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Group Living Rules Update

 

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Learn about potential changes to residential use rules

After two years of work with community members, city planners are nearing completion of a broad overhaul of the Denver Zoning Code’s residential use regulations that will increase housing opportunities and flexibility for all residents.

The city's response to the COVID-19 project has affected the project timeline, but staff continues to work on ways to engage the public in the process while observing the city's evolving health guidelines. 

Next steps

The Group Living Advisory Committee met virtually Wednesday, May 27 and discussed potential updates to the group living proposal based on community feedback. Use the buttons below to download meeting presentation and view recording of the meeting (case-sensitive password: Denver2020).  

Additional updates will be posted here in the coming days. 


Community feedback 

Since the conclusion of the community open houses held in February and March, city planners have been reviewing the feedback received. Use the links below to download a summary of what we heard and the full comment log.


Get answers to common questions

Key problems Proposed solutions
Outdated definition of “household” limits common living arrangements and reduces affordability especially for people who could live with roommates. Allow more unrelated people to live together, as is already possible in most other cities, and provide flexibility and affordability.
Residential care regulations perpetuate inequity, effectively keeping some populations from living in residential neighborhoods and near jobs, transit and other services they need. Allow residential care and group homes in more places and reduce inequity by categorizing them by size instead of the needs they serve. This will eliminate many barriers that facilities addressing community needs like shelters and halfway houses currently face, and it will allow residents to live closer to transit and services.
It is difficult to establish some needed uses, while others are not clearly regulated, and existing facilities cannot grow to meet demand Improve predictability for providers and neighbors by standardizing permitting processes and regulations, such as spacing between facilities.
Inconsistent notification and permit requirements can interfere with establishing some kinds of shelters and frustrate neighbors. Require community information meetings prior to submitting a formal application for larger residential care uses to notify and educate neighbors and foster positive relationships.

 Current rules create obstacles for residents who need flexible housing options and for providers who offer much-needed services to vulnerable populations. Current rules also perpetuate inequity by making it harder for certain communities to live in residential neighborhoods and near jobs, transit or other services they need.

The project and the proposed changes aim to increase flexibility and housing options for residents, to streamline permitting processes for providers while fostering good relationships with neighbors, and to make it easier for those experiencing homelessness, trying to get sober or who have other special needs live and access services with dignity. 

Why do residential care facilities need more flexibility?

There is a clear need in our city for housing and services. This proposal would create more opportunities for the city to meet this need and would support the city’s vision of using shelters for a rehousing strategy with a more tailored residential approach.

How does this proposal affect residential care facilities?

Facilities that serve residents through shelter or transitional housing and services face barriers under the current zoning code. Our goal with these updates is to reduce and eliminate those barriers, as well as locate such facilities near jobs, transit and other amenities. While the zoning code previously categorized these homes by the type of service they provided, the proposed update would categorize them by their size or how many people they served, to better address potential impacts on neighborhoods. New rules would also offer greater clarity on the rules and the permitting process for both providers and neighbors. 

Is it true eight roommates could live in one house? Why should this be allowed?

The Denver Zoning Code currently limits the number of people who are not related by blood who can live together as a household to two people. This restriction doesn’t reflect how people live today and severely limits options for people to save on housing costs by having multiple roommates or combining households or people who want to live in intentional communities like cooperatives and multi-generational households of unrelated people. Zoning is primarily focused on reducing a land use’s potential impacts on a neighborhood or community; treating eight unrelated adults living together substantially differently from eight related adults living together does not result in reduced impacts.

Additionally, the state of Colorado’s Group Home statute already requires Denver to treat a group of up to eight people that fall within one of that statute’s protected classes (people over the age of 60 or people with behavioral or mental health disorders, for example) as a household for the purposes of zoning.

Are there any space restrictions for this number of people living together?

The proposed change would allow eight unrelated people to live together as a household in a dwelling unit of up to 1,600 square feet in size, with one additional adult permitted per 200 square feet of finished floor area in larger dwelling units. Staff are recommending this number for this size based on:

  • The state’s Group Home statute (see above)
  • A guideline from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) intended to prevent substandard housing that recommends 200 feet of floor area per person in a dwelling unit.
  • The zoning code’s existing standard, which caps the number of occupants of an accessory dwelling unit to one adult per 200 square feet. 

