Housing Innovation Division, ADUs, and Vacation Rentals

The city's Housing Division was recognized by the highest possible award from a national planning association for its partnership with local stakeholders in providing workforce housing units, and specifically for the Animas City Park Overlook Townhomes. This video describing the effort was presented at the Sept. 28, 2023 American Planning Association Colorado Chapter conference.

Lumien Apartments Exterior PhotoThe 2022 City of Durango Strategic Plan and Operating Plan outlines short- and mid-term objectives, and identifies various initiatives and strategies including Affordability & Economic Opportunity to "Create housing to enhance multigenerational community workforce, as well as attainable and affordable housing overall." This led to the creation of the Housing Innovation Division to bring focused effort to addressing the housing crunch currently facing Durango. 

The Housing Innovation Division is responsible for creating, implementing, and administering community housing initiatives towards the goal of maintaining and enhancing quality of life in Durango through the creation and support of housing development. The Division works collaboratively with established community partners and seeks out new partnership opportunities on a local, state, and federal level.

Core Functions

  • Direct, plan, and coordinate the City of Durango’s Housing Program.
  • Serve as the face of residential housing for the City of Durango and stimulates its growth as a sustainable, equitable community.
  • Create and direct overall strategy to strengthen our community’s access to housing and affordability.
  • Proactively propose, execute, and evaluate workforce and affordable housing strategies for implementation.
  • Identify, negotiate, and secure land acquisitions or depositions on behalf of the City Council where appropriate. 
  • Prepare and successfully implement the Housing Program Annual Work Plan through demonstrated and measurable action steps and ensure the work is completed in a timely, effective, and fiscally responsible manner.
  • Attend community meetings and seek input from diverse groups of community, internal, and regional stakeholders to create housing policies and initiatives to meet the needs of the community and its residents.
  • Educate constituents, gather feedback on key issues, create presentations for informational meetings as well as formal public hearings.

Housing Plan

The Durango 2018 Housing Plan also establishes goals, priorities, and implementation measures for the Durango Housing Program and serves as the foundational document for the program.

Strategic Initiatives and Housing Work Plan Overview

Housing remains a top priority for City Council and the City of Durango wants to do their part in helping to address the housing shortage and increase affordable and workforce housing inventory with a variety of mechanisms and strategies. The Housing Initiative serves as the foundation for a housing program within the City of Durango to address the city's housing issues. To further the City’s goals and objectives in the Strategic Plan, the Housing Innovation Division’s Initiatives can be categorized in the following program areas:

  • New Housing Development
  • Preservation of Existing Housing
  • Adaptive Reuse
  • Housing Policy and Code
  • Housing Programs
  • Land Acquisition and Land Banking
  • Funding Sources
  1. Housing Reports ▼
  2. Housing  Data▼
  3. Housing Incentives ▼
  4. Additional Resources ▼

Housing Needs

The Regional Housing Needs Assessment & Strategy Study was completed in the fall of 2021 and examined the cross-dependency of housing supply and demand among jurisdictions in the region. This study took a more regional approach to housing strategies to address needs and La Plata County information includes the City of Durango, Ignacio, and the Town of Bayfield. 

  • Meeting the unmet housing needs identified in the study requires an average annual development of about 310 units, with all these units being for permanent residents. Additional units for seasonal and vacation ownership would be in addition to these units.
  • Affordable Housing refers to a unit that has a strong, long-term deed restriction or other guarantee that the unit will be occupied by an individual or household earning 80% Area Median Income (AMI) or less.
  • Attainable/Workforce Housing refers to a unit that is not necessarily encumbered by a deed limitation but would most likely be considered accessible to someone earning between 80%-120% AMI simply by the nature of the type of development.
  • Market Rate Housing refers to a unit that has no deed limitation which means that pricing will fluctuate based on market conditions. Given the fact that no controls will be in place, staff is assuming that these units will be purchased/rented by individuals and households earning 120% of AMI or greater.

Housing Investment Strategy

La Plata County 3-Year Workforce Housing Investment Strategy (published June 2022 prepared by Project Moxie & Capelli Consulting): This housing investment strategy prioritizes the key steps necessary to maximize the creation of housing affordable to the local workforce across La Plata County. The overarching strategy addresses rental housing, homeownership, a concerted effort to initiate a large-scale housing development, the preservation of existing affordable options, and the creation of a local housing fund. Successful execution of the strategy will require coordinated action across jurisdictions and between public and private sectors. This strategy document is a tool to bridge together a network of housing strategies and it is designed for accessibility.