Accessory Dwelling Units Gain Legislative Momentum in Denver

Accessory dwelling units, also known as granny flats or mother-in-law units, gained a critical foothold in Denver earlier this month, and the Denver City Council is already maneuvering for more.

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November 30, 2020, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Accessory Dwelling Unit

PhotoMavenStock / Shutterstock

"After one Denver City councilwoman got an entire neighborhood rezoned to encourage more accessory dwelling units there, others on council are looking to follow suit on the city’s east side," reports Conrad Swanson.

The current movement toward legalized accessory dwelling units could be a step toward a blanket reform of the city's zoning code, according to Swanson. The city's most recent comprehensive plan, Blueprint Denver, prioritized a citywide change to allow accessory dwelling units on residential properties.

About 1,400 homes in the Chaffee Park neighborhood, represented by Councilmember Amanda P. Sandoval, were rezoned to allow accessory dwelling units earlier in November. About 20 percent of the single-family properties are zoned to allow ADUs, according to Swanson, but councilmembers are seeking to also make it easier, and cheaper, to work through the approvals process for an ADU as an incentive for more ADUs to be added to the city's residential building stock.

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