Denver’s 2019 Building and Fire Code sets no limit on the number of people who may live together. (Specific codes and standards applied vary depending on the number of people and whether they are related.) Likewise, Denver’s zoning code does not limit the number of related people who may live together.

What about the impact on neighbors?

Noise and maintenance and other potential issues stemming from a larger household will continue to be governed by the Denver Revised Municipal Code and will not change. As is currently the case, enforcement will typically begin with a call to Denver 311. 

Can a homeowners association or landlord have tighter restrictions than what is permitted by zoning?

Yes. An HOA or landlord can establish more restrictive standards for how many people can live in a dwelling unit, etc., just as they can for other characteristics, such as the number of permitted pets. HOAs and landlords are responsible for enforcing their rules, and must be aware of the implications of the Federal Fair Housing Act, which protects certain classes of people from housing discrimination. 

How does letting more people live together help our housing and homelessness crisis?

We need many strategies to address housing affordability. Updating the definition of a household to include more unrelated people is only one piece of this project, which is also addressing outdated and multilayered zoning regulations for shelters and other residential care facilities.

The household definition does not directly affect homelessness, but it relates to housing affordability, which is one of many factors contributing to homelessness in Denver and other booming cities. We know that people are seeking more affordable housing options and that more people are living together to save on housing costs. This change is proposed, in part, to acknowledge peoples’ need for affordable housing.

We do not expect this proposal to change the pricing of rent or property, but to allow more people to legally share those costs of one house if they choose to. This is one more tool in a series of tools and strategies that the city is implementing to tackle these complex issues. 

Additional questions and answers on the household definition are included in the downloadable FAQ document linked below. 

What is a “halfway house”?

A halfway house is a place to live for those who have been sentenced to live there by District Court as an alternative to prison or who are state prison inmates eligible for parole who have met the requirements to transition to a halfway house.

How is a halfway house supervised?

These facilities are under strong oversight at the local and state levels. The Colorado Department of Corrections and the court have responsibility over the clientele in halfway houses. The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, in conjunction with the Denver Community Corrections Board, creates standards of operation. In addition, Denver’s Department of Public Safety provides oversight, ensuring compliance with state regulations and local ordinances. All clients placed in Denver facilities must be approved by the Denver Community Corrections Board and the local provider. Less than two percent of clients are terminated from the halfway house program for committing a new crime.

How does this proposal affect halfway houses and how they are regulated?

Zoning shouldn’t discriminate based on type of person. Right now, the code does, but it’s our belief that facilities need to be regulated by size, not who they serve. The proposed changes to the zoning code would regulate community corrections facilities – and all other residential care living uses – by the size of the facility (the number of people they serve), rather than who they serve, to better and more equitably address the impacts of a facility on a neighborhood. The proposal would remove some of the current restrictions on where they can be located, but it would not change other regulations, codes or oversight that apply to these types of facilities, how they are established, how they are run or who is eligible to live in them. All clients placed in Denver facilities must be approved by the Denver Community Corrections Board and the local provider, and this would not change.

How are violent crimes treated? Are there safeguards in place?

Individuals in community corrections facilities are supervised according to individual circumstances and needs. These facilities provide 24/7 supervision and structure for individuals to receive treatment and supportive services to assist with their transition back into the community. All clients placed in Denver facilities must be approved by the Denver Community Corrections Board and the local provider, and have oversight by a number of agencies, not the zoning code. Less than two percent of the clients are terminated from the halfway house program for a new crime. 

Recent research on how living with roommates impacts affordability in cities with high housing costs can be found at the following links:

Project staff surveyed many cities and in some cases discussed comparable regulations with local staff. Most comparable peer cities, such as Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Austin and San Diego permit more unrelated adults to live in households. This is also true of Front Range cities like Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Lakewood, Arvada and Castle Rock.


Problem Statements

To ensure any updates to the Denver Zoning Code appropriately address existing conditions and existing challenges of group living uses for residents, neighbors and providers, the problem statements lay out what those challenges are, as identified by city staff and a Stakeholder Advisory Committee. The general problem statements apply to overarching concerns with group living, while sub-group problem statements focus on issues related to specific uses. 

Evolving Residential Needs: Different ways of living together are desired to meet new challenges, circumstances, and lifestyles. However, outdated or unclear regulations or a lack of applicable use definitions and building forms in the Denver Zoning Code (DZC) limit those possibilities.

