Project Guide for Fences

This guide is intended to guide you through the permitting process for building a fence on your property.  Fence construction requirements depend on the location of the property, location of the fence, height and construction materials. Fences should not be constructed in the adjacent property or in the public right-of-way.

For information on retaining walls, visit the Project Guide for Retaining Walls.

Help Me Get Started . . .

Before you start your project, you need to know what regulations apply to your property and what factors may impact your project. You'll need to consider:

Historic Landmark Status
Any project that involves changes to the exterior of landmark structures or properties in historic landmark districts must be reviewed by Landmark Preservation staff before you begin. The appropriate zoning, building, curb cut, or revocable permits needed for the project will be issued only after design review has been completed and the project has been approved. To determine your property’s landmark status, use the DevelopDENVER tool to the right. Then, visit the design review web page for more information.

 

Zoning
Zoning establishes standards for things such as the size and location of structures and acceptable uses for your property. Before you begin construction, you need to be sure your project is in compliance with the Denver Zoning Code. Use the DevelopDENVER tool to the right to determine the zoning for your property. In the results, click on your zone district for descriptions and definitions; then, click on your neighborhood context for more information on zoning in your area. 

 

Parkways
Any project that encroaches on a designated parkway setback will need to undergo parkways review. Certain parkways and boulevards are specifically designated by ordinance to preserve their unique character. Each designated parkway has its own right-of-way width and regulations of setback distance of structures and signs. If you are unsure if you live along a designated parkway or for your parkway’s specific regulations, enter your address into the DevelopDENVER tool at right. Look under “Designated Parkways” on the results panel on the left. If a specific parkway appears, click on the “Details” button for information on setbacks.



Building Code
Denver Building Code provides minimum standards for building in order to safeguard public safety, health and welfare. The permitting and inspection process ensures that all home projects meet these standards and that all dwellings are safe and habitable at the time of construction.



Location of Existing Sewer Lines
If you plan to build a new structure over or within 2 feet of the existing sanitary sewer, you will need to replace the sanitary sewer with approved materials. A plumbing contractor can help you locate the sewer lines on your property. Visit Wastewater Sewer Use and Drainage Permit (SUDP) for application, guidelines and other specific information. Contact the Department of Public Works at 303-446-3759 for additional details.

 

Location of Utilities
When designing your project, you need to know where utilities are located. You cannot build over existing utilities. Before you dig, contact the Utility Notification Center of Colorado at 1-800-922-1987 or 811 to mark underground utilities for your project.

Listed in the order they must be obtained. All permits must be in hand and at site before work may begin.

  1. Landmark Certificate of Appropriateness – if the project is in a designated historic district or landmark property. Visit the Design Review web page for more information.
  2. Forestry Review – if your project will impact the canopy or roots of street trees. Contact Denver Forestry by email (forestry@denvergov.org) or by phone at 720-913-0651 to evaluate your project and visit the Denver Forestry web page for additional information. Allow about 3 to 5 business working days for inspections and approval.
  3. Parkways Review –  if your property is along a designated parkway and the project encroaches on the parkway setback
    You will need: A completed Parkway Exception Request form and a site plan that includes property lines, parkway setback from property line, proposed type, location and dimensions of encroachment into parkway setback, location of existing residence on property and labeled streets. To get a copy of the form and additional information, contact parkways@denvergov.org.
  • Fences should not be constructed in the adjacent property or in the public right-of-way. All retaining walls or fences must be six inches back from the public sidewalk, regardless of where the property line is.
  • If your property is a designated landmark or historic district property, landmark design review and a zoning permit are required regardless of the height or location of the fence.
  • If your property is on a designated parkway, parkways review and a zoning permit are required regardless of the height or location of the fence.
  • If your property is on a floodplain or if you are digging 2 feet from the sewer line, a wastewater permit is required. To check your floodplain status, use the DevelopDENVER tool at right.
  • If your fence is all or part masonry and that section of it measures more than 4 feet in height from the footer (not from grade), a building permit is required.
  • Full masonry walls over 6 feet in height require commercial engineering review. (Commercial Same Day Walk Through).

 

 

If your property is not a landmark or in a designated historic district or parkway, the following rules apply.

  • For front yard fences: 
    - If 4 feet or shorter, no permit is required. See Denver Zoning Code Article 10, Section 5.5 for zoning regulations on allowed materials.
    - If taller than 4 feet, an over-height fence permit is required; fence must be 50 percent or more open for any portion of the fence above 4 feet and meet other conditions in Denver Zoning Code Article 10, Section 5.5 (PDF) for permit to be approved.
  • For back yard fences:
    - If 4 feet or shorter, no permit is required.
    - If between 4 and 6 feet, a zoning permit is required. 
    - If taller than 6 feet, an over-height fence permit required; fence must meet conditions in Denver Zoning Code Article 10, Section 5.5 (PDF) for permit to be approved. 
    - If fence is taller than 8 feet or doesn’t meet over-height fence permit conditions, a zoning variance from Board of Adjustment is required. A building permit is also required for this height.

