Cultural Resource Preservation – Local Legislative History
The impetus for historic preservation in Boulder County was the passage of HB 1041 by the Colorado State Legislature in 1974. Among other provisions, it gave local governments authority to designate and regulate historic and archaeological areas of statewide interest.
In March of 1975, the Parks and Open Space Department’s first director, Libby Goodwin, responded to the County Bicentennial Commission’s request for projects by suggesting, “a program which identifies and designates scenic, historic, archaeological, geologic, vegetative, and other landmarks…”.
In September 1976, R. Michael Collard began the first of a series of historic site inventories in unincorporated Boulder County. His working site list was expanded upon by Robert G. Rosenberg in May 1977, when a detailed inventory of sites west of the foothills was completed. Kathy Engels began, but never completed, a similar detailed inventory of the plains area of the county in 1978. After receiving a substantial grant from the federal government in 1981, a fairly extensive historic sites inventory was completed by Manuel Weiss which documented sites throughout the unincorporated area of Boulder County. In 1994, Carl McWilliams began a comprehensive survey of over 4,000 sites that are over 50 years old.
This survey project has been funded, in large part, by grants from the Colorado Historic Preservation Fund.
In 1990, a group of citizens concerned about the loss of cultural resources in the county, approached the Boulder County Commissioners with a request to develop a formal historic preservation program. In May 1991, a Request for Proposal was sent to a dozen consultants that specialized in the development of Historic Preservation programs. Urban Prospects, a Dallas, TX firm, was chosen to review existing county efforts, develop a menu of possible program scenarios, conduct a public forum for issues identification and consensus, and draft recommendations for a comprehensive program.
On December 17, 1991, the Board of County Commissioners approved an amendment to the Zoning Resolution which required a permit for demolition, remodel, or other alteration of structures 50 years of age and older. Issuance of such a permit could be delayed for up to 120 days for discussion of preservation options.
Boulder County’s program officially began on September 22, 1992 and the first Historic Preservation Advisory Board meeting was held in January 1993.