Difficulty Meeting Rising Demand: Demand for some group living types exceeds current supply, but expansion or establishment of new facilities is constrained, in part, by the DZC.

Unintended Results: Current regulations have led to unintended results, including: 

  • disproportionate concentrations of social services and resources in some neighborhoods
  • ongoing use of legacy residential care facilities
  • need for extensive transportation services 
  • concentration of vulnerable population

Unclear Regulations: Some regulations are unclear or inflexible when considering expansion or siting new or innovative facilities.

Unnecessary or outdated language: Some language in the DZC is redundant, inconsistent or in conflict with state and/or federal regulations and guidelines. 

  • Zoning restrictions limit the number of unrelated individuals who can live together under the definition of “Household Living,” which reduces opportunities for intergenerational living and other desired uses.
  • Vehicle parking requirements for assisted living facilities exceed the vehicle parking demand.
  • The Denver Zoning Code regulates Assisted Living Facilities and Large Residential Care Facilities based upon zone district contexts creating confusion for city staff.

  • Demand exceeds current capacity
  • Limited space in applicable districts for new facilities
  • Many existing facilities are compliant or nonconforming uses, which have limited allowances for expansion
  • Vehicle parking requirements exceed demand and take up space
  • Population Density requirements need revision

  • The Denver Zoning Code’s definition of “Household” places limits on the number of unrelated individuals who can live together. These restrictions inhibit the development of nontraditional residential typologies like artist housing, cooperative housing and co-living. 
  • The Denver Zoning Code’s Household and Group Living definitions and use limitations make it difficult to establish creative spaces that combine low-cost housing with flexible performance venues, assembly and gallery venues, and the narrow “Live/Work Dwelling” category has proven inapplicable to such uses.
  • Key terminology used in the Denver Zoning Code is not always consistent with corresponding language in the Building, Fire and Health Safety codes. This leads to confusion in interpreting the correct language and regulations between the codes, causing delays and additional expenses as staff and property owners resolve the conflicts.
     

  • The zoning definition of “household” is too restrictive, limiting the number of unrelated individuals who can live together. 
  • Zoning does not recognize residential building forms that do not meet our current definitions for a “dwelling unit” such as co-housing and Tiny Home Villages. 
  • Single Room Occupancy is categorized as a lodging use which may be negatively impacting their development as an attractive group living option.
     

  • Current limitations on spacing, density, and size for shelters are difficult to administer and have unintended consequences, including overreliance on emergency determinations to expand existing facilities and continued concentration of legacy facilities in certain
    neighborhoods.
  • City Council districts are the wrong geographic units for regulating the maximum number of beds for shelters as permanent, primary uses. 
  • The terms “beds” and “residents” are used inconsistently, and the use of “beds” as a measure of facility size does not reflect best practices for limiting the size of shelters.
  • Definitions of shelter types are confusing, have ineffective and inequitable public involvement procedures, and make it difficult to combine a continuum of shelter to housing options in one facility.
     

  • Sober Living Homes are not clearly identified and regulated as a Group Living Use. 
  • The distinction between services provided in a Transitional Housing setting and a Special Care Home facility are unclear. 
  • Small Residential Care Facilities contribute to the concentration of services and “institutionalization” of neighborhoods but face far fewer requirements than Large Residential Care.
  • Establishment of new Large Residential Facilities near adequate transit and services is limited by zoning, spacing and density requirements.
  • Neighborhood role in permitting decisions is unclear and difficult to explain to the public, especially for Small Residential Care Facilities.
  • Minimum 6,000-square-foot lot dimension for Residential Care Facilities may have the effect of concentrating such facilities in suburban neighborhoods.
  • Section 11.2.9.1.F, specifying compliance with the Denver Building and Fire Code, is redundant, as all residential uses must comply with the Building and Fire Code.


Advisory Committee

The advisory committee will help evaluate existing regulations and provide insight into community needs and potential solutions. The committee represents a broad cross-section of community members, registered neighborhood organization (RNO) representatives, group-living service providers and clients, elected officials, design professionals and other stakeholders, to ensure an inclusive public process. The Denver Planning Board and City Council will consider advisory committee recommendations before City Council adopts any amendments to the Denver Zoning Code. 

