Part 1: How to find a property zoned for an ADU in DENVER
Navigating Denver zoning code and understanding how to identify ADU properties takes an expert. If you have a passion for this type of thing you can figure it out. The first step is to understand the general areas and neighborhoods where the zoning accommodates building an ADU.
Where to look:
Currently, only about 15% of Denver is zoned for ADUs. Neighborhoods, where ADU zoning is commonly found, including Berkeley, Sunnyside, West Colfax, Barnum, Whittier, Cole, Clayton, Platte Park, Overland, Baker, and Cap Hill.
A big zoning change is in the works and in the next iteration of our zoning code many more areas will have ADU zoning. It will take probably about 5 to 10 years for the zoning decisions to be finalized so don’t hold your breath waiting.
Understanding the zoning code:
We’re about to get really technical regarding the Denver zoning code. Any citizen can find the entire 1300 page zoning document online. Here is a link to the Denver Zoning Code. The people most well-versed in the zoning code are trained architects.
We recommend: StudioBvio
The simplest way to start understanding the zoning code is by learning the basics.
When evaluating a property you will need to know the lot size and zoning code found on most listings or on the City’s Assessor’s website
There are 28 different zoning codes that allow this type of building structure. Within each zoning code, there is a minimum lot size which is going to exclude some smaller lots in the neighborhood. The lot will accommodate an ADU if it has the zoning code and lots size in the list below.
Once you verify that the property is in fact zoned correctly and has a big enough lot there are a few properties that are more ideal for an ADU than others.
Ideal ADU lots:
1. Homes on corner lights are ideal for ADU use to access an avenue rather than an alley.
2. Lots without garage are preferred to avoid the expense of demolishing an old garage.
3. You’re lot size and zoning code will determine the size of ADU you can put on your property. Bigger lots accommodate bigger ADUs. So if I was looking for property to build ab ADU I would only purchase something with a large lot. Denver ADUs come in three sizes: 650 sq ft, 864 sq ft, and 1000 sq ft. Fixed costs are equal no matter the size, so a larger ADU is a much better value.
Project Guide for Detached Dwelling Units
The Project Guide for ADUs is intended to provide you an overview of the permitting process for detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) such as a guest house that is detached from the primary residence and contains provisions for sleeping, cooking, and sanitation.
Help finding and ADU:
The reality is that even a real estate agent can’t filter properties that met the ADU criteria and send you these listing. Because you have to run the code and the lot size for thousands of different properties it is nearly impossible on the current MLS system that real estate agents use. On my website, I have an area specifically designed to solve this problem.
If you want to buy a property zone for an ADU I highly recommend utilizing a real estate professional who is knowledgeable in this area.
Hollis J Pirkey says
Do you know what neighborhood 2001 W. Asbury, Denver is? Is it zoned for ADU?
Hi Hollis, I own a firm, Tripp Design Group. I can help you with figuring out the zoning and a feasibility study to build an ADU. Please contact me at brandon@TrippDesignGroup.com and I will be more than happy to help you