Hot SheetHousing

Denver says “not” to slot homes

Author: Mark Harden - May 8, 2018 - Updated: May 8, 2018

An example of a Denver slot home development. (KUSA-9News, Denver)

Denver officials are looking sideways at a style of clustered housing that has become increasingly popular in parts of the city.

Denverite reports that the City Council voted unanimously Monday night to block construction of “slot homes.” That comes after city planners stopped accepting paperwork for new slot homes in March.

The housing style has been popping up in redeveloping sections of town, where some 100 slot-home projects have been built in recent years.

A typical slot-home project features two rows of side-by-side units facing sideways — toward each other — across a narrow passage or “slot,” and presenting an all-but-featureless wall to the street.

Developers say the design makes efficient use of space, allowing them to pack more homes on each site, while also providing for ground-level entries, in a city that’s increasing starved for new housing.

But critics — including many city officials and planners — complain that the design detracts from the neighborhood feel of Denver streets.

As Councilman Paul López tells Denverite:

Without a doubt, these slot homes were an abuse of our zoning codes. They robbed our neighborhoods of character and they robbed residents of community.

Instead, officials would like homes to be built facing the street, with patios and garden courts out front.

But don’t expect the flow of new slot homes to end just yet. The Denver Post reports that the city still as at least 30 slot-home development plans in the pipeline that were filed ahead of a March 14 deadline.

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.