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UPDATE: Small-lot Parking Exemption Adopted Monday, May 1, 2017

Took effect May 5, 2017

On August 22, Denver City Council approved a seven-month moratorium on the use of the Denver Zoning Code’s small zone lot parking exemption for certain projects. The moratorium was proposed by Councilmen Albus Brooks and Paul Kashmann. In early 2017, the moratorium was extended to the end of May 2017.

Before the moratorium ended, City Council approved an amendment to the Denver Zoning Code’s small-lot parking exemption, which is now in effect and has replaced the moratorium.

Here’s what you need to know.

About the Parking Exemption - History

In Denver, zone lots in mixed-use commercial districts that are 6,250 square feet or smaller and that existed as of June 25, 2010, were exempt from off-street parking requirements, regardless of the development capacity or uses. The intent of the small lot parking exemption was to encourage small lot reinvestment and adaptive reuse of buildings.

However, recent projects proposing to put multifamily micro-units on adjacent small lots with no parking generated concern from some neighbors and prompted council action.

The Moratorium - August 25, 2016 to May 5, 2017

During the moratorium, CPD staff did not approve new projects seeking to use the small zone lot parking exemption under Section of the Denver Zoning Code. Projects for which complete applications for a site development plan concept review were accepted by Community Planning and Development before August 25, 2016, were not subject to the moratorium.

Exceptions to this prohibition were the following:

  • Residential developments of 10 or fewer dwelling units; or
  • Non-residential developments that did not exceed two stories or 35 feet in height; or
  • Mixed-use developments that met both of the above.

For the full text of the bill for the moratorium, click here: Read the bill >>

Denver Zoning Code Amendment - Effective as of May 5, 2017

On May 1, 2017, City Council approved an amendment to the Denver Zoning Code’s small-lot parking exemption. For more information on the council process and varying proposals leading up to the adopted amendment, visit our Denver Zoning Code text amendments webpage.

Highlights of the amended small-lot parking exemption

  • Applies to buildings on lot sizes of 6,250 sq. ft. or less in mixed-use commercial zone districts
  • If the building is located within ¼ mile of a high-frequency transit corridor or ½ mile of a train station, it is exempt from providing off-street parking for the first two floors.
  • All other small lot developments beyond the ¼- or ½-mile distances are only exempt from providing off-street parking for the first floor.
  • This does not apply to projects that submitted a site development plan concept application on or before August 26, 2016, that used the prior small lot parking exemption.
  • There is no distinction by use for the exemption – for example, residential on the first two floors is not treated differently from retail for the parking exemption.
  • A new building that includes a request to use this parking exemption requires neighbor notification.

Click here to read the signed council ordinance adopted in May. (PDF)

Questions about Your Project

If you have questions about how the amendment could affect your project, please contact your assigned reviewer.