Accessory Dwelling Units: Affordable Housing Hiding in Plain Sight

Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute-University of Denver Sturm College of Law


Thursday, March 16, 2017
1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. MDT

CM | 1.50
L | 1.50

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Accessory dwelling units (ADUs), also known as carriage houses or granny flats, present a big challenge for planners and local government officials—but also an opportunity. Lifting certain excessive restrictions can instantly create affordable housing at infill locations. Changing housing preferences and lifestyles are increasing demand for these typically smaller and more flexible housing arrangements. This session will explore recent strategies and innovations to create a fresh approach to ADUs in communities throughout the Intermountain West and beyond.


After a brief introduction by the moderator, we'll turn first to Planning Manager Scott Shine to learn about Durango's extraordinary experience in overhauling ADU processes and ordinances. Then we will hear from Kathleen McCormick, author of a Land Lines article on gentle infill, which looks at the efforts of several city’s on using infuill for affordable housing, including ADUs, for a national survey on code and other reforms; and then finally from Jesse Adkins, architect at Shears Adkins Rockmore, who has been working on closing the housing gap in Denver, including a focus on ADUs.


Learning Objectives:

·         Learn about a number of cities' efforts to revise and reform accessory dwelling unit (ADU) ordinances, codes, and guidelines

·         Understand the role of ADUs in expanding the stock of affordable housing in communities

·         Engage in a dialogue about the public process in best practices for allowing ADUs in existing neighborhoods and managing their impacts.



Scott Shine

Scott Shine Planning Manager, Community Development Durango, CO Scott Shine has diverse experience in community development, planning and recreation. Prior to his current job, Mr. Shine worked as the first Executive Director of the Montrose (CO) Downtown Development Authority. In that capacity, he led the creation of a small business ... Read More

Kathleen McCormick

Kathleen McCormick Principal, Fountainhead Communications Boulder, CO Kathleen McCormick, Principal of Fountainhead Communications, LLC in Boulder, Colorado is a writer and editor focused on healthy, sustainable, and resilient communities. She has written articles for Land Lines, published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, on infill development, planning for social ... Read More

Jesse Adkins

Jesse Adkins Partner, Shears Adkins Rockmore Denver, CO Jesse Adkins is a visionary architect with over 25 years of experience in the Denver design world. His passion for housing is evident from his involvement on the ULI housing committee, his work with Mothers Advocating for Affordable Housing, as the co-chair ... Read More

Anthony Flint

Anthony Flint Director of Public Affairs, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Cambridge, MA Anthony Flint is Fellow & Director of Public Affairs at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. He is the author of Modern Man: The Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrow; Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City; and This Land: The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America; and co-editor ... Read More

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