Employers could build on-site housing for their employees soon in Durango.
The new housing option is one of 12 changes to the Land Use and Development Code the Durango Planning Commission will consider Monday.
The Community Development Department was inspired to add this type of housing by a motel owner who is providing housing to employees, said Phillip Supino, a city planner.
The housing the motel provides came up as part of a larger land-use application, and the department decided to provide the owner the opportunity to formalize it, he said.
“We are looking at things a little differently and trying to be responsive to the housing needs,” Supino said.
The proposed code would require housing to be behind the active business. If it is not shielded by the commercial part of the building, the housing could not be on the ground floor.
Businesses could propose the number of housing units they would like to build and provide the rationale behind the need for those units, according to the proposal.
It is not the intent of this new housing type to impinge on commercial development, Supino said.
“We’re very aware of and sensitive to the need for commercial and industrial lands,” he said.
Living at the workplace is not an entirely new idea in the city code. The city already allows for work-live units, such as an apartment above a retail shop. A custodial unit on a commercial property is also allowed. For example, some self-storage businesses have a unit on-site to monitor it 24/7, said planner Vicki Vandegrift.
More code amendments to encourage housing are likely in the new year to help address the shortage of available housing.
“This is just a small sliver of our larger departmental focus on housing,” Supino said.
The city is also introducing a new category in the code to govern businesses that wish to produce non-alcoholic drinks or food on a small scale and offer a restaurant setting for customers to enjoy them.
The city wants to ensure that if the business is in a retail area ,it feels and functions like a restaurant, not an industrial plant, Vandegrift said.
The planning commission will hold a public hearing on the new standards at 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall.