The Denver Planning Board has given its approval to a proposal that will see the construction of several dozen accessory dwelling units in the city’s Chaffee Park neighborhood.
Such units, colloquially referred to as “granny flats” because they are smaller houses where older family members have sometimes lived near a main family home, are increasingly being seen in the Mile High City as an affordable housing solution.
Often measuring less than 500 square feet, and sometimes even built as second floor spaces above rear garages, accessory dwelling units proved particularly popular in the immediate World War II years when Denver was in need of new housing anywhere, of any size.
Their popularity died away once the city embraced a mostly ranch house building explosion for the Baby Boom generation.
But the need and desire for accessory dwelling units has returned in recent years, and not just as an answer to the affordable housing challenge, but also because such structures can provide a means of supplementing the property owner’s income.
Currently such units exist in around a third of Denver’s neighborhoods, with just under 60 new structures approved by the city in 2018.
The West Denver Renaissance Collaborative, a group dedicated to spurring the development of more affordable housing options, has additionally announced that it wants to spearhead the construction of at least two hundred new accessory dwelling units.
The proposal for the Chaffee Park accessory dwelling units must now go before the Denver City Council’s Land Use, Transportation, and Infrastructure Committee, before being voted on by the larger council later this year.
By Garry Boulard
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