Denver City Council votes to restrict further development of slot homes

DENVER -- The Denver City Council voted Monday night to restrict further construction of controversial slot homes.

The homes have become popular over the past few years. They are essentially town homes that face sideways, allowing developers to fit more units on the property.

The benefit for developers is they can replace what once was a single-family home with six or seven units.

The homes are often built facing each other on adjacent properties, allowing developers to maximize space.

The issue for the city is the homes do not face roads, meaning that instead of looking at a porch or garage, a wall and gas meter is seen.

Residents in the Berkeley, Highland and Jefferson Park neighborhoods have been complaining about the homes for years.

The city council voted unanimously on Monday on several zoning changes, most notably a requirement that doors and windows on future developments must face the street.

"There’s incredible investment confidence in Denver right now," Denver Community Planning and Development executive director Brad Buchanan said.

"We’re seeing a record number of building permits pulled. But they have to be done in a way that adds to our city, and the experience of our city.

"It’s also about reducing their scale, it’s about talking about how tall they can be, and it’s about how do we make sure that the actual fronts do face the street for that pedestrian experience.

"So that it’s not just a fake side, with gas meters along the sidewalk. That isn’t what is contextual with our neighborhoods, and it doesn’t work for our neighborhoods.”

A number of developers knew the change was coming and quickly submitted site development plans with the city a few months ago.

A number of the slot homes could still be built, but new submissions will not be accepted going forward.