ADUs not best affordable housing option

I don’t believe that most people in Durango understand the magnitude of the impact of the proposed addition of accessory dwelling units to established residential neighborhoods in Durango. The current proposal being promoted by ADU advocates as part of the Land Use Development Code update would allow more than 400 ADUs to be developed in EN-1 and EN-2 neighborhoods in our community of 17,000 residents. This would be more than twice as many as the 200 ADUs currently in Boulder (population 99,000) and equal to Portland, Ore., (population 549,000).

With more than 50 percent of the properties in Durango already being rentals, Citizens for Healthy Established Neighborhoods is concerned that we have already exceeded a healthy threshold of owner-occupied properties to rental properties in our neighborhoods.

The people involved with CHEN are not a few very vocal people with nothing better to do than spend time on this – quite the contrary, we are concerned residents of these neighborhoods who are tired of being railroaded by special interests and are trying to do something about it. We feel that this is an important enough issue for our community to devote our spare time to preserving what’s left of our neighborhoods.

Your quality of life in these neighborhoods is going to be greatly affected by this proposal. Even the city’s planning consultant identified that one of the problems with ADUs is “neighborhood destabilization” and said “it is not clear that the perspectives of the (ADU) advocacy committee are shared by majorities of residents in each neighborhood where ADUs are proposed.”

There has to be a better way to provide affordable housing in our community than by affecting established neighborhoods and property owners who have lived in these neighborhoods for decades with more density, rental property and parking problems.

If you want to live in someone else’s converted garage on the alley and rent forever and never be paid a living wage where you could actually afford to buy a condominium or home here in Durango, then by all means support this ADU proposal as it is now structured.

David McHenry


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