ADUs in Denver Open House Invitation

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Denver Open House

Denver Community Planning and Development will host an open house starting Thursday, August 25 for Denver residents to weigh in on design challenges for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as well as ways they could better fit into different neighborhoods. Participants will also be asked to consider a variety of possible solutions. Feedback from the open house will be used to inform the project’s draft recommendations, expected to be released in the fall. Details are below. 

Join in person!

4:45 – 7:15 p.m., Thursday, August 25

Carla Madison Recreation Center

2401 E. Colfax Ave., 

Denver, CO 80206 

Please RSVP here and choose your entry time slot 

Join online!

August 26 - September 2

View materials and share your thoughts on the project webpage

The project team is looking forward to hearing from the Denver community. 


What can I expect at the open house?

The ADUs in Denver project aims to remove barriers to building ADUs that are caused by outdated zoning code regulations and consider ways they can fit better in different neighborhoods  – which means some information covered will be technical. The project will not rezone any properties. Through feedback received from the project’s community advisory committee, a public survey, focus groups, and recommendations in citywide plans, some issues identified include: 


Minimum Lot Size Requirements: ADUs are only allowed on properties that meet minimum lot size requirements even if the property is zoned to allow an ADU. Minimum lot size requirements vary throughout the city, which makes this regulation unpredictable and confusing for property owners. 


Bulk Plane Requirements: A bulk plane is an imaginary, three-dimensional plane that dictates how much space a building can take up on a lot. For ADUs, the bulk plane impacts the slope of its roof, which can greatly impact the habitable space inside and also increase construction costs. 


Reuse of Existing Structures: Many people would like to convert an existing structure, such as a garage, into an ADU to save on construction costs and be more sustainable. The zoning code only allows such a conversion when the ADU meets all the rules for a new ADU (setbacks, height, etc.), which can make it difficult to convert existing structures that often do not meet all of these requirements. 


Use Allowances: ADUs are allowed in a variety of zone districts, but are only permitted as accessory to a primary single unit dwelling. This means that some buildings like row homes or duplexes are zoned to allow ADUs but cannot build them. Blueprint Denver, the city’s land use and transportation plan, recommends allowing ADUs as accessory to more uses than single-unit homes. 

Share your thoughts on these and other topics at the open house in person or online.

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Get caught up on the project

Read the project background report
Watch previous advisory committee meetings
Why are we doing this work?

In 2019, the Denver City Council adopted Blueprint Denver, a citywide land use plan that was developed based on public input. Thousands of residents helped create the policy recommendations in Blueprint Denver, which includes specific recommendations regarding ADUs:


  • that barriers to ADU construction be removed, 
  • that zoning rules be reviewed and adjusted so ADUs fit into a variety of neighborhood contexts. 


ADUs can be a great way to increase affordable housing options, keep families living on the same property, and add gentle density to a neighborhood. 

Visit the project webpage for the latest updates
Learn more in the project background report
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