Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs): The Durango Experience
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Community officials, planners, and local governments across the country are struggling with how to address accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and illegal dwelling units. Changing housing preferences and lifestyles are increasing demand for these typically smaller and more flexible housing arrangements. This session will describe how a deliberate and inclusive public process led to the creation of an innovative program for handling these unique housing and neighborhood issues in Durango, Colorado. The program, The City of Durango Pre-Existing ADU Voluntary Registration Initiative, has been selected as the 2015 APA Colorado Honor Award Recipient for General Planning Project.
The session will focus on the inclusive public process that addressed all the issues and concerns surrounding ADUs, including existing illegal units and new units. It also will examine specific language in the resulting code, which allows for new housing options while maintaining the character of the community. Learn about the development of a voluntary registration program that utilizes amnesty for registered units and how a comprehensive, inclusive approach led to the accomplishment of multiple community objectives. Explore the challenges a community faces when it does not have a consistent, proactive enforcement program and how the ADU program is helping the city of Durango to better understand the existing housing stock and jump-start a housing study.
You'll learn about:
- Best practices for allowing ADUs in existing neighborhoods and managing their impacts
- A public process on the front end that results in a smoother adoption process on the back end
- How to build flexibility into your implementation program to ensure success
- Why expanding housing choices does not have to change the character of the neighborhood if carefully done
- Why it is better to get ahead of the problem with consistent, proactive enforcement
, City of Durango Plng Office
Confirmed SpeakerVicki Vandegrift, AICP, has 35 years of planning experience. She has worked at the City of Durango for the last 24 years. Vicki began her career working in a small planning consulting firm based in Durango. She left Durango to attend graduate school at the University of Colorado at Denver, where she received her MURP, and upon graduation she worked for 5 years in neighborhood planning for the City of Aurora. She was able to return to Durango when a job opened at the City of Durango and she has never left. Working for a planning consultant firm allowed Vicki to begin her career with a broad spectrum of long range planning projects. In graduate school Vicki won the Award of Academic Excellence at the University of Colorado at Denver. She also served on the American Planning Association Student Organization’s Executive Board serving as both the President and Secretary. It was in Aurora that Vicki honed her skills as a community builder and facilitator and she truly came to appreciate the power and importance of working with the public to gain consensus. As a neighborhood planner and later as a team leader Vicki worked extensively with neighborhood groups in a variety of programs designed to educate the public on planning issues and address neighborhood issues though self-help programs. For the last 24 years Vicki has been with the City of Durango. Vicki is responsible for long range planning in the City as well as Historic Preservation. As with all small town planning offices Vicki spends time on a variety of tasks and assumed the responsibility of overseeing the new Land Use and Development Code when the project manager left. She has been the primary author on Land Use and Development Code text amendments. During her time with the City, Vicki was instrumental in the development of three Comprehensive Plans, one of which received an APA Colorado Smart Growth Award. She also has been the primary staff person for the development of a number of Area and Neighborhood Plans. Vicki is tasked to oversee all Comprehensive Plan Amendments. One of Vicki’s most notable and enjoyable projects she managed was the creation of the Established Neighborhood Design Program in 2005. The program changed the zoning standards throughout all of the residential neighborhoods in Durango. The program won an APA Colorado Award. The Established Neighborhood Design Program has been extremely successful and is protecting the character of existing neighborhoods in the City of Durango. Vicki became a member of American Institute of Certified Planners in 2001.
, City of Durango Cmty Dev.
Confirmed SpeakerScott has diverse experience in community development and planning. Prior to his current job, Scott worked as the first Executive Director of the Montrose (CO) Downtown Development Authority. In that capacity, he led the creation of a small business revolving loan fund, drafted the district’s first Plan of Development, and initiated a wide range of programs to improve the district and draw new investment. Scott has also worked as a Senior Planner for the City of Montrose, Assistant Planner at Lane Council of Governments in Lane County (Oregon), and as a Recreation Researcher for the U.S. Forest Service. He graduated from Utah State University with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and from the University of Oregon with a Master’s of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP). He fell in love with the practice of community development while serving as an AmericCorps/VISTA volunteer with Resource Assistance for Rural Environments in Oregon. He is also a Durango Running Club Board Member and volunteers at a wide variety of community events.