A Boulder County District Court judge last week denied a request for a preliminary injunction by city residents seeking to block the construction of a modular home factory at 6500 Arapahoe Road. The order removes a potential hurdle for a project that city officials have said will help the city meet its affordable housing goals.
The city is seeking to partner with Habitat for Humanity and the Boulder Valley School District, which owns the property, to build a modular home factory. The prefabricated buildings can be assembled more efficiently, potentially driving down the costs to build a home.
The city is planning to start construction Aug. 14 and complete the factory by early 2024, according to Jay Sugnet, a senior housing manager for the city’s Department of Housing and Human Services.
Neighbors and other opponents of the project have voiced concerns about potential noise, dust, light and other pollution coming from the project. In January 2023, they sued the city, councilmembers and the school district, challenging an annexation agreement that includes rezoning the property as “industrial” to allow for the construction and operation of the factory.
Last month, opponents filed the motion for a preliminary injunction to halt construction after learning from an open records request that city officials planned to soon break ground, according to court records.
“To the extent construction of the modular housing factory moves forward, it represents serious and significant injury to the nearby protected Sombrero Marsh habitat and nearby residents,” a July 22 court filing states. “This includes construction noise, construction air pollution, construction debris, environmental contamination, and construction traffic; all of which will be irreversible and irreparable as such injuries cannot be undone.”
District Court Judge Dea M. Lindsey denied the motion based on the plaintiffs’ failure to show a “reasonable probability” of winning and the lack of evidence demonstrating the project would cause “irreparable harm to the public.”
City officials have said the project will help the city increase its supply of affordable housing. They have argued it would cost about $242,000 per month if the project were to be delayed, according to court records.
“The Court finds it is a great disservice to the public to delay progress, for any amount of time, for a program that has been long needed in Boulder, and evidence shows is critically still in need today,” Judge Lindsey wrote in the Aug. 1 order.
The plaintiffs have until the end of next week to respond to the order. A final decision on their initial complaint has not been issued. The lawsuit seeks an order that would prohibit the construction of the factory.