City Council call-up: Duplexes, triplexes, and middle-income permanently affordable housing at 28th and Jay

On Thursday, February 16th, City Council will hold a discussion and public hearing on a proposal for 34 permanently affordable and 50 market-rate duplex, triplex, and townhome units at the northeast corner of 28th Street and Jay Road in North Boulder. The project was crafted to address Boulder’s stated desire for middle-income permanently affordable housing – something outlined in the 2016 Middle Income Housing Strategy, and repeated regularly at city meetings. But when the Planning Board considered it in December, they gave it mixed reviews.

Formerly the site of the Church of the Nazarene at the NE corner of 28th & Jay, there could be 84 for sale units here, 34 of which would be permanently affordable to middle income people.

The discussion at Planning Board revealed a divide between city Housing and Planning staffs. Housing urged the developer to maximize the potential number of affordable homes on the site, while Planning pushed for lower density to match nearby rural and single-family subdivisions. Planning Board members were also divided on this question, and in the end, the developer received no clear guidance on what would be allowed on the site 

When it takes up the project at 2801 Jay Road, City Council can clarify its support for affordable ownership opportunities, and for the types of housing that make them possible. If Boulder hopes to make progress on middle-income affordability, it will need to address the challenges of finance, land use, and design at the center of the 28th and Jay project.

Viewed from the southwest, the 34 permanently affordable middle income units are in blue, red and yellow.

Because the project involves an annexation, the city has considerable discretion to set zoning, affordability requirements, and even street design standards that will determine the balance of pavement and green space in this proposed pocket neighborhood. And direction given on this project may set a precedent for future development in the adjacent Area III Planning Reserve.

You can support townhomes and middle-income affordable housing at this 4.6 acre site in North Boulder – and throughout the city – by sending an email to City Council, or speaking (in-person or remotely) at the February 16th public hearing. To participate in the public hearing, you must register by 2PM on Wednesday, Feb. 15th.

Read our original analysis of the 2801 Jay Road proposal here.
Read a Twitter thread of Planning Board’s December 6th Concept Review here.

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