Did you know that Denver is one of the few cities across the nation that have a substantial number of neighborhoods zoned for additional dwelling units? Commonly called ADUs, accessory dwelling units or granny flats, additional dwelling units are secondary residents built to fit within the same lot or area as an existing residence. ADUs are a great way to use limited space like there is in Denver. When a neighborhood is zoned for ADUs it means that homeowners do not have to seek city permission if they want to convert their garages or basements into apartments. The City Council recently voted to rezone 2,050 lots in the East Colfax neighborhood for ADUs.
Additional Dwelling Units in Colorado
This is good news as East Colfax is considered a high-risk area for gentrification which would very likely displace lower-income residents. A survey circulated in the neighborhood between August 2020 and February 2021. Of those 139 responses, 106 supported the rezoning and 26 opposed it, according to a city staff report. Allowing ADUs is a way to combat gentrification because they are typically rented out at a lower cost. Additional dwelling units also give the existing homeowners a chance to build more wealth on their properties. The more wealth that grows for existing homeowners, the less likely more wealthy people will try to move in and hike up the prices.
East Colfax is the third mass rezoning to accommodate more additional dwelling unit developments in the Denver area. 1,400 properties in Chaffee Park were rezoned in November 2020 and then another 1,400 in Sloan’s Lake in August. For those worried about over populating the area should remember that rezoning doesn’t mean that additional dwelling units will start popping up on every lot. In fact, not many have been built in the Chaffee Park area at all since being rezoned. It just signifies that efforts are being made to give current homeowners more options and control over their properties.