Denver Development

RiNo Tiny Home Village Must Move 200 Feet — at a Cost of $25,000

RiNo Tiny Home Village Must Move 200 Feet — at a Cost of $25,000
Facebook / Colorado Village Collaborative
Since July, fourteen formerly homeless individuals have lived in a self-governed tiny home village — known as the Beloved Community Village — at the corner of 38th and Walnut streets in RiNo. The village, which consists of eleven eight-by-twelve-foot homes, a “circ house” and a bathing facility, has been a success in terms of raising awareness of alternative housing solutions in Denver. On November 14, the village was named one of the recipients of the Mayor’s 2017 Design Awards. And the tiny homes have even become something of a tourist attraction — leading volunteers and residents to install a brightly colored security fence for added privacy.

The village is a “pilot project” with a six-month lease on life from the Urban Land Conservancy, the owner of the property, and a temporary zoning permit from the city. But when the ULC announced in September plans to build an affordable-housing complex on the land, the Colorado Village Collaborative, the coalition that brought the project to fruition, scrambled to find a new location for the village before it had to be off the property on January 16.

As it turns out, the new location is only a couple hundred feet away, the collaborative announced today.

click to enlarge WESTWORD / GOOGLE MAPS
Westword / Google Maps
The village will relocate across an alleyway to an adjacent Urban Land Conservancy-owned lot at 1420 East 38th Street (closer to the A-line tracks).

Three landowners offered space around Denver for the village to use, but ultimately, “this decision came down to staying in a neighborhood that has begun to feel like home," according to a statement from the Colorado Village Collaborative.

“RiNo is our home. We love RiNo, and they love us,” said villager Amanda McDougald in the statement.

Ever since residents of the Beloved Community Village voted to stay in the neighborhood, the Colorado Village Collaborative has addressed challenges associated with the move, including:

• Zoning: The village's new parcel falls under old zoning code, which does not address tiny homes. City Councilman Albus Brooks will sponsor an ordinance to rezone the site by January 16 so that tiny homes will be allowed there.

• Temporary displacement of residents: While the village is being moved, the Colorado Village Collaborative is teaming up with hotels, faith communities and private individuals to host residents for between five and fourteen days.

• Cost: The move, which will be overseen by Whiting-Turner Contracting, is expected to cost $25,000 — of which $18,000 is already secured. For the rest, the Colorado Village Collaborative is raising money online, and will also co-host a symposium and fundraiser called “Move along to here!” on December 15 at RedLine Denver.

An issue not yet addressed is timing. The ULC and the city have only approved another six-month charter for the relocated village, which residents hope is extended permanently.

“CVC and the Beloved Community Village are extremely grateful to all of those across the city who have made it possible for us to remain in RiNo for the next six months of the life of Beloved Community Village," the village said in a statement, "but we look forward to the day when these six-month timelines have been erased and permanent zoning has been established for tiny home villages that allows for the preservation and prioritization of land for the poor in the middle of Denver."
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Chris Walker is a freelancer and former staff writer at Westword. Before moving to the Mile High City he spent two years bicycling across Eurasia, during which he wrote feature stories for VICE, NPR, Forbes, and The Atlantic. Read more of Chris's feature work and view his portfolio here.
Contact: Chris Walker