Afternoon Headlines June 15, 2017

The University of Colorado is seeking approval for an additional $300 million for seven construction projects at a Board of Regents meeting in Colorado Springs today.

$75 million would be used to renovate the Hellems Arts and Sciences Building and Mary Rippon Outdoor Theater. CU proposes to bring historic Hellems up to present day building safety codes and install air conditioning in its classrooms. At Mary Rippon outdoor theater, accommodations would be added to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

An additional $96.7 million is requested to finish the construction of a new dorm in Williams Village that would house 700 freshmen.

$77 million would go towards completing CU’s new aerospace building, which will include facilities to test small satellites, instruments, and human space flights. The university hopes to complete both the dorm project and aerospace building by August 2019.

Additional projects in the proposal include finishing a wing of the Biotechnology building, reconstructing the Stadium Bridge between 17th Street and Folsom Street, finishing renovations in the Guggenheim Geography Building, and completing the Center for Academic Success and Engagement.

On Tuesday night, Boulder City Council members moved towards agreeing on a compromise that would limit Boulder County’s control over future city expansion and change who is involved in making decisions regarding land use.

In an unofficial straw poll, the council supported a proposal to revise the current procedure for how the city and county cooperate on land use planning.

The proposal splits Boulder into three categories. Area I land includes existing city boundaries. Area II is land intended for eventual annexation and development, and Area III is the greenbelt that is Boulder’s growth boundary, not intended for development.

The plan was presented by council-member Aaron Brockett. It would put Area II land decisions under city control, but allow county commissioners the chance to weigh in or veto decisions of the city if the land under review is over 5 acres. Notably, the plan would also eliminate the Planning Commission in the review process.

The Planning Commission has received both praise and criticism for making anti-development decisions. Some council members expressed concern that without its voice, urban development would expand too much. Others supported the idea to take out the Planning Commission from decisions because its members are appointed, not elected, and they fear the commission won’t represent what the city of Boulder thinks is best.

The council is expected to formally vote on Brockett’s plan on July 11.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman announced Thursday that she is joining a group of attorneys general across the country that will be looking into how drug companies may have broken laws in marketing opioids.

The bipartisan coalition includes the majority of state attorneys generals and seeks to investigate how drug manufacturers may have influenced and prolonged the painkiller and heroin epidemic that impacts Colorado and many other states. A news release from Coffman’s office said the officials plan to determine a collective way to address the country’s opioid crisis.

According to the Colorado Health Institute, there has been a 68% increase in overdose deaths in Colorado between 2002 and 2014, with a greater problem in rural areas. Coffman’s office has been involved in fighting the opioid epidemic since September when she launched the Colorado Naloxone for Life Initiative. The program provides first responders and law enforcement with an overdose reversal drug, which has reportedly prevented 170 overdoses in the state so far.

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