NAME AFFILIATION

Rey, Roberto

AARP

Lyall, Amanda

Beloved Community Village

Henry, Michael

Capitol Hill United Neighbors

Fisher, Robert

Colorado Cross Disability Coalition

Malloy, Michael

Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

Chandler, Cole
Colorado Village Collaborative

Carst, Shannon

CoreCivic

Hayden, John

Curtis Park Neighbors

Carr, Mary Jane

Delores Project

Kniech, Robin

Denver City Council

Ortega, Deborah

Denver City Council

Bustos-Giron, Debra

Denver Dept. of Housing Stability (HOST)

Conner, Christopher

Denver Dept. of Housing Stability (HOST)

Mauro, Greg

Denver Dept. of Safety Community Corrections

Howard, Terese

Denver Homeless Out Loud

Koehler, Loretta

Denver Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation

Noble, Joel

Denver Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation

Aggeler, Heidi

Denver Planning Board

Elliott, Don

Denver Planning Board

Priestley, Kevin

Denver Regional Council of Governments

Goldman, Robbie

Dry Bones Denver

Falk, Frances

GEO Group

Lewis, Kristen

GEO Group

Curtis, Terrell

Housing Advocate and Consultant (Formerly Delores Project)

Rodriguez, Rose

Independence House

Keeven, Rachel

KTGY Architecture

Ronczy, James JR

KTGY Architecture

Gladwell, Troy

Medici Communities

Papesh, Lex

MetaRecovery Inc

Hancock, Brice

Mile High Sober Living

Kiger, Scott

Mile High Sober Living

Coddington, Chris

Old San Rafael Neighborhood Organization

Fuchs, Daniel

Oxford House

Garcia, Michael

Pinehurst Country Club

Lewis, James

Pinehurst Country Club

Bindel, Paul

Queen City Cooperative

Wells, Sarah

Queen City Cooperative

Martorano, Louise

Redline Denver

Gross, John

Rhinoceropolis/GLOB

Licko (Giellis), Jamie

RiNo Business Improvement District

Tucker, Vanessa

Rosemark at Mayfair Park

Jenkins, Vanetta

Senior Living Options

Dolan, William

Sobriety House

Rutherford, Bill

Southmoor Park West

Scudo, Paul

Step Denver

Florance, Mimi

Swallow Hill Neighborhood

Bartic, Brendan

Third Way Center

Eisner, David

Third Way Center

The advisory committee as a whole will meet on a regular basis, as will the committee's subgroups. Meetings are open to the public, and information on upcoming meetings will be posted here. Meeting materials for past meetings will be posted at the bottom of this page in the meeting archive.

No meetings are scheduled at this time. 

 
Impact of COVID-19 response on CPD

The health and welfare of our community is extremely important to us. Help slow the spread of COVID-19 by doing business and engaging with us online. 

Although timelines will be affected, CPD staff is continuing to work on planning, permitting and inspections as responsible social distancing allows. We will stay in contact with applicants and project partners on next steps and are reviewing virtual options for meetings and public engagement that may be carried out under our current circumstances. 

Contact Us

Andrew Webb
Senior City Planner
andrew.webb@denvergov.org

Contact us using the information above if you use assistive technology and need access to any of the files on this page.


About the Project

Denver is seeing increasing demand for non-traditional housing. With the evolving needs of our residents in mind, along with recent changes to other housing regulations, city planners have been work to evaluate the Denver Zoning Code’s rules for “group living.” This evaluation has included a review of land uses and definitions for: households, community corrections facilities, shelters for the homeless, residential care homes, new uses like tiny home villages, and more. Based on this evaluation, planners are making recommended updates to the zoning code for some or all of these housing types.

Staff has hosted more than 30 meetings with the project's advisory committee and participated in more than two dozen neighborhood meetings or events talking about this work. We’ve worked closely with service providers, policy experts, and neighborhood groups to develop these recommendations, and we are continuing to listen to feedback on them now.

While the evaluation of the code should identify any and all relevant problems with the current rules, several have already become clear, including: 

Outdated or confusing language. The current Denver Zoning Code was adopted in 2010. However, some of its language came from the previous code, now called Former Chapter 59, which has its origins in the 1950s. This has resulted in regulations that may be confusing or contradictory, antiquated, or in conflict with current federal and state fair housing laws. Examples of these may include the current definitions of “households,” and complicated regulations for shelters for the homeless.

