Editor's note: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of a senior planner with Great West Engineering who consulted the city on water rights and usage. His name is Jerry Grebenc. The story has been updated.

The Boulder Planning and Zoning Board recommended on Monday the annexation of 6.55 acres of land into the city, following a heated public hearing. The proposed annexation will now move to the City Council for final approval.

The land is on the east end of 2nd Avenue, southwest of the cemetery. Chad Bullock, who submitted the request to annex the land, proposed rezoning the land to the R1 zone, allowing it to be developed as a low-density residential area. According to Jerry Grebenc, a third-party independent consultant, the majority of the land falls within the city’s water rights, except for two approximately 300-foot strips on either side. Bullock has proposed 15 residential lots on the property, whose water will be drawn from a city well. 

Previously, Bullock proposed annexing a larger area of 22 acres, but the proposal was scaled back to 6.55 acres when owners of neighboring properties, including McCauley General Partnership and McCauley Family Ranch LLC, argued that the city would not be able to provide adequate water for the original proposal of 36 residences. 

Residents near the land voiced myriad concerns—sometimes loudly—including that the construction and new residents would cause traffic to increase and cause safety issues.

"Don’t take it personal," Cheryl Haasakker, a neighboring resident on East 2nd Avenue, said.  "There’s an issue now with the traffic."

She explained that there are no stop signs, and no one follows the 15-mph speed limit. With increased traffic, she said, come safety issues for dogs and children alike. She added that if there is only one road in and out of the area, construction and increased traffic would make it difficult to come and go. 

"We are the people who will be affected." Betty Demers said, adding that the area is right outside of her window. 

Demers expressed concerns about fire safety given that the volunteer fire department is already understaffed. If there are more houses built, she said, they could become overwhelmed. 

The board asked community members to bring their concerns forward later in the process, because the current motion only recommended the intention to annex, and did not address specifics of construction or residential development. 

Haasakker questioned why the board would approve the annexation of the property if they weren't planning on building on it and "going all the way." County Planner LaDana Hintz said that they will know more about the community's concerns later in the process. 

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