Granby addresses housing issues with new cottage homes program
A set of proposals to revise Granby town codes and zoning regulations for accessory dwellings is currently in the works and town officials hope the revisions will produce some significant changes in the housing dynamics of east central Grand County.
Grand County’s ongoing housing shortage has been a hot topic in Middle Park for several years with local governments proposing a host of measures to address the issue. Most of the proposals to address housing shortages have revolved around large-scale housing developments or potential regulations limiting facets of the housing issue, such as short-term-rentals.
Granby is currently in the midst of negotiations and discussions with several developers for two larger scale affordable housing projects as well as a senior housing development. Additionally town officials have been kicking around alternative options to address housing issues.
During the last Granby Board meeting Town Manager Aaron Blair presented the board with a set of code changes as well as a potential new program called Cottage Homes. The two issues, while technically separate, are part of the same effort to address housing issues.
Part one of the new drive to address housing concerns will revolve around a series of town code changes Blair is proposing the Board of Trustees approve. The changes would allow for the construction, or renovation, of accessory dwelling units on private property parcels within the town’s boundaries.
Currently Granby’s municipal code restricts the number of residential units that are allowed on noncommercial properties to one. The proposed code revision would allow properties with adequate space, and specifically those located on corner lots or on blocks with alleys, to establish a second accessory dwelling unit that could be rented out.
The specific code changes are still being discussed but under the proposal the town would set a maximum square footage for new accessory dwellings, which Blair estimated in the 400 square foot range. The new codes would also restrict the number of citizens who can legally reside in accessory dwellings as well as add stipulations regarding required length of lease agreements, to prevent the units from become short-term-rental stock.
Blair said the town may consider expanding the code changes at a future date to allow more segments of the town, including those without back alleys, to develop accessory dwellings but for the time being he is focusing on town’s R1, R2 and CB zoning districts.
Along with the code changes the town is also considering implementing a program called Cottage Homes. Under the program the town would contract with an architectural firm to design a small number of cottage home development plans. The plans would be left on file at the Winter Park Building Department, which Granby utilizes as its official building department.
The cottage home plans would be designed as accessory dwelling units and would provide prospective property owners with a streamlined option for constructing accessory dwellings in the Granby area. Property owners would have the option of using the predesigned cottage home, developed by the town, for their accessory dwelling construction.
The predesigned cottage homes would be offered as potential building options to citizens at no charge, saving citizens on architectural design fees. The cottage home designs would also be preapproved for the issuance of building permits. Citizens would still need to pay all building, permitting and construction costs outside of design fees.
Blair said the town will hold a workshop to further discuss the two proposals starting at 5:30 p.m. on March 13 at the Granby Town Hall. Any local citizens who are interested in learning more about the proposals or who would like to express their opinions on the issue should attend the meeting.
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