At a public hearing on June 19, the Boulder County Planning Commission gave its go-ahead to proposed renovations at the Boulder Country Club that will add approximately 2,000 square feet to its main clubhouse. However, because the 55-year old structure is a “relatively intact and significant example” of local architect Hobart Wagner’s work, the country club must agree to seek formal landmark status before building permits will be issued, according to the conditions attached to the planning commission recommendation.
“It’s a structure Historic Preservation Advisory Board has deemed significant for the history of the county,” senior county planner Summer Frederick said during her presentation to the panel. “It has gone through the review process for HPAB, and they have determined that they would like to see it designated a landmark.”
Owners of the private club in Gunbarrel are seeking renovations to the main clubhouse in order to serve the “changing needs of membership.” Architect Adrian Sopher, speaking on behalf of the BCCs application, said that the interior will be refurbished with more open, family-friendly spaces in mind.
Built in 1964, the structure consists of six interlocking hexagonal wings and has 29,277 square feet in floor area. The proposed improvements will increase the clubhouse’s square footage by seven percent (to 31,367), but nearly all of that will fall within the building’s existing footprint, with no increase in height, scale, or mass.
“If you look at who would be impacted, very few people would even see this,” Sopher said. “The vast majority of this is screened by trees. … The impacts to neighbors are pretty non-existent in what we’re proposing here.”
That’s due to a 1993 agreement with the county that allowed the BCC to continue operating after revisions to county zoning ordinances removed Membership Club as an allowed use in rural-residential zones. The club had to submit a Master Development Plan and agree not to expand or enlarge its existing facilities. These proposed renovations fall outside of the scope of the plan, so a special use review was required to update it. In contrast, proposed renovations to the BCC pool house are allowable under the 1993 agreement.
“As you might guess, there’s been plenty of changes in the club in 20 plus years,” said BCC general manager Michael Larson during his remarks to the planning commission. “Essentially what we’re trying to do, it’s a remodel of the clubhouse. We’re expanding areas of the club based on how the club’s being used. The operation of the club is not changing in any way shape or form. … We don’t need to be bigger, we just need to improve a little bit.”
Initially, the owners of the BCC were skeptical of the county’s landmarking process. The designation is voluntary, but places restrictions on exterior alterations. It also adds HPAB review to the county’s extensive special review process, potentially delaying or adding costs to any future improvements. Noting prior renovations to the clubhouse, Sopher said the request to landmark the building came as a surprise to the current board of directors.
“There’s questions coming from the board,” Sopher said. “They want to continue to be able to treat this as a living facility and, we hope, still be around when we’re all gone. We are not looking to change the population size; we are looking to have some kind of accomodation and recognition that this building can continue to serve the needs of its members.”
Larson later confirmed that the BCC’s ownership has no further objection to the process, and noted that the BCC is “proud of Hobie Wagner.”
With the planning board’s approval in hand, the BCC will go before the Boulder County Commissioners at a public hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 16 at the Boulder County Courthouse. If approved, construction on the clubhouse is slated to start this fall and be completed during the summer of 2020. Construction on the BCC”s pool house is slated to move ahead in September, with completion in spring of 2020.
For more information about the proposed renovations and the Land Use staff recommendation, visit landuse.boco.solutions/boco.lu.docketlistings/app/index.html and search for docket SU-19-0003.