Boulder Announces Plan To Combat Surge Of Coronavirus Cases

Amber Fisher

BOULDER, CO — The City of Boulder announced an amendment to its Abatement of Public Nuisance Code Friday in an effort to combat a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city. Officials are able to make the amendment under the city's disaster emergency order, which has been in place since March 14.

The code change will allow the city to pursue abatement if a property repeatedly has noise violations or hosts large gatherings. The majority of new COVID-19 cases were confirmed after large gatherings in the University Hill neighborhood.

“It is disheartening that the city is forced to take additional action to gain compliance,” Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam said in a statement.

“But we will not allow the lives of our community-at-large to be further jeopardized by poor choices made by a few. We are hopeful this civil approach will send a message that there are concrete consequences to ignoring guidelines and regulations that are intended to protect each of us and our neighbors.”

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The amendment of the Abatement of Public Nuisance Code took effect Friday. Officials are also notifying the owners and representatives of 12 residences that have been identified as chronic violators of the code between March 16 and May 25, the city said. The criteria used to determine who received notices was either the number of noise violations or that large gatherings were held violating the health order.

“We want residents and property owners to do the right thing,” Boulder City Attorney Tom Carr said in a statement. “The goal is to end the dangerous gatherings and parties – and create a safe environment for everyone during these challenging times.”

Any additional violation by properties on the city's list will trigger potential abatement action, which is likely to include facilitated conversations and/or mediation with property owners and tenants to address the problem, the city said. Failure to comply after that step could result in revocation of rental licenses, which would force tenants to vacate the properties.

A public nuisance is defined as conduct that would annoy residents in the vicinity of the parcel or passersby, which includes violations of public health orders.

“The university supports the city in this action, which reinforces our numerous ongoing communications to students,” said Akirah Bradley, CU Boulder vice chancellor for student affairs.

“Each fall, CU Boulder’s Office of Off-Campus Housing and Neighborhood Relations has worked closely with the city and the Boulder Area Rental Housing Association to create communication packets landlords can share to help educate their student tenants.

“The CU Boulder Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution office addressed violations of public health orders as reports were submitted to the office under the current student code of conduct. Next week, it will announce an update to the campus’s student code of conduct to ensure students are held accountable for violating public and campus health orders, and this fall COVID-19 training will be mandatory for all students.”

To report a Public Nuisance Code violation in Boulder, call 303-441-3333.

This article originally appeared on the Boulder Patch