Françoise Poinsatte: There is no dome enclosing Boulder

Supporters of 300 and 301 insinuate that mostly developers oppose the measures while in reality we opponents come from all walks of life. Environmentalists are in fact central organizers of the opposition. Supporters of 300 and 301 extol the virtues of suburban city planning, but this model is highly impactful to our environment for a myriad of reasons. The Camera’s editorial, urging a “No” vote on 300/301, got it right in juxtaposing our opposing visions, suburban vs. urban. It’s time to acknowledge that not all “growth” is the same, as supporters would like us to believe. We are really in an argument over infill development vs. suburban sprawl, and 300/301 would exacerbate the latter.

Support for compact, walkable neighborhoods is part of many environmental organizations’ platforms. The national Sierra Club is unequivocal in its support of compact infill development in both its adopted transportation and urban environment policies.

One argument put forth by supporters is that infill development increases Boulder’s carbon emissions. If we measure GHG emissions in the aggregate acting as though there’s a dome enclosing Boulder in its own special atmosphere, well, yes, one might make that case. Obviously, climate change is global. What matters on the local level is creating cities which allow individuals to reduce their own personal carbon emissions. Low-density, single-unit, suburban housing makes this so much harder to achieve than compact, energy-efficient, mixed-use housing, where a variety of transportation options are both available and attractive to use. There are many beautiful European cities whose compact design allows residents to live with fractions of the carbon that we Americans typically emit per capita.

I urge you to vote No on 300/301. Please get involved in the Comprehensive Plan update and support well-designed infill redevelopment providing more affordable, diverse housing and sustainable transportation options.

Article originally published in Daily Camera on October 22, 2015