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Developer plans mixed-income residential project, hopes for Boulder annexation

BOULDER — Fulton Hill Properties, a Richmond, Virginia-based residential developer, is planning a project on a site in unincorporated Boulder County that Margaret Freund, president of FHP and a Boulder resident, hopes will be annexed into Boulder city limits. 

The developer’s proposal, presented this week during a conceptual review hearing before Boulder’s Planning Board, calls for 84 for-sale units — a mix of townhomes, duplexes and triplexes — on a nearly five-acre parcel at 2801 Jay Road.

Of those, 40%, or 34 units, would be set aside as affordable housing for middle-income residents, a demographic that Boulder officials have identified as in need of additional housing options in the city. 

This week’s conceptual review — during which Boulder Planning Board members offered opinions and recommendations, but took no formal votes — was an early step in the city’s approval process, which will require the board and the Boulder City Council to sign off on requests for annexation, a land-use map change, a site review, platting, technical documents and building permits.

Freund, who said, “I truly believe in the overarching benefit of mixed-income communities,” told Planning Board members that FHP has been in talks with Habitat for Humanity about opportunities for collaboration on the project. 

The Jay Road development proposes 34 middle-income affordable units. Source: Boulder planning documents.

Concerns from nearby residents, who provided comments this week during the board’s hearing and during past neighborhood meetings, centered mainly around traffic, density, disruption of prairie dog habitats, and whether the project would move the needle on Boulder’s housing affordability crisis. 

Some Planning Board members also expressed some hesitancy about granting an annexation and land-use change before the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, the city’s guiding document for determining whether a project would be appropriate in a particular location, is updated a few years down the road. 

Still, the need for housing that’s accessible to those earning salaries around the area median income was enough for the board to encourage FHP to move forward with its Jay Road plans. 

“We are way behind the curve,” Boulder Planning Board member Mark McIntyre said, “and I think we have to look at this as an opportunity to catch up a little bit in achieving our middle-income housing goals.”

Source: BizWest