January 13, 2009

Frank Bruno Saves the Day! Confirmation of CU Concessions on its (legal) violation of Boulder’s height code.

Last week, it was our displeasure to learn that the University of Colorado planned to build a big tall building right on the crest of “the Hill”, overlooking downtown Boulder, Colorado—and hadn’t bothered to consult with Boulder City Council—because it doesn’t have to. Why? CU is not governed by its own city’s height laws (which prevent many buildings from blocking out all views of our famous mountains, thus protecting our unique livability and tourism dollars). Well, good news: Frank Bruno, now The Man over at CU, formerly Boulder’s Manager, has confirmed some token but symbolic and much-appreciated concessions in a letter to myself, our CU student writer Caroline Clark, and Jen Korbelik of the City of Boulder. 

I’d like to personally thank Mr. Bruno for such speedy response, and look to this as a sign that he will, as expected, help CU to learn to talk with others before bulldozing its way over Boulder’s citizens, as it has done from time to time over the years. So let this followup article be titled:

elephantjournaldotcom’s first article from last week, by yours truly, is here


Mr. Bruno’s confirmation:

On Jan 13, 2009, at 10:34 AM, Frank William Bruno wrote:

Hello there Caroline, Jen and Waylon,    

I want to be clear: we will redesign the building by removing the mechanical structure from the roof and place this on the ground. This is what I mentioned to the Camera last Friday. The dimensions of this were it to have been located on the roof was: 40 feet by 52 feet with a 12 foot high screen wall and the equipment would likely have been a bit higher.

A few facts that seem to be overlooked in the blogs… This project was submitted to the City Engineering and Fire departments back on May 27, 2008. At that point the project was in schematic design phase and had not been finalized. The University received comments from Fire but never received comments from Engineering. Despite this fact, I believe that the University should have submitted the initial program plan to the City prior to it being presented to the Board of Regents. That would have been prior to June 2007 and would have allowed ample opportunity for the City to review and comment back to the University prior.

I am troubled by the insinuation that I should have known better.. I was not on staff here at CU and was not aware of the project. Now that I am on staff at CU I have been asking how we can improve the building and deal with the issues. The removal of the mechanical structure is one such action.

I do hope that this helps to clarify.

Best regards,
Frank W. Bruno
Vice Chancellor for Administration
University of Colorado at Boulder



My response:
Well, those of us who are familiar with Boulder governance have a great deal of faith in you, so this lack of communication came as an unpleasant surprise. I will however directly post a new blog with your articulate response–that’s great news of confirmation on the mechanical structure, just the kind of concrete concession I think the Boulder community is looking for.    

That ‘you know better’, even if CU doesn’t always, historically—that communication with its town is vital—is a kind of back-handed complement, and our new blog will offer an open-handed complement. 

Finally, please note that it’s our mission, as a community and environmentally-focused journal, to spread the good news on worthy actions, as we’ve done often in the past (see below)—and with this brief episode behind us, it will be our pleasure to return to stories that show CU in a positive light:




With all best wishes,
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