West Denver neighborhoods just have a little more time to build backyard homes with loans that are slightly larger than before.



Certain areas of Westside, including Atmar Park, Lincoln Park and Westwood, may see more ADUs.

Modular ADU and Garage installed behind Simple Homes co-founder and COO David Schultz, July 9, 2019 (Kevin J. Beaty / Denverit)

Ancillary Housing Units, or ADUs, may have become easier to build and own in West Denver.

The City Council approved in final reading on Monday night a regulation that will extend and increase the subsidy for those wishing to build an ADU through West Denver Single Family Plus Pilot Program

ADU is a small backyard house which bears many names – mother-in-law, casita, carriage house.

Rene Martinez-Stone, director of the West Denver Renaissance Collaborative that runs the program, said they are helping homeowners develop, design, finance, and build individual ADUs that are built by Habitat for Humanity.

Until Monday, homeowners who received 80 percent of the neighborhood’s median income could obtain permission to receive a $ 25,000 farewell loan from the city through the West Denver Single Family Plus system. Homeowners were also eligible for a loan if they rented out their ADUs to a tenant who also earned less than 80 percent of the average income in the area.

City funding was due to expire in January 2021. Martinez-Stone said the pandemic interfered with the program’s plans, so the city was asked to extend funding. And they did it. The funding is due to expire in December 2022 and the loan has been increased to $ 30,000.

The city council also canceled the average income requirement for the loan. Now, if a person earns more than 120 percent of the median income, they must rent out to someone for 80 percent or less. If the landlord earns less than 120 percent, the tenant is not required to have a certain income.

The West Denver Single Family Plus pilot program targets middle and low-income homeowners in nine West Denver boroughs, including Athmar Park, Barnum / Barnum West, La Alma / Lincoln Park, Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park, West Colfax, and Westwood.

ADU, Westwood sidewalk and crudely drawn graphics.  August 18, 2020

Kevin J. Beaty / Denverit

Martinez-Stone said the pilot is targeting West Denver as the area “has experienced a significant shift due to rising house prices.”

“Wages have not kept pace with rising costs, which is why many homeowners are unstable,” Martinez-Stone said. “They don’t see that they can hold onto their home … It’s a way to help them invest in their property.”

She adds that ADUs contribute to the well-being of minorities and low-income families.

ADU Interior in Westwood, June 19, 2020 (Donna Bryson / Denverit)

West Denver Single Family Plus offers five types of ADUs: studio, one bedroom, small two bedroom, large two bedroom, and three bedroom. These devices cost between $ 120,000 and $ 200,000.

Martinez-Stone said she hopes ADUs can become more affordable and accessible throughout Denver… In addition to providing an ADU, homeowners must also be in properly zoned territory… She said she received calls from other areas inquiring about the rezoning of territories for ADU.

“This is promising in raising awareness of ADU for many homeowners living in areas vulnerable to gentrification,” Martinez-Stone said. “I think they are an asset anywhere in the city because they are creating new housing, which is what the city needs.”


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