By Kati Weis

DENVER (CBS4) – A controversial amendment to the city’s group living rules will now apply to the entire city of Denver, not just the areas of the city under new zoning codes. This, following a unanimous city council vote Monday night.

(credit: CBS)

Denver’s new group living rules, passed in February, were controversial for a few reasons. One of those reasons was the rules would not apply to all of the city’s neighborhoods – areas of the city that were still under the city’s old zoning code, known as Former Chapter 59, were exempt from the new rules.

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The new group living rules allow five unrelated adults to live together, and allow halfway houses to be in commercial and mixed-use neighborhoods, among other changes.

Monday night, the city council approved a bridge amendment that would allow the group living rules in Former Chapter 59 neighborhoods, but would not remove the Former Chapter 59 zoning codes from those areas.

(credit: CBS)

Some city council members hope this amendment makes the group living rule changes better fulfill their purpose, which is to create more equitable and affordable housing across the city.

“So I think that certainly those that support group living support this vote, and many of those who opposed group living, also support this bill, because they want to make sure that it affects the entire city, and not just certain portions of the city,” said Denver City Councilman Chris Hinds.

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In a statement to CBS4, a spokesperson for the city said: “The purpose of the amendment was for the new household rules that City Council had already approved to be effective across the entire city, so that the more modern regulations that reflect how people live now can apply to all neighborhoods and so that everyone can take advantage of the flexibility that the new rules provide.”

Regardless of the bridge amendment, the new group living rues will not be required in neighborhoods with an HOA.

The group living changes were three years in the making, and underwent several changes following negative community feedback in the fall.

(credit: CBS)

For example, while halfway houses will be allowed in more neighborhoods, they will not be allowed in single unit, two-unit, and row house zone districts, as was previously proposed.

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Those in charge of creating the group living rules said the city has already begun updating its data systems to be able to monitor outcomes of the group living changes in the future years, at least four years post-adoption, so city officials can monitor any unintended consequences of the amendment.

Kati Weis