest Mexican restaurant celebrates authentic Oaxacan cuisine. Masas & Agave, a new fine-dining restaurant downtown, serves authentic farm-to-table dishes and mezcal from southern Mexico. ‘We are here to teach people and provide them with an experience.’ 

Planning Board votes to replace Boulder’s Millennium Hotel with 303 student apartments. The Planning Board’s approval on Aug. 8 marks a major step in the development of the housing project. The Boulder City Council will have a chance to weigh in next.

A Boulder family’s civil rights lawsuit highlights the dangers of jailing mentally ill people. After 7 years and a major settlement, little has changed. Ryan Partridge was incarcerated in the Boulder County Jail while experiencing severe symptoms of schizophrenia. He sued jail workers for failing to provide adequate care and treatment. 

Nicole Speer launches the first official bid for Boulder mayor. The councilmember and scientist is emphasizing her perspective as a queer woman in a historic election for city mayor, pledging to ‘raise everyone’s voices.’ 

Tim Drugan is the climate and environment reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering wildfires, water and other related topics. He is also the lead writer of BRL Today, our morning newsletter. Email: