The Regis neighborhood in northwest Denver may be Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval’s third community to receive a full rezoning sweep that would allow for accessory dwelling units, otherwise known as ADUs or granny flats.
The councilwoman has submitted an application to rezone Regis to allow for ADUs. Sandoval has previously and successfully petitioned to rezone two other neighborhoods in her district, Chaffee Park and Sloan’s Lake, to allow for ADUs.
From November through February, Sandoval hosted two virtual meetings and surveyed residents regarding the proposed zoning change. According to her office, they collected 292 responses, and 82.9% of respondents supported the change. About 11.6% were opposed and 5.5% were undecided.
“This is the highest level of support I have seen in all my ADU outreach and provides clear direction to move forward with the application,” Sandoval said in a statement.
Similar outreach is being done for the West Highland neighborhood, another community in Sandoval’s district. Two virtual meetings have been held so far and surveys are still being accepted.
If a neighborhood isn’t fully zoned for ADUs, individual homeowners can apply for rezoning if they want to build one in their backyard. However, that process is costly and tedious, sometimes taking up to a year.
Fully rezoning neighborhoods for ADUs eliminates that step, though the construction process can still be long and complicated.
The city views ADUs as one solution to the housing crisis because they assist with issues related to growth, gentrification and displacement, though the cost of ADUs may deter homeowners. ADUs can provide additional space for families looking to house relatives, or homeowners can rent out the space for additional income both long and short term.
As the city continues to look toward ADUs as a housing solution, it’s also looking to streamline the application process.
Community Planning and Development created a community advisory committee and project team that will focus on how ADUs “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.”
Committee members include residents from across Denver including the Baker, City Park, Montbello and Park Hill neighborhoods. Councilmembers Kendra Black and Chris Herndon are also on the committee.
The committee’s first meeting will be held on March 3. The meeting is solely for committee members, but it’s open for public observation.