Emerging uses not considered in the code. In recent years, demand has emerged for new housing types that cannot be achieved using the zoning code’s use definitions or building forms. Examples include “tiny home villages” of detached single sleeping units that lack the amenities of a legal dwelling unit, and commercial buildings converted to live-work-performance art spaces. 

Changing needs. Recent efforts to address homelessness have highlighted zoning requirements that make it difficult to establish new shelters. The zoning code also imposes limitations on mixed uses in these facilities that could be beneficial, such as small-scale job training or storage for clients. 

Community corrections moratorium. A 2008 moratorium on new community corrections facilities will expire in 2018. This project will review current regulations for community corrections and identify any updates that may be needed to balance community needs with evolving strategies for reintegrating people back into society after incarceration. 

Federal regulations. Recent changes to federal fair housing regulations have resulted in some Denver regulations becoming non-compliant.

Generally speaking, the Denver Zoning Code breaks residential uses down into two use categories: Household Living and Group Living. These categories and their specific included uses are defined in the Use Definitions section of the Denver Zoning Code: Division 11.2. 

Review the Denver Zoning Code as a single document or by article >>
Review regulations for residential care uses in Article 11 (PDF) >>

Household Living

Household Living is defined in Sec. 11.12.2.1 and includes:

  • Single-Unit Dwellings: a single dwelling unit in a single structure, such as a detached house

  • Two-Unit Dwellings: two dwelling units contained in a single structure, such as a duplex

  • Multi-Unit Dwellings: three or more dwelling units contained in a single structure, such as an apartment building

  • Live/Work Dwelling: a combination of residential and commercial activity located within a dwelling unit. Live/Work Dwellings permit commercial activity as a primary use, alongside the residential use – this is in contrast with the limited Home Occupations that are regulated as accessory uses and permitted in other types of Dwelling Units.  

Household Living uses limit the number of unrelated individuals that may occupy the dwelling units described above. In a Two-Unit or Multi-Unit dwelling, four unrelated adults and any number of relatives to each may occupy each unit. In a Single-Unit dwelling, the Zoning Code currently permits the following combinations of residents:

  • A single person, plus any number of relatives
  • A “husband and wife,” plus any number of relatives to either
  • Two unrelated adults over the age of 18, plus any number of relatives to either

The code specifically lists allowable relatives, which generally include parents and grandparents, children and step-children, siblings and step-siblings, in-laws, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews. 

 

Group Living

Group Living is defined in Sec. 11.12.2.1 and includes:

  • Assisted Living Facilities: A residential structure licensed by the state that houses more than 8 adults with 24-hour non-medical supervision. Examples include homes for people with disabilities and the elderly who require assistance with daily tasks like bathing and dressing. 

  • Community Corrections Facilities: Residential structures for three  or more persons who have been placed in a community corrections program by city, state or federal judicial or correctional departments. Residents of these facilities are often transitioning from incarceration back into society. 

  • Nursing Homes and Hospices: State-licensed establishments that provide 24-hour skilled nursing care. 

  • Residence for Older Adults: Single- or multi-unit dwellings that house unrelated, mobile persons 55 years or older, in excess of the number of persons permitted per dwelling unit . Such facilities do not require 24-hour supervision, and residents typically receive fewer services than what would be delivered in an Assisted Living Facility. 

  • Rooming and Boarding House: A residential structure containing one or more guest bedrooms that are rented for permanent occupancy. Meals may or may not be provided, but cooking facilities are not provided in individual rooms. 

  • Student Housing: A structure related to a college, university or seminary with common cooking facilities and gathering rooms. These can include dormitories and recognized fraternities and sororities. 

  • Transitional Housing: A residential structure that houses unrelated persons in excess of the number permitted per dwelling unit, where occupancy is more than 30 days but less than 2 years and is intended to help residents transition to permanent housing. Transitional Housing is often a first step out of homelessness. 

  • Special Care Home: A residential structure that houses unrelated persons in excess of the number of persons permitted per dwelling unit that provides more than 12 hours per day of treatment or care to address mental illness, behavioral problems (such as addiction) or other conditions.

  • Shelter for the Homeless: A facility that provides overnight sleeping accommodations for people experiencing homelessness. 

  • Safe House: A residential structure that provides a refuge from dangerous social situations or abuse. Note: Safe Houses are unique in the Group Living category in that they are permitted in any zone district that allows Multi-Unit Dwelling uses. 

