Second village of tiny homes “getting real” at Denver church

The Colorado Village Collaborative plans to build second a village of small houses on parking lots around St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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The parking lot north of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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The parking lot north of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The tiny home experiment may soon expand in Denver.

The Colorado Village Collaborative plans to build second a village of small houses on parking lots around St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

“All along, we’ve said that the Beloved Community Village was not a one-off project. Our goal was to launch a network of villages across the metro area,” said organizer Cole Chandler.

” … We hope this is the second of many.”

The new proposal includes eight freestanding houses, and it would be meant for women, including transgender women, Chandler said. It’s a follow-up on the group’s first project, which it launched last summer for people experiencing homelessness at 38th and Blake.

A rendering by Radian Placematters of the proposed tiny-home village at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. (Radian Placematters)

A rendering by Radian Placematters of the proposed tiny-home village at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. (Courtesy Colorado Village Collaborative)

Starting next Wednesday, the group will start a campaign to raise money for the new project, which would stand on a parking lot near the church, just east of downtown.

But they’re not there yet.

The project has to go through a review before the city’s Landmark Preservation Committee, Chandler said. That will include several public meetings and a comment period in the weeks ahead.

“We’re about six weeks out from knowing if we can go forward,” Chandler said.

They’re also seeking a six-month permit from the city to occupy the site, which is a limit required by the city’s rules. Additionally, the organizers are working with the mayor’s office and city planners to allow tiny villages to stay in place for longer periods of time.

The plan:

The new design would include some changes from the current village. Instead of portable toilets, the village could have  two incinerator toilets. The central kitchen also could include running water and other improvements over the original.

A rendering by Radian Placematters of the proposed tiny-home village at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. (Radian Placematters)

A rendering by Radian Placematters of the proposed tiny-home village at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. (Radian Placematters)

The original village has shown success on a few measures so far. The first village raised $27,000 in an online fundraiser, plus $60,000 more from other donors. In its first six months, it wasn’t the subject of any police calls. (Read our feature story.)

Meanwhile, the congregation at St. Andrew’s has talked since 2016 about hosting tiny homes. The idea has drawn objections from some of the church’s neighbors, who were concerned about safety and sanitation, among other questions, according to the church.

In the long run, St. Andrew’s hopes to develop its property.

A recent filing with the city shows plans for a four- and two-story building complex on the site — with the church buildings still standing.

That project could host 48 units of permanent supportive housing, to be built in conjunction with the Mental Health Center of Denver.

Long-term plans for the St. Andrew's campus.(Davis Partnership Architects)

Long-term plans for the St. Andrew's campus.(Davis Partnership Architects)