The Denver City Council could pass new zoning rules for tiny home villages on Monday night.
The council will hold a public hearing on a proposed zoning code change that would streamline the process for community groups and other organizations to open tiny home villages to house people experiencing homelessness.
The villages would be allowed in all zoning districts, except open space districts, and they would be permitted to operate for up to four years at one location.
The proposed regulations define those communities as detached tiny house sleeping units and central kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Tiny houses, typically less than 400 square feet, have been touted by HGTV shows and lifestyle magazines as a gateway to a more affordable, minimalist lifestyle. As the trend has gained momentum, nonprofits and advocacy organizations have also begun pointing to the dwellings as part of a solution to homelessness.
But those who want to open tiny home communities in Denver must now seek special variance approvals because the zoning code doesn’t explicitly define the developments.
Under the new rules, villages planned for residential zoning districts would be limited to 30 units and would have to be located on the same lot as a church, community center, or other place of "primary civic or public use," according to city planning officials.
Denver is home to Beloved Community Village, which has about a dozen tiny homes. The village had to relocate once when its initial permit expired, and the Denver City Council voted in April to move it again from the River North neighborhood to Globeville.
The Colorado Village Collaborative, which runs the village, has said it will renew its push to open another tiny house community catering to homeless women if the city adopts the new regulations. That collaborative's effort was stalled when the group couldn't find a location because of the current zoning restrictions.
In other business, the City Council on Monday night could also approve nearly $3 million in no-interest, forgivable loans to the Denver Housing Authority for the first phase of redevelopment of a 1950s-era public housing community in the Sun Valley neighborhood.
Once the entire redevelopment is completed, the new Gateway community would include some 850 homes, according to the housing authority. The townhouse community's roughly 330 existing subsidized units would be replaced, and about 520 more — an evenly split mix of income-restricted and market-rate housing units — would be added.
The initial redevelopment phase, expected to cost more than $70 million, consists of two developments that will offer nearly 200 homes, including family housing and units covered by Section 8 vouchers.
State, federal and private funding has also been secured to help pay for the project.