Make Your Voice Heard on Group Living

Updates to Denver’s group living code have been in the works for some time. City Council is currently scheduled to vote on the proposed update in early February. I’m eager for your feedback before then. My office has put together a survey so you can tell me what you think about the latest proposal.

This survey is an important opportunity to make your voice heard. These proposed updates could have a critical impact on making housing more affordable and accessible in Denver; code updates could also impact zoning in your neighborhood.  

We do ask for demographic information in the survey. This data will only be viewed in aggregate so that my office can better understand how this issue impacts our district. It also helps me better advocate for you at Council meetings. Survey Monkey, the app we're using to conduct the survey, is a secure tool that keeps your information safe. We require an email address to take the survey to ensure everyone only takes it once.

What’s being considered

Denver’s Department of Community Planning and Development (CPD), along with a group of stakeholders called the Group Living Advisory Committee, spent more than two years studying policies to address group living rules. 

The CPD analysis identifies two areas of the group living code to amend  to make housing more affordable and prevent homelessness: how to define a household and where to locate residential care facilities. 

Defining a household

According to the CPD analysis, Denver has an outdated definition of a household This limits the number of unrelated people who can live together, making it more difficult for people with roommates to share a household. By allowing more unrelated people to live together, as is already possible in most other cities, CPD's analysis believes we could make Denver a more affordable place to live. 

Currently, only two unrelated adults are allowed. The proposal would cap the number of adults permitted to live together in households where not all residents are related at 5. The proposal would keep the existing provision for unlimited households where all residents are related. 

Residential care facilities

Residential care facilities include elder care facilities, hospices, homeless shelters, sober living homes, and halfway houses (aka community corrections facilities). CPD's analysis shows that Denver's current code perpetuates inequity. By allowing residential care in more places, CPD believes we will eliminate barriers for people who most need to access services and care. This approach is likely to ease the increase in homelessness we are experiencing in Denver now.

The public process so far

In addition to CPD's long-term analysis, there have been numerous public meetings (including a District 10-wide virtual town hall) and a lot of negotiation to get the proposal to where it is today. 

The Land Use and Transportation Infrastructure Committee (LUTI) passed the current proposal on Dec. 22, 2020. For more information about that process, the proposal, and how to further comment beyond this survey, visit denvergov.org/groupliving.

I don't serve on LUTI, so I will consider the proposal in early January with the rest of City Council. A public hearing and final vote is scheduled for early February.  Instructions for how to participate are available on the City Council website at www.denvergov.org/citycouncil.