 

Large and Small Residential Care Uses

Large and Small Residential Care Uses: Transitional Housing, Shelter for the Homeless, Community Corrections Facility and Special Care homes are considered Residential Care Uses. Each one is subject to special use limitations (see “How these uses are regulated,” below). 

Transitional and Special Care housing uses are further broken down by size:

  • “Large” = facilities serving 9 or more persons

  • “Small” = facilities serving 8 or fewer persons

Shelters for the Homeless and Community Corrections uses are always considered Large Residential Care uses, regardless of the number of occupants.  

 


 

How these uses are regulated 

These uses are regulated based on the definitions described above and in several other parts of the Zoning Code. 

Use Tables: Residential uses listed above appear in the "Use Table " for each of the Zoning Code’s Neighborhood Contexts. The Use Table shows where each defined use is permitted by zone district, and it identifies the required zoning procedure for each use. Zoning procedures may require an applicant to obtain a zoning permit, a zoning permit with public notice, or a Zoning Permit with Special Exception Review, which is reviewed by the city’s Board of Adjustments and may be subject to special conditions to limit potential negative impacts. 

  • Note: Special Care and Transitional Housing facilities are listed under Residential Care Uses, and are not individually named. Safe Houses are regulated as multi-unit dwellings. 

Use Limitations: Each Neighborhood Context Use Table has a column listing any Use Limitations associated with uses permitted in that district. Use limitations are included in Article 11 of the zoning code, and limitations for the Group Living use category begin in Section 11.2.6 . 

Residential Care Uses (Large and Small), especially Shelters for the Homeless and Community Corrections Facilities, are subject to the most stringent requirements. Limitations on Residential Care Facilities are intended to balance several issues:

  • Need for humane, equitable housing for special populations, 

  • Compliance with federal and state fair housing regulations, 

  • Prevention of Residential Care use concentration in neighborhoods, and  

  • Effective regulation and communication processes to help ensure such facilities are good neighbors.

Use limitations vary extensively by zone district and are difficult to summarize. Key examples are highlighted below. 

  • Designated Contact Person: Operators of Residential Care uses are required to designate a staff person to address questions and concerns from neighbors.
  • Spacing and Density Limitations: Large Residential Care Facilities are not permitted within 2,000 feet of other such uses, and no more than two others may exist within a 4,000-foot radius of the proposed new use. In Impacted Neighborhoods, up to 200 feet of additional spacing may be required by the Zoning Administrator. (Impacted Neighborhoods are those neighborhoods with more than the city-wide average number of Residential Care Uses within their boundaries.)
    Shelter and Community Corrections uses are subject to the most stringent requirements. For example, Community Corrections facilities are not permitted within 1,500 of a school or within 1,500 feet of a Residential Zone District.
  • Special requirements for Shelters for the Homeless: Some Large Residential Care uses, such as Shelters for the Homeless, have additional use limitations that vary by operator or other criteria. In Sec. 11.2.10.1, the zoning code establishes three types of shelter uses:
  1. Shelter for the Homeless as a permanent, primary use
  2. Shelter for the Homeless as a primary or accessory use when operated by a place of religious assembly (such as a church)
  3. Shelter for the Homeless when operated in a building owned by a nonprofit corporation or by a government entity

    Permanent shelters as a primary use are permitted in higher-intensity mixed-use zone districts, industrial districts and others that are not solely residential. Permanent shelters are subject to the Use Limitations for Large Residential Care Facilities as described above and in Sec. 11.2.8. They also must meet special requirements for operations, including but not limited to mitigating the impact of waiting areas on adjacent public rights-of-way (preventing obstruction, etc.) and making restroom facilities available when the facility is closed.

    The Zoning Code provides more flexible options for shelter uses that are operated by a religious assembly. These include, but are not limited to, permission to operate in any zone district and looser restrictions on bed counts for shelters that operate for 120 days or less per year.

    Similarly, shelters operated by a government entity or nonprofit corporation, in which the Denver Department of Human Services plays some role in the operation, are also permitted in any zone district provided certain requirements for public notice and involvement have been met.  
  • Limitations on the Number of Residents: The Zoning Code’s Use Limitations limit the number of clients served by Residential Care facilities based on size, applicable zone district, etc. Shelters for the Homeless and Community Corrections Facilities are subject to the most stringent requirements. For example: 

Community Corrections Facilities are permitted in the I-MX zone district but are not permitted to exceed 40 residents, and they must provide 50 feet of gross floor area per person served. In the I-A and I-B zone districts, Community Corrections Facilities are permitted to have higher numbers of residents. 

