On September 26, the Town of Superior Board of Trustees will discuss the possibility of adding mixed uses and 100-percent permanently affordable homes at the 36/McCaslin Park-n-Ride at Superior Marketplace. This potential future zoning change would allow the Boulder County Housing Authority (BCHA) to develop Superior’s first affordable homes.
The public meeting will be held at 6 pm in person at the Town Hall and remotely (www.superiorcolorado.gov/home). Superior Planning Commission and community members are invited to hear project updates and ask questions about BCHA’s progress on a plan for a walkable and connected neighborhood of affordable homes and nonprofit/community-serving spaces. Boulder Housing Network encourages our readers’ support for this project for critically needed permanently affordable homes that would benefit Superior and all of Boulder County. Thoughtful emails to the Town Board and Planning Commission would help in what could be a long planning and approvals process: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
In May 2021, on the invitation of the Town Board, BCHA began planning for a transit-oriented development (TOD) project that would include per manently affordable rental and for-sale homes at the 36/McCaslin Park-n-Ride. BCHA presented trustees a concept plan in August 2021. Over the past year, BCHA has been involved in discussions and concept planning with the Town Board and the land owners of two parcels—a Park-n-Ride parking lot owned by the Regional Transportation District (RTD) and Parcel 8, an adjacent vacant lot owned by Brixmor, the developer for Superior Marketplace.
The evolving BCHA plan now calls for up to 269 homes above and/or next to a new parking garage, as well as both rental and deed-restricted for-sale homes. The project’s unit mix and ranges of affordability will be determined through the planning process with the community. Some rental homes could be targeted for households earning up to 80 percent of area median income (AMI), or a maximum income of $100,320 annually for a family of four and $70,240 for a single person, a typical income for a nurse, firefighter, or bank teller. For-sale homes may be included for households earning up to 120 percent AMI.
Superior currently has no permanently affordable rental or deed-restricted affordable homes. BCHA notes some of the homes that served as unofficial affordable housing were destroyed in the Marshall Fire, which caused the loss of 380 homes and five commercial buildings in Superior. Opposition to BCHA’s affordable housing project has been voiced by a few people who lost homes and want them rebuilt before the town builds affordable housing. BCHA says it empathizes with displaced homeowners, and that this project to provide homes for low and middle-income households is part of the solution. BCHA says Superior residents who lost homes in the fire, depending on income, could be eligible for the project’s affordable homes.
BCHA plans to apply for Planning Commission and Town Board approvals in 2023, including for architectural requirements and a final development plan. If this project is approved, BCHA likely would not begin construction until 2025. In addition to the Town of Superior’s entitlement and rezoning processes, BCHA will need to apply to RTD’s 8-step Unsolicited Proposal Procedure for Real Property to develop the property. BCHA would apply for financing through low-income housing tax credits, bond financing, and state and local funds.
Superior has been moving toward TOD and affordable housing for a few years. In 2017, 51 percent of Superior residents responding to a community survey said the town should begin detailed planning and zoning changes to allow for TOD at Superior Marketplace. In 2018, the Superior Board of Trustees adopted a resolution supporting the goals of the Boulder County Regional Housing Partnership’s Regional Housing Strategy. The town has also previously discussed amending the Superior Marketplace planned development (PD) to include residential uses and has identified RTD’s 36/McCaslin Park-n-Ride as a potential site for future affordable housing.
In 2020, the Superior Board of Trustees passed an Inclusionary Housing Ordinance requiring all new developments of 10 or more units of for-sale or rental housing to include 15 percent as income-restricted affordable units. Amending the PD zoning to allow construction of 100-percent affordable homes would allow Superior to begin to work toward the Boulder County Regional Housing Partnership’s goal of 12 percent permanently affordable housing by 2035.
Meanwhile, BCHA is expanding the project’s community engagement process to encourage more community members, including those who were displaced by the fire, to help design the project’s building architecture, public plaza, and connections to trails, open space, and the developing Downtown Superior. BCHA staff say they welcome conversation about community concerns and will seek community collaboration through neighborhood meetings, design charettes, the project website, and other means. They also hope to establish an advisory committee of community members and other stakeholders, similar to the advisory committee that has helped plan their Willoughby Corner project in Lafayette.
The McCaslin Park-n-Ride location is ideal for a TOD. It provides access to RTD’s regional bus system and services along the U.S. Highway 36 corridor from Boulder to Denver and is within walking and biking distance to local businesses, grocery stores, parks, and trails. BCHA envisions improving pedestrian and bike access around the site, throughout the Marketplace, and connecting with surrounding communities such as Old Town Superior and Louisville. BCHA plans to provide residents a Neighborhood EcoPass and work with RTD to develop a multi-modal transit hub with a car-share program, electric vehicle car-charging stations, bike-share program, e-bike charging stations, bike-maintenance station, and bike storage for residents and transit riders.
More information about the project is available at: www.boco.org/SuperiorTODhousing.
More information about TODs and RTD is available at: www.rtd-denver.com/projects/transit-oriented-development-projects.
What is Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)? Transit-oriented development (TOD) is compact, mixed-use, higher-density urban infill development that is pedestrian and bike-friendly and closely integrated with jobs, housing, services, and amenities within a five or ten-minute walk or bike ride of public transit stations. TOD projects provide environmental and economic benefits by using land more efficiently and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, as well as household dependence on and costs for vehicles. Transportation is second only to housing as a household expense nationally, with the average family spending approximately 32 percent of their income on housing and 19 percent on transportation.
TODs help balance jobs and housing, providing homes in the community for local workers. They help communities meet sustainability goals and spur economic development, such as increased revenues and sales taxes to support local businesses and community services. Studies show TODs can increase transit ridership and improve transit users’ physical health by encouraging more walking and biking combined with bus or train use. And the cost efficiencies of building higher-density housing can help provide more affordable units.
Boulder regional demographics have shifted to more households of seniors, single people, and single-parent families–groups that historically have shown a preference for higher-density housing near transit and a greater need for affordable housing within Boulder County.