In 1959 the people of Boulder, Colorado approved the “Blue Line”, a city charter amendment that restricted city water service to altitudes below 5,750 feet. This was intended to protect the city’s foothills backdrop from development. Eight years later Boulder voters approved a sales tax dedicated to the purchase of open space land and it wasn’t long after that Boulder County voters did the same.
Through this and subsequent sales tax votes, thousands of acres of publicly owned open space land have been purchased by the County, of which about 20,000 acres are agricultural. The issue of how county agricultural land should be managed drew the public spotlight in 2009 when 6 farmers with leases on county land asked for the ok to plant Roundup Ready sugar beets.