Current Regulations on Single-Family Homes
Denver District 4, is seeking to make an appeal for rezoning of the lots and allow ADU construction. The main concern for this move is the fact that District 4 is labeled officially as a suburban neighborhood. City planners attribute this characteristic to housing areas that exhibit single-family homes in winding/curving streets and restrict commercial building forms as shopping only. So what is the concern for this south suburban Denver neighborhood that wants to increase housing density with private ADUs to their existing homes? Simply, homeowners and city planners cite that ADU construction in suburban neighborhoods essentially changes them to be urban. All the issues of an urban neighborhood will be placed onto the suburban families living there, who have made a conscious decision not to be living directly in the city.
Concerns of Denver suburban neighborhood turned urban by ADUs
City planners and officials have been generous in their efforts to move towards the goals of Blueprint Denver. A plan was enacted in order to combat population growth, density, and housing issues. ADUs were a part of this plan, which is viewed to be a gentle way to ease these issues with the included consideration of transportation and land use. However, neighbors in the southern Denver neighborhood are very divided on this solution. One neighbor is for the ADU rezoning – stating that this would allow him to build an ADU for his aging mother and have her closer to home for care. While the adjacent neighbor expresses complaints about losing privacy, aesthetics, and peace.
A neighbor interviewed by the Denverite, “The structure in question will be directly behind me, essentially a new house in my backyard within sight of our great room’s large windows that look out into our yard directly into this back yard. I do not want to have a new stand-alone structure in my site view. This is a family neighborhood of single-family homes and was developed and built with that purpose in mind.”
If passed this ADU Rezoning will signal changes for many Denver neighborhoods
Currently, Denver only allows an approximate 25% of lots for ADU construction. Denver officials have been generous on rezoning hearings for those who have requested them. However, very few neighborhoods, as a whole, who requested rezoning for all have passed. Recently, the Chaffee Park Committee was successful in its bid to rezone an entire neighborhood near Sloan’s Lake. The main difference is that Chaffee Park was considered an Urban neighborhood unlike District 4. If this entire neighborhood gets the approval for rezoning, that would signal a larger acceptance for other neighborhoods, urban or suburban, to follow in suit to increase population density around Denver. While a great solution for homeowners seeking to build more wealth or value right on their homes – others fear the expansion of urban sprawl over their slightly more peaceful suburban homes.
A vote with the full City Council will be conducted next month and will determine whether or not this neighborhood will be allowed to rezone. City planning officials have advised that this is a positive change and support the vote to allow ADU construction in this Denver suburban neighborhood since it meets the goals of the Blueprint Denver policies.
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