Villa Park, Barnum and Barnum West could get blanket permission for backyard homes like Chaffee Park and Sloan’s Lake have

Valverde, Athmar Park and East Colfax are talking about it too.
3 min. read
An ADU and a sidewalk in Westwood. Aug. 18, 2020.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Villa Park, Barnum, and Barnum West may be next in line for a full rezoning sweep that would allow for accessory dwelling units.

Councilwoman Jamie Torres announced that her office will be moving forward with an application to rezone the three neighborhoods to allow for ADUs. It's a move similar to what Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval did in Chaffee Park and Sloan's Lake.

Over the summer, District 3 held several virtual and in-person meetings and surveyed residents about the proposed zoning change.

In a press release, Torres' office said they received about 137 survey responses with 83 percent of residents supporting the change. About 13 percent did not support the proposed rezoning and 4 percent were undecided.

Most respondents said they would build an ADU either to rent or to provide additional housing for family members, which Torres and the city believe would help alleviate the housing shortage.

Torres previously said ADUs on the west side were being used as "anti-displacement tactics," as that area sees a rise in the cost of living and gentrification.

"I believe that moving forward with this rezoning would help create more opportunity for diverse housing options and reduce barriers for those who would like to find ways to house their families in their own neighborhood," Torres said in the press release.

ADUs are already allowed in some areas of Villa Park and the Barnums but fully rezoning the neighborhoods eliminates a tedious and costly step in the already sometimes long and complicated ADU construction process.

Map of possible ADU rezoning in Villa Park.
Courtesy of Denver
Map of possible ADU rezoning in Villa Park.
Courtesy of Denver

District 7 Councilman Jolon Clark is beginning neighborhood rezoning talks within Valverde and Athmar Park with the office of Community Planning and Development.

Clark said while Valverde and Athmar haven't seen extreme levels of gentrification and displacement, both neighborhoods are certainly on the cusp.

He added that the upcoming neighborhood meeting with City Planning will give residents a chance to vet the ADU rezoning process and learn whether the full rezone sweep is right for that part of west Denver.

"Athmar and Valverde have a high level of people who have been there for a while, who have lots of family roots there," Clark said. "They're all at risk of these skyrocketing housing values. It's just the beginning of those conversations right now. I'm interested to see what the community as a whole thinks."

Those meetings will start on Oct. 20 at 6 p.m.

A similar proposal is in the works for East Colfax.

Community Planning and Development is working on it's own "citywide conversation" about that sometimes long and complicated ADU construction process, especially as more Denverites continue to apply for alternate housing.

Laura Swartz, CPD's Communications Director, said the city is inviting residents to discuss how the ADU process could be better streamlined in regards to the zoning code.

The conversation isn't going to touch on where ADUs can go but "how they are designed, how they fit in with different types of neighborhoods and block patterns, and how updates to the zoning code may reduce barriers to creating ADUs."

That process has already begun and you can sign up here.

Are you interested in ADUs? Have you started the process and want to take us along? Let us know at [email protected] 

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