The county’s longstanding history of cooperative land use planning with other local governments is central to the compact development pattern and open space preservation that make Boulder County what it is today. State law (Colorado Constitution Article XIV, § 18(2), CRS 29-1-201 through 29-20-107) authorizes local governments to enter into agreements for land use planning. Boulder County was at the forefront of applying this approach, adopting the original Boulder County Comprehensive Plan in 1978. Through comprehensive plans and intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) the county works with local municipalities to develop a long term shared land use vision that identifies areas appropriate for development and those prioritized for preservation. These efforts:
- Provide clarity for land use planning-related decision making.
- Help to maintain compact communities with defined edges and buffers between them.
- Maximize potential for open space preservation and maintaining the predominantly rural character of unincorporated areas.
A comprehensive plan is a guidance document that lays out policies and a map of the intended development pattern. IGAs are legally binding agreements that specify the core concepts of the arrangement between the municipality and the county. IGAs typically have terms in the range of 20 years and include a map showing the areas agreed upon for potential expansion or annexation, and those identified for preservation.
This website presents information about land use IGAs with local governments. However, the county has a variety of other types of IGAs with other governments (e.g., regarding shared public services, etc.).
Additional key facts about the county’s land use IGAs:
- Boulder County has cooperatively developed intergovernmental agreements with nearly all municipalities in the county.
- Land use IGAs often focus on the broad land development pattern, but can also address more specific purposes such as planning along a specific transportation corridor, or planning for a specific parcel or group of parcels.
- IGAs can be between the county and a specific municipality, or between a group of municipalities, as is the case with the Super IGA or the Northwest Parkway IGA.