Many of the residents selected for the Beloved Community Village have had issues getting into Denver’s shelters—there are a few couples who want to live together, a transgender person, a person in a wheelchair, and Sandra Herman, who has pets. Credit: Westword
Many of the residents selected for the Beloved Community Village have had issues getting into Denver’s shelters—there are a few couples who want to live together, a transgender person, a person in a wheelchair, and Sandra Herman, who has pets. Credit: Westword

Earlier this week, Denver approved a temporary zoning permit for a tiny-house community for homeless people, the “Beloved Community Village.” The community will include eleven 8-foot by 12-foot shelters, as well as shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, constructed for about $130,000 on Urban Land Conservancy-owned property at 38th and Walnut Streets in the RiNo neighborhood. Due to the temporary nature of the zoning permit, the community will have to move every six months, so the homes will be constructed to be placed on flat-bed trucks for easy transport. Plans for the community include solar panels to provide light and power, so that the individual shelters may remain off the grid.

Alternative Solutions Advocacy Project (ASAP) is organizing the community, and also has plans for a second community of eight homes at St. Andrews Episcopal Church. ASAP designed its pilot project with input from several other tiny home villages in Portland, Eugene, Madison, Olympia, Austin, and Fresno.

Meanwhile, Garfield County recently removed a restriction from its building code that effectively prohibited many tiny homes—a minimum dwelling unit size of 20-feet by 20-feet. Originally enacted in the 1970s, the requirement was designed to prevent single-wide trailers and protect property and home values, but the code still requires that tiny homes with wheels be located in an RV park. Although the County doesn’t have any plans currently in the works for new tiny home communities, it views tiny homes as “another tool in the kit” giving people more housing options, including more affordable and attainable housing.

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Photo of Cory Rutz Cory Rutz

Cory Rutz represents industrial, commercial, residential, and mixed-use real estate owners and developers in various matters relating to land use entitlements. Her practice includes assisting clients with subdivision, zoning, public improvement fees, easements, and common interest community development under the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA).