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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

87% of Denver Homeowners left out

Denver’s new zoning ordinance is nearly complete after several years of hard work by citizens and staff. The code is a form-based model, a revolutionary approach introduced by Peter Park, Manager of Community Planning and Development. There remains much to review and debate before the City Council adopts the code by their vote in Feb. or March 2010.

One of the early promises by the Blueprint Denver Committee at the outset was to include Granny Flats, officially known as Accessory Dwelling units, or ADUs. These small homes would be allowed in the backyards of single-family homes for the purpose of housing Denver’s rapidly aging population, at little cost to the city. Family incomes could also be supplemented by renting an ADU, or they could be used as guesthouses, Nanny Quarters, or studios.

The code drafters have included ADUs, in the written book in several single-family zones, but those particular zones are only shown on the proposed zoning map for 13% of the total single-family area in the city, according to the Denver planning office. This give and then take policy is ultimately unfair. On one hand, the city can tell citizens that want ADUs that they are written into the zoning book in many zones, and on the other hand they can tell the opposition, that ADUs will not be allowed in their neighborhood. I admit that the planners are in the middle of neighbors having a disagreement, but can our council people continue to play this game or will they do what’s right and give every single-family property owner the same opportunity.

Neighbors concerned about the impact of ADUs on their property have mentioned the following issues: overcrowded street parking, Design compatibility with existing homes, shading of adjacent yards, lack of open space, poorly managed rental units, noise created by young student renters, the increase in neighborhood population. These are legitimate concerns, and most can be managed by regulations that address each particular concern. If a homeowner cannot comply with the regulations, then they cannot build an ADU in their backyard.

posted by Custom Blogs @ 10:31 AM 




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