Durango Launches Workforce Rental Housing Incentive

10/17/2022

Durango’s Housing Innovation Division is leading a pilot program addressing a shortage of affordable housing for local workers. The City Council has allocated $80,000, which will be paid to ten applicants who build or legalize an A.D.U. on their property and agree to rent it to a local worker for at least two years. This story is sponsored by Pop’s Truck and RV and the Norm Phillips Team at Draper and Kramer

Durango is hoping a new incentive could keep some workers from leaving for cheaper communities. You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Pop's Truck & RV Center and the Norm Phillips team at Draper & Kramer Mortgage. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

This new incentive rebate program is really to help incentivize homeowners to newly construct ADUs, or again, legalize a unit into the program with an $8,000 rebate, in exchange for committing to rent to a local worker for two years.

Housing Innovation Manager Eva Henson says an ADU is a secondary house or apartment that shares property with a larger single family home. The program allows the ADU to be either integrated, attached, or detached, depending on neighborhood zoning.

It's exciting. I'm really proud to get the program live. It's taken us a few months. We had done some survey work early in the year around ADUs, and would folks, you know, want to see a reward program or incentive program for ADUs, but also, what are some of the barriers that needed to be overcome, and so we knew that going into a program. And also just the construction costs are so high right now. So, the rebate is a reimbursable program once your unit is legalized and has NCO, and so it's habitable to a local worker, then we would issue a rebate to that homeowner.

Long time Durango residents Charles and Johnny O'Nan see the program as a perfect fit.

So it would've been a good time for us to cash in and downsize and buy a smaller home, but neither one of us wanted to move, so this is a good way to downsize in place, and we don't have to move, and we can get the benefits of a smaller home and get some rental income.

ADUs have been legal in Durango since 2014, but fewer than 50 had been built in that time. The new rebate program could unearth some new interest.

If it's successful, we certainly would want to see this into fruition, into more of a permanency program, but right now it's in those early stages, and so it's a pilot program at this point.

The city council has allocated $80,000, which will be given to the first 10 applicants. The amount is designed to offset permitting costs associated with building or legalizing the living space, something the rebate gets pretty close to, according to O'Nan.

You first have to get a a permit to put in an ADU, and then once you get that approved then you need to get a construction permit. And then as we're getting into some of the dirt work, I'm running into other permits that that are required. For example, if you're doing excavation work, even though it's on our own property we're crossing a sidewalk with dirt, so we have to have a right of way permit. So the city's been nice, but it's still a process to work through all the permits.

O'Nan says the city has been good to work with, and it could soon be dealing with a lot more ADU applications. Henson has heard from dozens of people interested in the program. If you have a few hundred square feet of living space, converting it to an ADU could be a possibility. For more information on the program go to durangogov.org/adu. Thank you for watching this edition of The Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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