Shelters for the Homeless established as permanent, primary uses are not permitted to have more than 200 beds, though some shelters with permits issued prior to Jan. 1, 2005, may have up to 350 beds. No more than 950 beds are permitted in any one city council district in homeless shelters that are permanent, primary uses. 

 

The project is expected to occur over several phases: 

  1. The first will involve working with the advisory committee to identify problem areas in the code. A public meeting will be held for public review and comment on the committee's draft definitions of the problems to be addressed in the code update.

  2. Next, the city, working with the committee, will develop proposed changes to the zoning code to address these issues. Another public meeting will be held for public review and comment on these proposed changes. 

  3. The proposed amendments will then be considered by the Denver Planning Board, Denver City Council subcommittees and ultimately, the full City Council for adoption. Finally, CPD’s Planning Services and Development Services divisions will collaborate to implement the amendments through training, updated forms, etc. 

 

The following links and resources have been provided by Advisory Committee members and project staff to generate ideas and discussion about issues related to this project. We’ll continue to add links to this page as we receive or find them in the course of our research.

Mapping related to Group Living uses in Denver

Zoning Code Examples and Similar Projects

Articles and information on the Fair Housing Act and similar federal regulations

Articles and examples of unconventional and creative residential uses (Tiny Home Villages, Co-Op Housing, Artist Spaces, etc.)

Articles related to permitted unrelated adult occupancy

Ordinances (condensed) and reports related to regulations for shelters for the homeless in Denver

 

Meeting Archive

Advisory Committee Meeting #1
Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 5:30 - 8 p.m.
Colorado Health Foundation
1780 Pennsylvania Street
Meeting materials linked below:

Advisory Committee Meeting #2
Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 5:30 - 8 p.m.
Webb Municipal Building, Room 1.B.6, 201 W. Colfax Ave.
Meeting materials linked below:

Open House #1
Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 5:30 - 8 p.m.
McNichols Civic Center Building, 144 W. Colfax Ave.

Advisory Committee Meeting #3
Monday, October 8, 2018, 1 - 4 p.m.
Wellington Webb Municipal Building, Room 1.B.6, 201 W. Colfax Ave.
Meeting materials linked below:

Advisory Committee Meeting #4
Tuesday, Oct. 30, 4 - 6 p.m.
Wellington Webb Municipal Building, Room 1.B.6, 201 W. Colfax Ave.

Full Group Living Advisory Committee meeting #5: 
4-7 p.m., Wednesday, May 8
Wellington Webb Municipal Building, Room 1.B.6

Public meeting on tiny home villages 
6-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 5
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
2015 Glenarm Place

Full Group Living Advisory Committee Meeting #6 
4 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, October 15
Wellington Webb Municipal Building, Room 1.B.6
201 W. Colfax Ave., Denver

Group Living Advisory Committee Meeting #7
11 a.m.-1 p.m., Tuesday, January 21
Webb Municipal Building, Room 1.B.6
201 W. Colfax Ave., Denver

Group Living Public Open House
6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, February 11
Bruce Randolph School, 3955 Steele St., Denver

Group Living Public Open House
9 to 11 a.m., Saturday, February 22
Goldrick Elementary School, 1050 S. Zuni Street, Denver

Group Living Public Open House
6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, February 26
Hebrew Educational Alliance, 3600 S. Ivanhoe Way, Denver

Open house display boards:

Advisory Committee Meeting #8
Wednesday, May 27, 2018, 1 - 3:30 p.m.
Virtual meeting

Adult and Elder Housing Subgroup Meeting 1
Friday, April 13, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.I.3
Meeting materials linked below:

Adult and Elder Housing Subgroup Meeting #2
Wednesday, May 9
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Wellington Webb Municipal Building, Room 1.D.1, 201 W. Colfax
Meeting materials linked below:

 

Community Corrections Subgroup Meeting #1
Friday, April 6, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Fox Community Corrections, 570 W 44th Ave. (44th and Fox)
Meeting materials linked below:

Community Corrections Subgroup Meeting #2
Tuesday, May 1, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Williams Street Center, 1776 N. Williams Street
Meeting materials linked below:

