With the cost of living continuing to grow and affordable housing at a premium in Denver, it makes sense that residents would consider living arrangements in which multiple roommates could share expenses.
But Denver’s definition of a “household” limits the number of unrelated people who can live together, despite it being allowed in most other major cities (although Boulder has similar restrictions to Denver). The restrictions have also proven difficult for multiple-generations to care for aging family members and for artist community cooperatives and co-housing.
In addition, residential care and group homes (like shelters and halfway houses) are only allowed under current zoning regulations in certain areas, which the Denver Community Planning and Development (CPD) on its website says “perpetuate[s] inequity, effectively keeping some populations from living in residential neighborhoods near jobs, transit and other services they need.”
City planners are now nearing completion of a two-year community effort to overhaul the Denver Zoning Code’s residential use regulations that they said “will increase housing opportunities and flexibility for all residents.”
CPD reviewed and evaluated land uses and definitions for households, community corrections facilities, shelters for the homeless, residential care homes, new uses like tiny home villages and more.
Planners have recommended the following changes to the zoning code:
- “Allow more unrelated people to live together, as is already possible in most other cities, and provides flexibility and affordability.
- Allow residential care and group homes in more places and reduce inequity by no longer categorizing them by types of people or needs they serve. This will eliminate many barriers that facilities addressing community needs like shelters and halfway houses currently face, and will allow residents to live closer to transit and services.
- Improve predictability for providers and neighbors by standardizing permitting processes and regulations, such as spacing between facilities.
- Require community information meetings for larger residential care uses to notify and educate neighbors and foster positive relationships.”
Community members are encouraged to learn more about the proposals at a series of open houses throughout the city. The North Denver meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 at Scheitler Recreation Center, 5031 W. 46th Ave.