Where to look:
Currently only about 15% of Denver is zoned for ADUs. Neighborhoods where ADU zoning is common found include: Berkeley, Sunnyside, West Colfax, Barnum, Whittier, Cole, Clayton, Platte Park, Overland, Baker, and Cap Hill. Below is an image of a map pulled from Denver’s website that you can access at https://www.denvergov.org/
Understanding the zoning code:
We’re about to get really technical regarding the Denver zoning code. Any citizen can find the entire 1410 page zoning document online. The people most well-versed in the zoning code are trained architects and a few real estate agents. The simplest way to start understanding the zoning code is by learning basics of the easy guide. Let’s do one example together. Take the zoning code E-SU-D1x. The neighborhood context is E which stands for Urban Edge. The Dominant building form is SU which stands for Single Unit. The D means the minimum zoned lot size is 6,000 and the 1 means accessory dwelling units are allowed and the x means to look for special provisions. Does that make sense?
1. Homes on corner lots 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. Typically you cannot covert an existing garage into an ADU.
3. Bigger lots accommodate bigger ADUs. So if I was looking for property to build an ADU I would only purchase something with a large lot. Denver ADUs come in three sizes: 650 sf, 864 sf, and 1000 sf (foot prints). Fixed costs are equal no matter the size, so a larger ADU is a much better value in my personal opinion. I’m building a 1000 sf ADU. The rule is that the second level must be 75% of the first level so I have a 1000 sf footprint with 250 sf of living space and a two car garage on ground level and 750 sf of living space on the second level for a total of 1000 sf of living space.
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’ve an area specifically designed to solve this problem. You can search for properties that are for sale with the right zoning and lot size to accommodate an ADU, check it out. 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.Please give me a call, Kassidy at 303-720-8491.