A construction project started in late 2019 that nearly doubles the number of units at Denver's only tiny home village is almost complete. The expansion has added eight units to the Beloved Community Village in Globeville, bringing the total number of units for people trying to move out into stable housing to nineteen.
The newly constructed homes are awaiting city inspections, which could take up to a week, according to Cole Chandler of the Colorado Village Collaborative.
"We are starting resident selection interviews this weekend, and we'll be continuing those next weekend, as well. Our target date is to have eight houses filled by February 1, and that seems like an achievable target," says Chandler. The village will be able to house up to 25 individuals.
The village has also added a community building that includes three bathrooms, a kitchen and an eating area. Residents have previously used porta-potties and showers connected to water tanks.
The Beloved Community Village has been on its current site in Globeville since May 2019, when it moved there from RiNo. Some nearby residents strongly opposed the move, arguing that the city had been using Globeville as a dumping ground for projects rejected by other areas.
But that initial tension appears to be waning.
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"There used to be signs that said 'No tiny homes in Globeville' at two properties across the street. Those have come down," Chandler told Westword in December.
Although there's just one tiny home village in Denver, more are coming. An ordinance passed by Denver City Council in October 2019 carved out space for such villages in the city's zoning and building codes. Prior to that ordinance, construction of the Beloved Community Village required zoning variances.
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Colorado Village Collaborative is also working on a tiny home village for women experiencing homelessness. Chandler says he isn't ready to share many details about the proposed village just yet, but offers this: "We're still doing our due diligence on a site and hoping to start doing neighborhood engagement within the next month or so."
With the new zoning regulations, tiny home villages can now be permitted for up to 180 days, with a chance for a one-year renewal, or up to two years, with a chance for a two-year renewal. The two-year permits require fixed bathrooms rather than portable toilets. After four years pass, a tiny home village must move and can't return to the same land for another four years. Villages are also now allowed in more sports around Denver, including residential areas, as long as they're constructed on a site that already houses a public building, like a church or a community center. Tiny home villages in residential areas can hold up to thirty units, each of which can house up to two people.
The new regulations also require that tiny home village developers reach out to nearby residents and neighborhood organizations by a planned site, and work together to craft safety regulations, the resident application process, and a method for resolving any disputes that might arise in a village.
The Department of Community Planning and Development, together with Councilwoman Robin Kniech, is working on another zoning-code update that would allow for permanent tiny home villages. This update is part of the city's larger effort to revamp the zoning code to make space for more group-living situations.