CU Boulder South Annexation

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Aerial image of CU South Boulder

The City of Boulder and the University of Colorado Boulder released a draft annexation agreement for the CU Boulder South property. This proposed agreement is the culmination of years of collaboration between the city, county, university and community to provide flood protection for downstream Boulder residents, protect and restore critical riparian habitat and manage well-planned housing-centered development on a limited portion of the site. This draft document is being released for public review and comment at a stage prior to agreement terms being finalized in order to consider feedback from Boards and Commissions as well as local residents and businesses.

Community members are encouraged to learn about the terms of the agreement and provide feedback in the questionnaire below through August 13.

Several resources are available for review: (these open in a separate page)

Draft Annexation Agreement

The Draft Annexation Agreement is a legal document that explicitly sets the requirements and conditions for the annexation of the 308 acres of CU Boulder land at the junction of U.S. 36 and Table Mesa Drive, known as CU Boulder South, into the city. The Draft Agreement has been negotiated between the City of Boulder and CU Boulder and is being presented for review by the Planning Board and consideration by the City Council.

Terms include the dedication of 155 acres to the city for flood protection and open space uses, the transfer of water rights to the city needed for habitat restoration, development phasing that prioritizes housing, and continued public access to the site. It also contains numerous binding covenants that set limits on building sizes, heights and locations as well as an actively managed multi-modal traffic plan.

Tell Us What You Think

The questions below are provided for community members to review the key annexation terms and submit feedback to decision-makers and staff in an organized and useful way. Please note the information presented on each of these pages is a very high-level summary of key points and concerns. Please review the Draft Annexation Agreement for specific details.

Click here for a map of the zones described below

Click on each topic below or scroll down to feedback forms.

  1. General Terms
  2. Development Zone
  3. Flood Control Zone, Public Access & Recreation Amenities
  4. Open Space Zone and Environmental Protection
  5. Transportation and Mobility
  6. Overall Annexation Agreement
  7. Tell Us About You
  8. Additional Feedback

The Planning Board will hold a Public Hearing on July 22 to inform their recommendation to City Council.

The City Council will hold a Public Hearing and deliberate on the draft agreement in September.




The City of Boulder and the University of Colorado Boulder released a draft annexation agreement for the CU Boulder South property. This proposed agreement is the culmination of years of collaboration between the city, county, university and community to provide flood protection for downstream Boulder residents, protect and restore critical riparian habitat and manage well-planned housing-centered development on a limited portion of the site. This draft document is being released for public review and comment at a stage prior to agreement terms being finalized in order to consider feedback from Boards and Commissions as well as local residents and businesses.

Community members are encouraged to learn about the terms of the agreement and provide feedback in the questionnaire below through August 13.

Several resources are available for review: (these open in a separate page)

Draft Annexation Agreement

The Draft Annexation Agreement is a legal document that explicitly sets the requirements and conditions for the annexation of the 308 acres of CU Boulder land at the junction of U.S. 36 and Table Mesa Drive, known as CU Boulder South, into the city. The Draft Agreement has been negotiated between the City of Boulder and CU Boulder and is being presented for review by the Planning Board and consideration by the City Council.

Terms include the dedication of 155 acres to the city for flood protection and open space uses, the transfer of water rights to the city needed for habitat restoration, development phasing that prioritizes housing, and continued public access to the site. It also contains numerous binding covenants that set limits on building sizes, heights and locations as well as an actively managed multi-modal traffic plan.

Tell Us What You Think

The questions below are provided for community members to review the key annexation terms and submit feedback to decision-makers and staff in an organized and useful way. Please note the information presented on each of these pages is a very high-level summary of key points and concerns. Please review the Draft Annexation Agreement for specific details.

Click here for a map of the zones described below

Click on each topic below or scroll down to feedback forms.

  1. General Terms
  2. Development Zone
  3. Flood Control Zone, Public Access & Recreation Amenities
  4. Open Space Zone and Environmental Protection
  5. Transportation and Mobility
  6. Overall Annexation Agreement
  7. Tell Us About You
  8. Additional Feedback

The Planning Board will hold a Public Hearing on July 22 to inform their recommendation to City Council.

The City Council will hold a Public Hearing and deliberate on the draft agreement in September.




  • The Draft Agreement includes several terms to address phasing, future potential sale of the property and other definitions and terms to ensure control and address contingencies. Key general terms include: 

    • Public Access - The university will permit public access to recreational facilities, sidewalks, trails, etc.

    • Annexation is contingent on flood mitigation - The city’s flood mitigation project is the primary driver of the proposed agreement. As such, the annexation will be contingent upon the city receiving the necessary approvals and land needed to implement the project. The city may initiate a “de-annexation” process if it fails to receive the required approvals and land necessary for the project within 3 – 5 years of the annexation.

    • Initial Development - The university may only construct recreational facilities within the next 3 years while the city obtains permits for the flood mitigation project.

    • First Right of Refusal - The city will have the right to review any offer by a third party to purchase all or portions of CU Boulder South.

    • Transfer of Land - The terms of the agreement will remain in effect if the property were ever sold to a non-university entity.

    • Review of Plans - The city will review and comment on the CU Boulder South Master Plan. The city will also have a 60-day window to review and comment on 90 percent conceptual design plans for the property. The city’s comments will include a “compliance review” to ensure compliance with the annexation agreement and discretionary comments intended to further the city’s goals and policies.

    • Definitions - agreement includes definitions for key terms and specific uses, many such as building height and use definitions were taken directly from Boulder’s land use code. 
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  • The Development Zone consists of 129 acres of the 308-acre site. This area is designated “Public" in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan.” Key terms related to the Development Zone include: 

    • Housing will be the predominant use on the property with 1,100 units anticipated for faculty, staff, graduate students and non-first year students. The final number of units will be determined housing demand and University plans, limited by transportation performance and other site constraints.

    • The agreement includes a commitment to provide up to five acres of the property to an affordable housing development for permanent, deed-restricted affordable housing on CU Boulder South aiming for approximately 110 affordable units.

    • The cumulative limit of non-residential development will be 750,000 square feet of floor area, with no single building greater than 175,000 sq.ft. This equates to about four non-residential buildings similar in size to the Aerospace Building on the East Campus.

    • Some limited accessory uses will be allowed, and are intended primarily for on-site residents, employees and visitors (e.g., restaurants, daycare, and community gardens.)

    • No large-scale research complexes, high-rise buildings, or large sporting venues will be allowed.

    • Dedication of two acres or long-term lease of land for a public safety facility.

    • A “Use Transition Zone” on the southwest portion of the site includes only residential development that is contextually appropriate to neighboring properties.

    • Building Height is limited to 55 feet and be further limited as the elevation increases to the west through a “Building Height Ceiling”. In practice, the height ceiling will allow 4 – 5 story buildings in the lower areas of the eastern portion of the Development Zone, with progressively shorter buildings permitted as the site grade increases toward the west. The intent is to match neighboring development while also protecting views of the mountain backdrop from Highway 36.

    • Development Standards – The annexation agreement for CU Boulder South includes numerous city development standards that otherwise do not apply to other campuses, like building setbacks (increased setback along the western property line), floodplain and wetland regulations (no habitable space in the 500-year floodplain), and outdoor lighting standards and noise limits.
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  • The Flood Control Zone area consists of 60 acres along the north portion of the site, consistent with the BVCP Park, Urban and Other (PK-U/O) land use and is intended to include public lands used for a variety of active and passive recreational purposes and for flood control purposes. Key terms relating to the flood control zone include: 

    • Land for Flood Mitigation. The university will dedicate 80 acres of the property to the city for its flood mitigation project and open space.

    • Amended Fill Alternative. Included is an alternative flood mitigation layout that reduces the volume of fill and associated cost from $10 M to $3M. The alternative layout utilizes a roadway embankment for South Loop Drive along the boundary between the Development Zone and Flood Control Zone.

    • CU Boulder Recreational Facilities. The university will develop recreational facilities up to 30 acres in this zone. The specific facilities are not yet known, though the agreement does prohibit any large-scale sport venue that is defined as exceeding a fixed seating capacity of 3,000 people (e.g., smaller than Boulder High Sports Facility).

    • Running Track and Dog Park. The city and university will jointly consider a formal running track and dog park with public access. 
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  • The Open Space Zone consists of 119 acres of land on CU Boulder South that is designated Open Space – Other (OS-O) in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan.  Key terms relating to the Open Space Zone include:

    • Land for Open Space - CU Boulder will dedicate a portion (currently estimated at 44 acres) of the Open Space Zone as part of its 80-acre dedication noted in the previous question. The city will purchase the remaining 75 acres of land in the Open Space Zone.

    • Water Rights – In order to restore and manage 119 acres of the Open Space Zone, the university will convey 30.2 shares of Dry Creek Ditch #2 to the city in exchange for relief from irrigation-related Plant Investment Fees and for the city supplying credits for 140 acre-feet of irrigation water annually to the university, except during a drought emergency.

    • Protection of valuable wetlands and natural habitat – The university will comply with city wetland regulations and no habitable space, including offices and residential uses, will be constructed in the 500-year floodplain.

    • Mitigation Area - The city will design and construct a comprehensive environmental mitigation plan within the Open Space Zone to offset impacts elsewhere from the city’s flood mitigation project and university development.

    • Noise and Light Pollution – The university will comply with the city’s noise and outdoor lighting standards.

    • Wildlife Habitat Collaboration - The city and university will collaborate to restore and protect wildlife habitat and incorporate open space values, particularly relating to noise, lighting and other impacts to the adjacent State Natural Area.

    • Landscape Screening – The university and the city will plant trees and shrubs to screen buildings and built infrastructure in the Development Zone from viewsheds on city open space.

    • Levee Removal - At its expense, the city plans to remove the existing levee system in this area as part of the flood mitigation project. Removal of the levee system will aid in reconnecting the natural floodplain and promoting environmental connectivity. Some portion of the removed levee may be used for fill material in the Flood Control Zone.
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  • The intent of the proposed annexation terms is to ensure that the needs generated by future development on CU Boulder South do not unduly impact the transportation networks that serve the community, iincluding the CU Boulder South property. Key terms relating to transportation include:  

    • Primary accesswill be taken from the existing South Loop Drive, with a new access established to State Highway 93. The university will be responsible for obtaining all necessary permits, design and right-of-way acquisition necessary to establish access to the property.

      1. Secondary access will be taken from Tantra Drive, though it will be controlled (e.g., gated) and accessible only to emergency vehicles and transit. Electric busses will be prioritized along Tantra Drive.

    • A trip cap program will establish a maximum number of daily automobile trips to and from the property. The total trip count was derived from a traffic impact study submitted by the university and limits trips to 5,550 daily trips for South Loop Drive and 750 daily trips for State Highway 93.

    • Trip cap monitoring and enforcement mechanisms for annual monitoring and reporting, special event allowances, requirements for non-compliance and trip reduction strategies.

    • A maximum parking ratio will be applied to residential and non-residential improvements, as will the city’s bicycle parking standards. Assuming development of 1,100 residential units and 750,000 square feet of non-residential space, there will be approximately 2,350 parking spaces on the property. The parking ratios are (a) one space for each attached dwelling unit and (b) one space for each 600 square foot of non-residential floor area. Development limitation such as a 2:1 ratio of residential to non-residential space (discussed in Development Zone question) and the trip cap will govern ultimate levels of development and, by extension, the maximum number of parking spaces on the site.

    • Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies are identified and employed (e.g. shared micro mobility program memberships, a carpool and vanpool subsidy program and parking management.)

    • A multi-modal mobility hub will be constructed by the university with minimum requirements for the hub that are based on the city’s Transportation Master Plan. Multi-modal mobility features are intended to provide seamless transitions between different modes of transportation.

    • Site Access Improvements will be constructed by the university. Improvements under discussion include:  
      1.  a 12-foot wide multi-use path along the western boundary 
      2. South Loop Drive will be constructed as a “complete street” with a detached multi-use path and buffered bicycle lane. 
      3. The reconstruction of the existing Table Mesa Drive / South Loop Drive / US-36 off-ramp intersection.
      4. A new access to State Highway 93

    • Off-site improvements will be constructed by the university in collaboration with city projects. Improvements under discussion include: 
      1. A cost-sharing arrangement for a new multi-use path underpass under Table Mesa Drive connecting the RTD Park-n-Ride lot to Thunderbird Drive.  
      2. Other improvements identified in the university’s traffic impact analysis.
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  • The Draft Annexation agreement establishes the terms and conditions of the annexation of the 308-acre CU Boulder South. The Draft Agreement has been negotiated between the City of Boulder and CU and is being presented for consideration by the City Council.  

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  • Complete Form
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  • Complete Form
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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    The purpose of this questionnaire is to provide the most current and accurate information about the draft annexation terms and status of negotiations and get your feedback!    

    We've received some feedback that this questionnaire focuses too much on promoting the terms of the annexation and doesn’t give community members a vehicle to express their opposition to annexation. The purpose of this phase of engagement  is to focus on the current status of the negotiation of terms and to further inform the development of an annexation agreement that City Council and our community can consider later. Therefore, this questionnaire is designed to gather feedback specifically about possible annexation terms. We encourage you to share your feedback on the topics and terms that would be most important to you in any potential annexation proposal. By filling out this questionnaire, you are in no way waiving your right to continue to object to annexation. 

    Complete questionnaire
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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    If you did not have a chance to respond to the recent questionnaire regarding CU South Annexation please add your feedback here. All comments will be compiled for staff and decision-makers.

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