The Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan & Intergovernmental Agreement
Cooperative planning between city and county entities is considered a best practice in regional planning across the nation, and the BVCP, specifically, is recognized as a national model. The 1970 BVCP established the foundation of city and county cooperation and the concept of phasing urban growth. The 1977 BVCP reflected a significant change in comprehensive planning efforts. It shifted the planning focus from a reliance on utilities as the tool for controlling growth in the unincorporated portion of the Boulder Valley to requiring the city and county to clarify the plans for land in unincorporated areas, and establishing a new intergovernmental tool for guiding growth.
Concurrent with the adoption of the 1977 plan, the city and county signed an intergovernmental agreement. It stipulated that both entities would follow the plan and land use map and policies regarding utility provision and new “urban development” (to only occur in areas with a full range of urban services including water, sewer, fire and police). The framework and vision has remained stable for over 40 years.
In 2002, the city and county signed the an IGA (which expired on Dec. 31, 2017) that contained the following city/county provisions agreeing to:
• Adopt by reference the text and maps of the BVCP.
• Exercise each jurisdiction’s planning, zoning, subdivision, building and related land use regulatory functions consistent with the plan.
• Exercise city annexation policies and capital improvements consistent with the plan.
• Review the plan at least every 5 years.
IGA Renewal Process
With the IGA nearing expiration in 2017, elected officials considered renewal and extension of an IGA as a key part of the most recent BVCP Major Update. Consistent with the incremental evolution of the plan since 1977, the City Council and Board of County Commissioners directed any potential changes to specific provisions within the agreement or to the BVCP plan amendments and procedures section that needed to be revised to respond to changed circumstances and needs. These discussions took place during spring 2017.
The Comprehensive Development Plan Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the City of Boulder and Boulder County was scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2017. Staff recommended renewal of the IGA at the time of the BVCP plan adoption to ensure continued, seamless comprehensive planning in the Boulder Valley.