It’s Friday, Sept. 8, 2023.

Boulder, the relentless crawl of time has brought us to yet another weekend. Let’s get you the news so you can topple into bliss.

For today, John Herrick covers the Boulder City Council’s rejection of a city proposal to help build more affordable middle-income homes, which the city needs. Councilmembers rejected the proposal because they believe tweaking the city’s code to encourage more affordable for-sale homes would have the effect of reducing the construction of new rentals for lower-income residents, another pressing need. The issue of trade-offs continues to arise as Boulder tries to chip away at its complex housing crisis.

Meanwhile, the city’s “reimagine policing” plan and the Millennium Hotel demolition and redevelopment got clear support from council last night.

Finally, mark your calendars, for BRL is hosting a mayoral debate in collaboration with KGNU on Oct. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. You’ll find us at Trident Cafe on West Pearl, asking the four candidates why they should be the one leading our town.

Enjoy your weekend. You deserve it.

— Tim

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You’re invited! We’re bringing questions from local nonprofits that work on addressing the city’s most pressing problems and advocate for our community’s most vulnerable populations. The candidates will answer questions from these groups, as well as some from us and their fellow candidates.

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Boulder City Council rejects proposal to build more middle-income housing

City officials sought to tweak the city’s inclusionary housing program to encourage developers to build more homes that middle-income residents could buy. But councilmembers expressed concerns that this might reduce the construction of affordable rentals for low-income residents. 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

Teetering towards fall

Though it will be warm today and tomorrow — almost 90 today and mid-80s on Saturday — starting Sunday we’ll enter a stretch of 70s that will have your sister-in-law asking if you want to go to a pumpkin patch with her.

No, Alyssa, I do not. They pick the best pumpkins to sell at the grocery store. I’ll get one there.

Boulder City Council allows Millennium Hotel redevelopment to proceed

Landmark Properties, an Athens, Georgia-based developer, is proposing to tear down the Millennium Harvest House Hotel and build 303 market-rate apartments, primarily for CU Boulder students.

Despite its size, the project has received relatively little pushback. Councilmembers on Thursday allowed the project to move forward without even discussing the developer’s site and use review application. The developer still needs to obtain a demolition and building permit from the city before breaking ground on the project.

The nearby multi-use path along Boulder Creek would be rerouted and have wider-angle turns where it crosses the creek near the fish observatory, which is proposed to remain in place. The Rocky Mountain Tennis Center’s courts would be replaced with open space and a “half-court basketball court, four pickleball courts, and a dog park,” according to the developer’s application. For more on this project, read our previous reporting.

Reimagine policing plan gets councilmembers’ endorsement

The Boulder City Council on Thursday unanimously approved a motion to accept the Boulder Police Department’s “reimagining policing” plan. The long-range vision seeks to focus on crime prevention — primarily by targeting hotspots where officers receive a disproportionate number of calls, rather than responding to calls.

The Boulder Police Department has already started shifting strategies in accordance with the plan. But it remains unclear whether the department will have the resources to fully implement the vision, at least in the near term.

The plan proposes to increase the number of police officers in the city from 191 to 206. The hope is that the additional staffing will free up officer time so they can focus on problem-solving rather than reacting to reports of crime. The plan also calls for creating a partnership with CU Boulder to create a Colorado POST-certified academy.

However, the city manager’s 2024 proposed budget does not include any additional funding for either of these plans. The budget proposal slightly reduces overall spending for the Boulder Police Department to about $41 million. Read more on BRL.

200 Boulder families to receive guaranteed income

The Community Foundation Boulder County is helping boost the Elevate Boulder Guaranteed Income Pilot Project with a $70,000 grant to the city. The pilot, part of a greater undertaking on the city’s part to explore guaranteed income, will provide 200 low-income Boulder households with $500 per month in direct cash assistance for two years, no strings attached. The goal is promoting financial stability and self-sufficiency.

The project is funded by $3 million of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation. Applications for the program will open this fall.

Drug and stabbing arrests in downtown Boulder

Boulder PD, alongside the Boulder County Drug Task Force, has conducted targeted enforcement efforts due to recent overdoses in the Central Park and Pearl Street Mall areas. An operation on Wednesday resulted in multiple drug-related arrests with the confiscation of large amounts of drugs.

One arrest was the same individual previously detained for stabbing someone outside the municipal building a few weeks ago in the middle of the day, who was out on a personal recognizance bond. The suspect had more than 23 grams of fentanyl with him and “large amounts of cash.”

According to the National Drug Enforcement Agency’s website, 2 milligrams of fentanyl is lethal. So unless there’s a mistake in the press release, this suspect had enough of the drug to kill thousands of people. Fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs and is the primary cause of overdose death.

BRL on the radio

John Herrick and I were back on the KUNC airwaves with our discussions of stories published on, so have a listen. While John eloquently covered a Boulder family’s lawsuit against employees at the Boulder County Jail, I may have overused the phrase “high and dry” while talking about how nonprofits are helping homeowners fill in on fire mitigation efforts where government agencies have been lacking. I should’ve saved the phrase for a drought story.

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Nonprofits step in to protect Boulder mountain homes from wildfire as government efforts still lag. A recent joint initiative by three organizations in Coal Creek Canyon reveals the importance of home-hardening on a community-scale and the magnitude of the problem before these groups. ‘We can’t get done what we hope to get done.’

Boulder City Council to consider transferring ownership of library buildings to newly formed library district. The Boulder City Council will hash out an intergovernmental agreement with the Library District Board of Trustees as soon as next month, laying the groundwork for what role the city will play in overseeing the new library district. 

Six takeaways from this week’s Boulder City Council election forums. On the question of public safety, one of the dominant issues this election, some candidates spar over what it means. 

Judging a beer by its label: How Boulder County craft breweries set their cans apart with eye-catching designs. Though it’s cheaper to keep brewing the same beers with unaltered labels, new recipes and label art keep locals wanting more.

Critical deadline looms: 13,000 UnitedHealthcare-insured patients at Boulder Community Health face potential disruption in care starting Oct. 1. Monthslong contract dispute sparks patient concern over medical access and costs as the two parties struggle to reach agreement. ‘We’re all under red alert.’

Tim Drugan is the climate and environment reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering wildfires, water and other climate-related issues for Boulder with a focus on explanatory and solutions journalism. He also is the lead writer of BRL Today, our morning newsletter. Tim grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from UNH with a degree in English/Journalism. Email: