Epic Growth Battles Pit Developers Against Nature in Boulder and Larimer Counties, Colorado

I love to fight growth and save nature — yes!

Four epic battles are ongoing — two in Larimer County and two in Boulder County — right now that epitomize the Developer against Local Citizens and Nature. Some people call these local citizens “NIMBY’s”, whereas I of course call them “Earth Warriors”.

In Larimer County, check out the battle over the redevelopment of the old CSU football field, “Hughes Stadium”. The neighborhood group is called “Paths: Planning Action to Transform Hughes Sustainability”. Their Facebook page is here. They’ve had some success, scoring a victory on the Fort Collins City Council against the first super high-density development. Now it’s back to the drawing board for the developers.

Also in Larimer County, check out the battle over the redevelopment of the “Harmony Gateway”, which is the intersection of Harmony Road and I-25. The neighborhood group fighting against high-density development is called “Protect Our Gateway”, Facebook page here. They also scored an early, but hard fought, victory when the Fort Collins City Council voted to force 40% of the landscape to be designated “Open Space”.

Third, down in Boulder County a local citizens group is in the fight of its life against a massive high-density development proposal on the old Storage Tech site. Their group is called “No on Redtail Ridge”, and they have a big vote looming on August 4th with the Louisville City Council. They’ve also received some great statewide press, in this 9News documentary, with great photos and compelling local stories.

The final battle is also in Boulder County where the developer is the University of Colorado-Boulder which bought a large expanse of floodplain along South Boulder Creek that includes a retention pond. CU and the City have been arguing about how to develop the land for years, and local residents are somewhat mixed on whether it should be developed and how. A recent setback on City Council has caused the local group, “Save South Boulder” (Facebook page here) and the long-standing group “PLAN-Boulder County”, to consider running a ballot initiative to overturn the City’s position and protect about 75% of the 308 acres from development.

Some people say the Front Range of Colorado is already bought and sold and the development pressure is a lost cause. I disagree. The inspiration of these local groups to protect large patches of nature in their communities is something to support and behold. In almost all cases, traditional environmental organizations have abandoned these local land use battles, but these battles are really the heart and soul of nature protection by real people in local communities.

People need nature. They are fighting to protect their backyards and any sense of wildness near it. Keep up the fight — it’s what you can do, where you can do it, and it’s your home.