Welcome to Monday, Boulder. I hope you’re coming out of the weekend rejuvenated.

For today, John Herrick reports on ADUs, or accessible dwelling units, and housing reform.

Last week, councilmembers gave city planners deadlines for coming up with policy changes aimed at increasing urban density and affordable housing. Some reforms they’re considering would make it easier to build ADUs. One ADU reform that will not happen, despite some housing advocates’ desires, is eliminating parking requirements for new small builds. The council left the requirement to avoid a fight that could potentially stall the city’s work in tackling its housing crisis.

Also, ballot counters are still diligently counting ballots. A record number of election day voters ensured processing wouldn’t be quick.

Enjoy the beginning of your week.

— Tim, reporter

What to know today

Not much sun, but a good amount of cold: Autumn seems to be giving way to winter as we (turkey) trot towards Thanksgiving. In the 30s early this week, then up to the 40s, and closing out with temps in the 20s. Hot chocolate and coffee time.

Boulder’s Library District: With 90% of the ballots counted, it’s somewhat safe to say — unless the last ballots all go the same direction — that much of Boulder County will have a library district of its own. The most recent ballot count has 52% favoring the district and 48% against it. There’s a 2,065-vote difference.

For those confused about what a library district is, BRL previously reported on the proposed district back in April. The gist, however, is a library district gets its funding from a property tax rather than from the city budget. This means when times are hard, the library is less likely to face drastic cuts, which have been part of Boulder library’s history, as it’s often among the first to hit the chopping block.

“I had to lay off 66 people,” said David Farnan, director of the Boulder Library and Arts Department, talking about the COVID budget squeeze. “But to be honest with you, if I were the city manager, I don’t know if I could have done anything else. Do we cut public safety? Would that have been a better choice?”

One of the arms of the library that would benefit from the new district is the Carnegie Library for Local History. Located at Pine and Broadway, it’s understaffed and running out of storage for historical documents. Right now, it’s also operating on an appointment-only basis, meaning needy reporters like me are forced to schedule an appointment several weeks out when their story is due in two days. Should those reporters have more foresight? Probably, but more library funding may also help.

Do you fall within the district? Here‘s a map showing its border. That map is also interactive, showing what your property’s added cost will roughly be. If you’re a renter, some of that burden will likely be passed on to you. The townhome I’m renting, for instance, will have an added cost of about $90 a year.

Why did counting take so long? After fielding questions about the county’s ballot-counting speed, Clerk and Recorder Molly Fitzpatrick responded that this year sported the highest number of day-of ballots submitted ever. A record, if you will. Roughly 55,200 ballots were dropped last Tuesday — about a third of total ballots — compared to 23,000 on Election Day in 2020 and 48,500 in 2018.

Psychedelics decriminalized: With 95% of the vote now in, it seems safe to assume psychedelics are now decriminalized, with a 53% Yes vote. This move also opens the substances up to research, like that being done at Johns Hopkins. Primary research at Johns Hopkins tests psilocybin against depressive symptoms.

  • “Researchers report that the substantial antidepressant effects of psilocybin-assisted therapy, given with supportive psychotherapy, may last at least a year for some patients.”

Affordable housing help to come: With 52% yes and also 95% of the vote in, it seems Coloradans stood behind a measure that will allocate some state income tax revenue towards funding affordable housing and helping the homeless get back inside.

Snowplows with new names: Winners of the annual snowplow naming contest are in. As you’re driving about on the clear roads this winter, you can thank the tireless work of Snowba Fett, Plowerina, and Snow-cacciono among others.

Go deeper

Boulder City Council punts on parking reforms for ADUs, doubles down on other housing policies

By John Herrick

During a meeting last week, councilmembers sought to keep momentum on other housing reforms aimed at increasing density and affordable housing stock — including studying the feasibility of developing Area III and lifting occupancy limits.

Continue reading…

Boulder County 2022 election results: Even-year elections to pass, CU South annexation repeal poised to fail 

By John Herrick

Here’s what we know about this year’s election and how it will impact residents.

Continue reading…

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🖼️ CU Philharmonia Orchestra: Today, at 7:30 p.m. in the Grusin Music Hall, the CU orchestra is putting on “Recollections of Country Life,” another name for Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony. Supposedly the piece is “as if the perpetual motion of the music, like water, through its sheer momentum, comes across the cries and echoes of human hearts and voices.”

🍂 ‘Aspens in the Fall’: At the R Gallery + Wine Bar through December 11, “an exhibit devoted to the beautiful and iconic Colorado Aspen trees in their most colorful season.” Free. Gallery hours: Sunday and Monday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

🎨 Drop-in figure drawing: Every Monday from 1-3 p.m. and Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m., NoBo Center for the Arts hosts “facilitated, unstructured figure drawing.” All skill levels are welcome, though you must be 18 or have a parent’s permission, as the models aren’t wearing anything.

🎬 Climbing 5.14 On The Diamond: Part of the Chautauqua Author Series, climber Madaleline Sorkin will be speaking at the Chautauqua community house on Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $13.

Covid in Boulder County: Nov. 14, 2022 (Updated Nov. 11)

  • 69 daily new cases (7-day avg.) ⬆️ Up 33% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 18 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) ⬆️ Up from a high of 12 last week.
  • 71% percent of ICU is occupied. ⬆️ Up from avg. of 64% since July 2020.


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: tim@boulderreportinglab.org.