Housing, ADUs, and Vacation Rentals
City of Durango Housing Initiative
Housing remains a top priority for City Council and the City of Durango wants to do their part in helping to address the housing shortage and increase affordable and workforce housing inventory with a variety of mechanisms and strategies. The Housing Initiative serves as the foundation for a housing program within the City of Durango to address the city's housing issues.
The 2021 City of Durango Strategic Plan outlines short- and mid-term objectives, and identifies various initiatives and strategies including Affordability & Economic Opportunity to "Create housing to enhance multigenerational community workforce, as well as attainable and affordable housing overall."
This led to the creation of the Housing Innovation Division and Housing Innovation Manager position to bring focused effort to addressing the housing crunch currently facing Durango.
- Key functions include assisting in creating, implementing and administering community housing initiatives towards the goal of maintaining and enhancing quality of life in Durango through the creation and support of affordable housing development.
- The Durango 2018 Housing Plan (Plan) also establishes goals, priorities, and implementation measures for the Durango Housing Program and serves as the foundational document for the program.
Employment Growth: Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado tracks employment and economic development in this region. Region employment is expected to exceed 60,000 jobs by 2022, including sole proprietors, according to estimates provided by Region 9 - 2022 Outlook.
Housing Analysis: The Regional Housing Needs Assessment & Strategy Study was completed in the fall of 2021 and examined the cross-dependency of housing supply and demand among jurisdictions in the region. This study took a more regional approach to housing strategies to address needs and La Plata County information includes the City of Durango, Ignacio, and the Town of Bayfield.
- Meeting the unmet housing needs identified in the study were require an average annual development of about 310 units, with all of these units being for permanent residents. Additional units for seasonal and vacation ownership would be in addition to these units.
- Affordable Housing refers to a unit that has a strong, long-term deed restriction or other guarantee that the unit will be occupied by an individual or household earning 80% Area Median Income (AMI) or less.
- Attainable/Workforce Housing refers to a unit that is not necessarily encumbered by a deed limitation but would most likely be considered accessible to someone earning between 80%-120% AMI simply by the nature of the type of development.
- Market Rate Housing refers to a unit that has no deed limitation which means that pricing will fluctuate based on market conditions. Given the fact that no controls will be in place, staff is assuming that these units will be purchased/rented by individuals and households earning 120% of AMI or greater.
La Plata County 3-Year Workforce Housing Investment Strategy (published June 2022 prepared by Project Moxie & Capelli Consulting): This housing investment strategy prioritizes the key steps necessary to maximize the creation of housing affordable to the local workforce across La Plata County. the overarching strategy addresses rental housing, homeownership, a concerted effort to initiate a large-scale housing development the preservation of existing affordable options, and the creation of a local housing fund. Successful execution of the strategy will require coordinated action across jurisdictions and between public and private sectors. This strategy document is a tool to bridge together a network of housing strategies and it is designed for accessibility.
Staff is tracking Current Residential Projects in Review within the City including initial contact inquiries, design in development, plan review/meetings, approved, and under construction/built and the spreadsheet data is updated quarterly.* It is preliminary information and is subject to change during the development review process. Staff is also tracking Current Affordable Housing Units within the City of Durango.
Affordable Housing Inventory (# of units)
|Project||Affordable Units||Year of Construction|
|Durango Housing, 510 7th Ave.||16||1971|
|Merced de Las Animas||50||1998|
|Mercy Housing Colorado VI LTD (Behind Ski Barn)||50||1998|
|Westwood Apartments, 60 Westwood Pl||12||1998|
|Valle de Merced||45||2005|
|Cedar View I and II||53||2006|
|Lumien Phase I||50||2015|
|Lumien Phase II||36||2018|
|VOA Senior Housing||53||2019|
|Mtn. Trace Deed Restrictions||7||Ongoing (2 more units to be added in 2022)|
City Council budgeted $500,000 to launch a three-prong approach to directly support the creation of new housing units for the local population called the 2022 Housing Incentive Program (HIP) including:
- Infrastructure Support Opportunities (for new workforce housing development)
- Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Incentives (create housing options in convenient locations already served by City services)
- Multiplex Rehabilitation (ensure safe and functional units are created, including rehabilitation, with commitment to keep rents attainable)
Staff is currently working case-by-case with housing developers to better understand the funding complexities and to see if additional grants may be available from federal, state, and local agencies to leverage private investment by contributing to the costs for infrastructure related to the development of new long-term workforce housing. Planning Commission advises staff on program implementation. To learn more: we encourage you to proactively reach out to our Housing Innovation Manager for additional information.
To learn more about additional funding sources, you can visit online Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) - Division of Housing. They offer assistance to developers and local governments in creating more affordable housing through gap funding for acquisition, rehabilitation and new construction projects. They also have programs to prevent homelessness and provide rental assistance.
*These grant, incentive and loan programs are competitive and funding is based on timing, availability and department priorities.*
*Page updated 6/23/22