Community Corrections Subgroup Meeting #3
Tuesday, June 5, 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Independence House Main Office, 5590 Pecos Street
Meeting materials linked below:

Community Corrections Subgroup Meeting #4
4-7 p.m. Thursday, January 31, 2019
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.I.4

Community Corrections Subgroup Meeting #5
5-7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 26
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.I.4
201 W. Colfax Ave., Denver

Community Corrections Subgroup Meeting #6
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019
Wellington Webb Municipal Building, Room 4I4
201 W. Colfax Ave., Denver

Community Corrections Subgroup Meeting #7
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 12
City and County Building, Room 391
1437 Bannock St.

DIY/Artist/Co-Op Subgroup 
Monday, April 9, 2 to 4 p.m.
RiNo Arts District Offices, 3501 Wazee St., Suite 109
Meeting materials linked below:

DIY/Artist/Co-Op Subgroup Meeting #2
Friday, May 4
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Queen City Cooperative, 901 N. Clarkson St.
Meeting materials linked below:

 

Emerging Trends Subgroup Meeting #1
Thursday, April 5, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Wellington Webb Building, Room 4.J.1, 201 W. Colfax Ave. 
Summary (PDF)

Emerging Trends (Single-room Occupancy, Tiny Home, etc.) Subgroup Meeting #2
Thursday, April 19, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Wellington Webb Building, Room 1D1, 201 W. Colfax Ave. 
Summary (PDF)

Emerging Trends (Single-room Occupancy, Tiny Home, etc.) Subgroup Meeting #3
Thursday, May 3, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Offices of KTGY Architects, 820 16th Street, 5th Floor
Summary (PDF)

Emerging Trends (Single-room Occupancy, Tiny Home, etc.) Subgroup Meeting #4
Thursday, May 31, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Wellington Webb Municipal Building, Room 1.D.1, 201 W. Colfax
Summary (PDF)

Emerging Uses Subgroup Meeting #5
4-6:30 p.m., Tuesday,  March 19
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4I4
Meeting packet (PDF)
Meeting summary (PDF)

Emerging Uses Subgroup Meeting #6
4-6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 21
Wellington Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.I.4
Meeting summary (PDF)
Meeting presentation (PDF)

Shelter for the Homeless Subgroup Meeting #1
Tuesday, April 3, 2018, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Wellington Webb Building, Room 4.I.5, 201 W. Colfax Ave. 
Summary (PDF)

Shelter for the Homeless Subgroup Meeting #2
Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Wellington Webb Building, Room 4.I.4, 201 W. Colfax Ave. 
Meeting summary (PDF)

Shelter for the Homeless Subgroup Meeting #3
Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 5 to 7 p.m.
Wellington Webb Municipal Building, Room 4I4, 201 W. Colfax
Meeting summary (PDF)

Shelter for the Homeless Subgroup Meeting #4
Thursday, June 7, 2018, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Wellington Webb Municipal Building, Room 4I4, 201 W. Colfax
Meeting summary (PDF)

Shelter Subgroup Committee Meeting #5
4-7 p.m., Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.I.4, 201 W. Colfax Ave.
Meeting summary (PDF)

Shelter Subgroup Meeting #6
4-7 p.m., Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.I.4
Meeting summary (PDF)
Meeting packet (PDF)

Shelter Subgroup Meeting #7 - This meeting was canceled
11 a.m.-1 p.m., Thursday, November 7, 2019
Wellington Webb Municipal Building, Room 4I4
201 W. Colfax Ave., Denver

Shelter Subgroup: Meeting #8
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 10
Wellington Webb Building (201 W. Colfax), Room 4I4
Meeting summary (PDF)
Meeting packet (PDF)

Transitional Housing/Special Care Subgroup Meeting #1
Monday, April 9, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Step Denver, 2029 Larimer St.
Meeting materials linked below:

Transitional Housing/Special Care Subgroup Meeting #2
Monday, April 23, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Step Denver, 2029 Larimer St.
Meeting materials linked below:

Transitional/Special Care Home Subgroup Meeting #3
Wednesday, May 23, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Wellington Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.I.5
Meeting materials linked below:

Transitional/Special Care Home Subgroup Meeting #4
Tuesday, January 22, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Wellington Webb Municipal Building, Room 4.I.4
Meeting materials linked below: