While recording this podcast series, Blueprint Denver went was put to a vote... and it passed! This is excellent news and will help the future accessibility of ADUs. The goals are far from completed but an important first step has been taken and is supported by the residents of Denver.
Englewood and Arvada have already loosened their restrictions on the construction of ADUs and the fears that residents had about them being built in their backyard are not coming to fruition. These small units have not disrupted the aesthetic of neighborhoods, if anything, they have helped preserve it. Allowing owners to increase their property value without having to scrape previously existing structures is stopping new construction and keeping original homes in place. The fears of having too many cars and people in the neighborhoods have not led to overcrowding. With the additional people, alleys are becoming activated with more light and traffic making them safer and more usable places.
The city of Aurora is hot on the heels of these pioneer cities, excited about the opportunities that ADUs can provide in the city. They recognize the need to diversify the housing stock within the city and want to see neighborhoods culturally preserved. ADUs can give longtime homeowners multiple ways to stay in their homes and provide affordable housing solutions to their families or other individuals.
The Future of ADUs
With the passing of Blueprint Denver, the diversity of advocacy groups is extremely important. Professional from many trades and industries will be required to help streamline future zoning regulations that will effect ADUs. We need realtors and appraisers to come to common consensus on how to value the units, lenders and bankers to understand the value that they provide to the home, builders to help simplify and improve the code to speed up construction time, along with many other experts to make this a state of the art change for the city. Continuing the conversation in conjunction with local outreach is mandatory for long term success of the vision.
As Denver continues to grow and real estate prices continue to climb ADUs can become a significant piece of the homeownership puzzle. Vancouver is a great example of this. Most buyers won't even consider purchasing a property unless it has an additional structure built on it so that the mortgage can be partially subsidized to keep housing costs at a manageable level. It will be critical that advocacy groups help develop solutions to limit the initial development fees, permitting costs, and construction requirements of ADUs so that more of them can be built. The future for ADUs is bright and their inclusion into more cities will be very beneficial.