Northwest Subarea Plan
City Council adopted an updated version of the Northwest Subarea Plan at a public hearing on Monday, October 14, 2013. The updated subarea plan lays the groundwork for what transit-oriented development (TOD) could look like in Wheat Ridge.
City Council adopted the original Northwest Subarea Plan in 2006. The plan creates a vision for future development around the Ward Road commuter rail station. As part of the FasTracks project, the station will be constructed by RTD at the east end of W 50th Place. The location will be the end-of-line station for the Gold Line commuter rail which is under construction and is expected to be complete and open by 2016.
The updated subarea plan reflects RTD's progress since 2006 and also builds upon important City accomplishments such as the 2009 comprehensive plan and 2010 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The updated plan retains the original version of transit-oriented development in the subarea, but it refines certain goals and policies to achieve that vision.
Transit-oriented development-often called TOD-is generally characterized by the presence of transit, bicycle and pedestrian amenities, a variety of housing options, and a mix of retail, office, open space and public uses. By combining housing, jobs, and transportation choices in a small area, TOD can lower living costs, reduce the need for driving, support active living, strengthen and diversify tax revenues, and promote more efficient use of land and infrastructure.
ULI TAP Report
In February 2015, the City partnered with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to host a Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) to study the area surrounding the Wheat Ridge Ward Station. ULI is an association of real estate professionals including brokers, developers, planners and designers who donate their time to further best practices in real estate development. TAPs are a service provided by ULI as a way to generate ideas regarding local real estate challenges. The TAP presented an opportunity for the City to get an external perspective on realistic land use and density expectations for the NW Subarea based on its existing land use character.
The TAP process was a day and a half event that included a diverse group of professionals from the Denver metro area with experience in transit-oriented development, multi-family development, industrial real estate, public private finance, and urban design. In addition to touring the site, the panel interviewed over two dozen stakeholders including property and business owners, employers, and elected officials. At the end of the TAP, the panel presented their recommendations which have since been provided in a Final TAP Report [hyperlink to document].
Some of the recommendations include building a strong multi-modal street grid, branding the area, recruiting more job based land uses including possibly a creative incubator space, and creating a diverse mix of housing surrounding the station. The final report was presented to City Council on June 15, 2015, and Council was receptive to the panel’s recommendations. City staff will be evaluating whether changes are needed to any City adopted plans, policies and regulations.
For questions regarding the Northwest Subarea, you may contact Lauren Mikulak, Senior Planner, at 303-235-2845 or firstname.lastname@example.org.