The City of Durango has posted a survey to gather residents’ input on standards regulating Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). An ADU is a secondary house or apartment that shares a property with a larger single-family home. ADUs are either integrated within, attached to, or detached from the main residence. These units are a desirable housing option because they are built in convenient locations already connected to city services.
In 2014, the city adopted codes that permitted new ADUs in certain neighborhoods. By 2019, the allowance for ADUs had been expanded to all established neighborhoods. Despite this, in the nearly eight years since the original code changes, fewer than 50 ADUs have been built. In the face of a significant housing shortage, city staff hope to identify what barriers may exist in the creation of new ADUs in the community.
“When the Land Use and Development Code was updated in 2014 to allow for new ADUs, there was an assumption that the city would begin permitting lots of these units,” said Planner Dan Armentano. “This has not been the case, and we are concerned that restrictive code requirements may play a role in limiting the number of homeowners pursuing the option to add an ADU to their property.”
Current regulations impose a variety of restrictions on new ADUs, including standards for design, parking and dimensions. In nearly all cases, no variances to ADU standards are available to applicants. The city’s Community Development staff is seeking public input to help shape how ADU regulations might be revised to allow local property owners to better utilize their property and create additional housing options in our neighborhoods.
The short survey is available to the public until March 16 at DurangoGov.org/VCH. Results will help determine if text amendments to ADU standards are appropriate. Any proposed amendments will require public hearings before the Planning Commission and City Council. For more information and background on ADUs in Durango, please visit DurangoGov.org/ADU