May 10, 2022 - Real Estate

3 more Denver neighborhoods get ADU rezoning

Denver's Community Planning and Development Department; Chart: Alayna Alvarez/Axios
Denver's Community Planning and Development Department; Chart: Alayna Alvarez/Axios

Barnum, Barnum West and Villa Park property owners will have an easier time building accessory dwelling units (ADUs) after the Denver City Council on Monday approved a rezoning request.

Why it matters: With both home prices and rents increasing, ADUs are one way people can find affordable housing in the city.

How it works: The council's decision allows all single-unit properties — about 3,200 — in those three neighborhoods to build ADUs, otherwise dubbed casitas or carriage homes.

It's the largest neighborhood-wide rezoning so far, city planning spokesperson Laura Swartz told Axios Denver.

  • That means people who want to build a casita on their property now have fewer steps to make an ADU a reality.
  • The move will help people save money and time, Swartz added. Requesting an ADU rezoning for one lot usually costs $1,000, a fee residents in the three neighborhoods will newly be able to skip.

The big picture: The City Council usually considers ADU requests on an individual basis.

  • Permit rates are holding steady after growing practically every year between 2014 to 2019. The city issued 64 permits in 2021.
  • About 20 ADU permits have been issued for 2022 as of April, Swartz said.

Council member Jamie Torres' office began talking with residents of the three neighborhoods last summer to see if this was something they wanted.

Context: The neighborhoods join Chaffee Park, East Colfax and Sloan Lake as places with neighborhood-wide ADU rezoning.

  • This means only a handful of the city's 78 statistical neighborhoods have large-scale ADU rezoning.
  • An application has been filed for the Regis neighborhood in northwest Denver to join the list.
  • Roughly 25% of the city is zoned to allow casitas (not including land at DIA).
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