The City of Durango is considering updates to the Land Use and Development Code that would allow multiplexes in more areas of Durango. Multiplexes look like single-family homes but contain three to five apartments.
Public meeting and survey
City staff will host a virtual public meeting Monday, July 19 at 5 p.m. The meeting link is provided below and is also available at DurangoGov.org/Zoom. Staff will discuss why multiplexes are a popular housing choice, their design and impact, and the process to adopt new multiplex regulations.
Zoom meeting link: https://durangogov.zoom.us/j/87954360374
Residents are also encouraged to take a short survey by July 24. Specific questions or comments can be directed to the Community Development Department at (970) 375-4850
Multiplexes are buildings that are designed to look like single-family homes but contain three to five apartments. Currently, these structures are only allowed in multifamily and mixed-use zones. While multiplexes may seem out of character for established neighborhoods, many have been in existence for decades and are woven into the fabric of more historic residential areas. The city is aware of at least 30 older, pre-1950 multiplexes. However, current indications suggest 200 or more may now exist following more recent conversions of single-family homes. Newer multiplexes in EN zones (see map below) were created without city approval and may not have be built to comply with life-safety codes.
The number of existing multiplexes, both old and new, indicates a strong demand for this type of housing in established neighborhoods. Rather than attempt to shut down these units, the city prefers to provide a pathway towards legalizing existing multiplexes and allowing new multiplex conversions on qualifying properties. This course of action is recommended by the city's 2018 Housing Plan and is supported by the updated Strategic Plan and the Comprehensive Plan.
Existing multiplexes will need to be brought into compliance with building and life-safety codes in order to be legalized, and new multiplexes would be permitted following a staff review and potentially a public hearing. As of July 2021, specific code requirements for new multiplexes are not yet finalized and will be subject to change. Planning staff are seeking input from the public before bringing any final code amendments forward for approval.
Multiplexes are currently allowed in Established Neighborhood Multifamily zones (red), Mixed-Use zones (orange and yellow), and the Residential Medium and Residential High Density zones (green).
The pink/purple areas are Established Neighborhood zones where many multiplexes exist but are not allowed by the Land Use and Development Code. The city is considering code amendments that may legalize existing multiplexes in these zones and provide a permitting process for new multiplexes. The city is open to feedback on areas where multiplexes could be permitted beyond what is shown on the map.
Most existing multiplexes in Durango are indistinguishable from single-family homes to the untrained eye. Any new code requirements would ensure design standards for single-family homes apply to new multiplexes in order to prevent issues with context and compatibility for adjacent properties.
The larger structures below are examples of multiplexes that are out of context for our existing neighborhoods and would not be allowed in the city.