City Looks to Multiplexes for More Housing


Houses that contain three or more apartments aren't allowed under the city of Durango's land-use code, but dozens exist in neighborhoods around town. The city wants to find a way to legalize existing multiplexes and allow for more. Sponsored by The Payroll Department and Happy Pappy's Pizza and Wings

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They've been around for almost as long as Durango and now the city of Durango wants to make them legal. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by The Payroll Department and Happy Pappy's Pizza and Wings. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. Multiplexes look like single family homes on the outside, but inside they're divided into three to five apartments. The Durango land use and development code allows them only in multi-use multi-family and medium and high density residential zones. Although a number of them have existed legally in single family zones for decades. The city development and planning department estimates about 30 multiplex homes were divvied up into apartments before the 1950s, but other data suggests more than 200 now exist within city limits.

Some of these have been in place for over a hundred years, you know, some have pretty cool history behind them as well. You know old, like minor homes, I think there was there's one that used to be a home for unwed mothers back in the day. So it's a pretty cool history behind some of these buildings, but right now they're all nonconforming, so our 2018 housing plan suggested that the city find a way to legalize these existing ones at least, and we've also thought that since there is such a demand and especially if there's, you know, hundreds of these out there that have been converted more recently trying to find a way to allow for a pathway to legalize new ones as well. So the city is looking at ways to try to encourage infill, you know, more housing units to meet the ever-growing demand for housing in our community. This may be one part of the solution to that by seeing existing single family homes cut up into three to five units.

If the city adopts new regulations, existing multiplexes will have to be brought into compliance with building and life safety codes to become legal and new multiplexes will have to undergo review and possibly a public hearing. City planner Dan Armentano says a recent online community survey indicates that 65% of respondents support the proposal to increase multiplexes in town. Proposed changes will be presented in public hearings before the planning commission and Durango City Council, most likely this fall. If you'd like to follow this issue, visit Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network, I Wendy Graham Settle.


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