Boulder has mountains and Delray has the ocean. But oddly enough the two cities have more in common than one would think.
That is what Delray Beach learned after a visit from several representatives from the Better Boulder movement.
Their visit sparked a new, local chapter of the movement they started in their city several years ago. Locally, it will be called “Better Delray.”
Unhappy with the political climate of their city and the types of decisions that were being made, several Boulder residents got together and decided to make a change and be a part of that change. During their Delray stay, they shared the story of Better Boulder at Old School Square.
“We have a path forward that has worked for us,” president and CEO of the Boulder Chamber John Tayer told the audience. “We offer it as something as a potential roadmap that you might consider.”
Tayer pointed out the similarities he saw between Boulder and Delray including limiting height on buildings, finding ways to preserve open space, finding alternative modes of transportation to combat congestion and figuring out how to deal with rising home and office space costs.
He, Will Toor, former mayor of Boulder and Ken Hotard, the Vice President of the Boulder Area Board of Realtors, discussed how they came together despite their different backgrounds and interests to problem solve.
“We struggle with issues,” Tayer said. “Many of them are similar to Delray. We have traffic problems. We have congestion. We have noticed our housing prices go up astronomically.”
With the average home costing $1 million and rent in downtown Boulder increasing, the city has noticed many independent small businesses being priced out of their spaces similar to Atlantic Avenue in Delray.
“The community seemed to be stuck,” Toor said about Boulder three to four years ago. “The community was choking on its own success.”
So the group worked to change the conversation from “development is ruining our community” to what are the choices the community can make when it comes development.
The realization is that infill development is the solution. The more places people have to liver closer to their jobs actually creates less traffic.
To promote that notion, Hotard said the group reached out to people they didn’t agree with all the time.
The group shared that they were able to combat two ballot initiatives they felt would hinder the city and they were able to help get new faces elected and involved in local politics.
“We knew we had to fight,” Hotard said. “We knew we had to win.”
Last year, the city hosted the city YIMBY, yes in my backyard, conference and they continue to hold events and promote smart growth in the city.
To learn more about what Delray is doing to make for a Better Delray, visit or like Better Delray on Facebook.