accessory dwelling units granny flats adus

An accessory dwelling unit, also known as a "granny flat" being added to a home.

The Sloan’s Lake neighborhood and part of West Colfax will be rezoned to allow for accessory dwelling units, colloquially called "granny flats,” after the city council unanimously approved the rezoning Monday.

This allows owners of qualified single-unit residential properties in Sloan’s Lake and six properties in West Colfax to build ADUs on their properties without asking the council for permission. Each individual rezoning requests costs homeowners $1,000 in filing fees, city officials said.

This rezoning applies to more than 1,400 parcels over approximately 239 acres, according to Associate City Planner Libbie Adams.

“ADUs are a perfect way to add gentle density in our single-unit neighborhoods,” said sponsor Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval. “We do not get complaints about ADUs, most people don’t even know they’re there.”

An accessory dwelling unit is a small living area that shares a single-unit lot with a traditional home. This includes apartments in basements and above garages and small stand-alone structures in yards.

Sandoval said the council has received more ADU applications from Sloan’s Lake residents than any other neighborhood in her district. In addition, homeowners from a block of West Colfax with the same zone district as Sloan’s Lake specifically asked to be included in the mass rezoning plan.

During Monday’s meeting, three members of the public called in regarding the rezoning. All three callers said they were in support.

“This option for ADUs is a great step forward for our neighborhood,” said Sloan’s Lake resident Patrick Murphy. “For my family, we will be able to have my ailing mother come to live with us in the next couple years because of this resolution.”

A survey of Sloan’s Lake residents in January found that 73% of residents supported the rezoning, 20% opposed and 7% were undecided, Sandoval said. The council received 38 letters from the public in support and 10 letters in opposition, with the primarily concerns being traffic and noise.

The rezoned areas will still have to comply with 51st and Zuni View Plane restrictions. These restrictions limit maximum building height to 16 feet immediately east of Sloan's Lake Park and 61 feet near Federal Boulevard.

This rezoning comes after Sandoval successfully rezoned the Chaffee Park neighborhood to allow ADUs in November 2020 — the first neighborhoodwide rezoning in Denver's history.

Current zoning regulations allow for one ADU per lot in approximately 25% of the city. 

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