A city council public hearing Tuesday on the fate of the former Boulder Community Health hospital site and surrounding area played out in almost the exact opposite fashion as the initial meeting on the topic late last month.

Boulder residents turned out in force at Tuesday’s meeting, which also included Planning Board members, in hopes of swinging officials’ support back to a denser housing plan with a high number of affordable units for the so-called Alpine-Balsam site and adjacent areas.

“The Newlands neighborhood I’ve lived in (for 41 years) used to be ranch and bungalow-type homes, but over the years, many have been scraped off and turned into large, expensive ones,” Tim Eaton said. “It seems like much of the economic diversity has been lost, and that’s true of Boulder as a whole. … I support staff’s plan for 210 to 260 units at Alpine-Balsam. I know some neighbors are concerned they might lose some views or have to wait in line for coffee longer, but I ask you put yourselves in the shoes of the people who could be our new neighbors, the nurses, teachers, service workers who would like to live in Boulder near their jobs.”

More than a dozen similar quotes starkly contrasted a late August public hearing, when a vast majority of comments also came from residents of the neighborhoods near the 8.8-acre hospital site Boulder purchased for $40 million in 2015. That group angrily and fearfully begged council to abandon plans for land use changes that would have allowed multi-family and mixed-use structures as the 70-acre swath surrounding the hospital is redeveloped over the coming decades, and asked for less-dense housing on the city-owned site.

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