The problem: There are more than 150 miles of paved roads in more than 100 subdivisions in unincorporated Boulder County, serving approximately 10,600 properties. Many of these subdivision roads are in poor condition because they are more than 15 years old and have never been resurfaced or repaved. The subdivision pavement quality road map shows the condition of every paved county subdivision road.
As a result of the deteriorating condition of many of these roads, the county is receiving an increasing number of requests to pave/repair these roads. The Board of County Commissioners asked the Transportation Department (now called Public Works) to pursue a conversation with subdivision residents and property owners to identify ways to fund the necessary improvements and to develop different approaches to paying for the reconstruction of the deteriorating subdivision paved roads in a timely, cost-effective, affordable, efficient and fair manner.
Subdivision Paving Status Update
Boulder County Public Works (formerly Transportation) continues to maintain local subdivision roads as they are able (i.e., depending on the condition and “fixability” of each road). This sort of maintenance work includes pothole patching and minor resurfacing.
It is the responsibility of area property owners to complete major resurfacing projects (or find a funding mechanism to contract the work), including repaving, for these local subdivision roads. This has been county policy for several years. Current county policy states that rehabilitation or reconstruction of unincorporated local subdivision roads, including paving, is the responsibility of the property owners who use the road to access their property.
Boulder County has been working with unincorporated subdivision residents since 2009 to find a solution for fixing deteriorating subdivision roads.
An initial working group of representatives from Subdivision Homeowners’ Associations and other interested subdivision residents was convened in 2009 to provide advice to the Transportation Department on how best to address the problem of deteriorating subdivision roads. Upon the recommendation of the work group, the commissioners sponsored an “advisory ballot” in 2009 of all potentially affected property owners to gauge support for the creation of a local improvement district to help fund a program to rehabilitate paved roads in unincorporated Boulder County subdivisions.
In addition to convening a work group of interested citizens to review available information and provide suggestions on how to address this problem, reading many emails, presenting and receiving comments from many homeowner and neighborhood associations, the Transportation Department has sent a postcard to every owner of property in an unincorporated Boulder County subdivision with paved roads as a means to provide feedback to the county on this issue, and to fill out a survey to gauge the opinion and perception of the problem and their thoughts on how best to proceed. Over 2,000 property owners responded to the survey, over 1,800 completed all questions and nearly 1,000 provided additional comments. Subdivision Survey Results.
In 2012, based on continued feedback from subdivision residents, the Board of County Commissioners committed to finding a solution in 2013 to begin work on subdivision roads in 2014. A working group of subdivision residents was convened from April to July of 2013 and their input was used to craft language for either a Public Improvement District or a Local Improvement District.
A Public Improvement District ballot issue was defeated in 2013. The county then formed a Subdivision Paving Local Improvement District (LID) to address the reconstruction of nearly 150 miles of paved roads in 118 unincorporated subdivisions. In 2014, a Boulder District Court judge invalidated the LID and ordered that all property assessments be refunded.
Plaintiffs representing a set of unincorporated subdivision residents sued the county in 2014 seeking to divert funding from other county programs to repave unincorporated Boulder County subdivision roads. In April 2015, a senior District Court judge dismissed that lawsuit. In June, 2016, the Colorado Court of Appeals’ Decision upheld the lower court’s decision. On Dec. 19, 2016, the Colorado Supreme Court opted not to hear appeal of Road case (Subdivision Paving Lawsuit).