New zoning changes would allow accessory dwelling units

City council supports secondary living spaces on Northglenn properties

Casey Van Divier
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 11/15/18

With the final draft of Northglenn’s updated zoning law on its way, city council members and residents have expressed similar expectations for the zoning changes they would like to see. Residents …

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New zoning changes would allow accessory dwelling units

City council supports secondary living spaces on Northglenn properties

Posted

With the final draft of Northglenn’s updated zoning law on its way, city council members and residents have expressed similar expectations for the zoning changes they would like to see.

Residents had an opportunity to review the draft of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) at community forums held on Oct. 17. Many took an interest in the portion of the draft about Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), according to senior planner Eric Ensey.

The UDO allows for ADUs on properties in single-family residential districts. These ADUs, or mother-in-law units, are self-contained living spaces on a property, either attached or detached from the property’s primary dwelling unit. These spaces often house family members of the property owner or are rented out to other residents.

“Most of the attendees said they do want to allow for them,” Ensey said.

Likewise, councilmembers expressed support for ADUs during their Nov. 5 study session, advising city planners to keep the allowance for ADUs in the final draft.

However, for resident Bob Andreasen, who attended the Nov. 5 meeting, the prospect of property owners using ADUs for short-term rentals presented a potential safety concern. If renters do not perform background checks on short-term tenants, he said, it could pose a threat to neighborhoods.

“That’s a hard thing to patrol,” Andreasen said. “It seems to me that there’s a liability and some real questionable things that the city should be addressing.”

Council agreed to hold a future discussion about requiring property owners to obtain and renew a license every year before using ADUs for short-term rentals, a regulation that would be drafted separately from the zoning ordinance. If the community were to complain that a short-term renter had caused a disturbance, the property owner would not be able to renew his or her license.

Some councilmembers, although supporting the idea, suggested a licensing requirement would be difficult to enforce.

“My question is how do you police it, and how much staff time would it take to police it?” councilmember Julie Duran Mullica said. “That’s the only thing I’m a little worried about.”

Even so, the council agreed to allow both ADUs and short-term rentals in Northglenn, which will be included in the final draft of the UDO. That draft will be available for public review in December and presented to council in January, Ensey said, after which the ordinance will go into effect.

“We’d have to monitor it over the long-term,” he said of the zoning ordinance, stressing that council can always update it if necessary. “We’ll see what does and doesn’t work.”

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