 

  • Zoning permit: You will need a site plan that includes where fence will be on the property.
    At the Development Services permit counter, sign in online or at the kiosk once for your zoning permit (Residential Same Day Review).
  • Variance or over-height fence permit: You will need: 
    - For over-height fences, elevation information.
    Submit materials:
    - by email: zoningreview@denvergov.org
    - by mail: Development Services/Zoning, 201 W. Colfax, Dept. 203, Denver CO 80202
    - in person: Development Services permit counter, 2nd floor of the Webb Municipal Building, 201 W. Colfax. Sign in online or at the kiosk for Commercial Zoning.
  • Building permit:
    -For masonry that’s between 4 and 6 feet, measured from the footer, you will need a section drawing showing the foundation.
    At the Development Services permit counter, sign in online or at the kiosk for Residential Same Day Review. If you are also applying for a zoning permit for the same fence, you may sign in once for both zoning and building permit (Residential Same Day Review).
    -For a full masonry wall that is 6 feet or higher, or any type of fence that is 8 feet or higher, you will need:
    • A site plan that includes where fence will be on the property.
    • A section drawing showing the foundation
    At the Development Services permit counter, sign in online or at the kiosk for Commercial Same Day Walk-Through.

Estimate Fees
Zoning and Building permit fees are based on valuation of the work to be completed including the labor and materials. For Wastewater, there is a $100 application fee plus appropriate fees. The fees change yearly. View thepermit fee schedules to estimate the fees required for your project. There are no fees for Landmark or Parkways review.

NOTE:  When a Same Day Review is required for the #1R Permit, a  "walk through" submittal fee of 20% of the valuation of the work to be completed with a $100.00 minimum will be charged in addition to building permit fees.

Pay Fees
Fees can be paid in person at our cashier on the 2nd floor of the Wellington Webb Building. We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover Card, cash and personal checks at our counter.

To pay by mail, send a check to:
Development Services
Wellington Webb Municipal Building
201 W. Colfax Ave., 2nd Floor
Denver, Colorado 80202

All approved construction set of documents, permits and inspector signature card are to be available on site upon request.

Typical inspections during construction of a fence that includes masonry (if a building permit is required) include the following:

  • Footing
  • Foundation Wall
  • Final Inspection
  • Denver Forestry

 

NOTE:  The inspections listed above may vary depending on the complexity of your project. 

DevelopDENVER

What you need to know for your project!

Enter your property address or street intersection:
View property details including zoning, landmark status, inspector districts and more.

Fence Scenario A

Non-masonry 4' or less 

Height: 4' or shorter
Materials:  all non-masonry
Location:  front yard or backyard
Lot type:  interior lot

If the property is located along a designated parkway, a zoning permit is required.  

If the property is located in a landmark district or designated an historic structure, landmark approval and a zoning permit are required.  

If neither 1 nor 2, no permits are required but you must follow the zoning regulations for allowed materials.  Please see the Denver Zoning Code Article 10, Section 5.5.

If the property is located in a floodplain, a wastewater permit may be required.



Fence Scenario D

Masonry with pickets

Height:  over 4'
Materials:  partial masonry  
Location:  front yard
Lot type:  Interior lot

If the property is located in a landmark district or is a designated historic structure, landmark approval is required.

An over-height fence zoning permit with information notice (ZPIN) is required.  Please see the Denver Zoning Code Article 10, Section 5.5 for additional regulations.  For example, the fence may not be higher than 6’ and it must be 50% or more “open.”

A wastewater permit is required.

A building permit is required, if the masonry section of the fence measures more than 4 feet from the footer (not from grade).

All masonry material is not allowed for this type of fence.



Fence Scenario G

Non-masonry 8' fence

Height: over 6’
Materials: all non-masonry 
Location:  backyard
Lot type:  interior lot

If the property is located in a landmark district or is a designated historic structure, landmark approval is required.

An over-height fence zoning permit with information notice (ZPIN) is required.  Please see the Denver Zoning Code Article 10, Section 5.5 for additional regulations.  For example, the fence may not be higher than 8’.

If the property is located in a floodplain, a wastewater permit may be required.

Fence Scenario B

 Masonry 4' or less

Height:  4' or shorter
Materials:  All or partial masonry
Location:  front yard or backyard
Lot type:  interior lot

If the property is located along a designated parkway, a zoning permit is required.

 

If the property is located in a landmark district or designated an historic structure, landmark approval and a zoning permit are required.

 

If neither 1 nor 2, a zoning permit is not required but you must follow the zoning regulations for allowed materials.  See the Denver Zoning Code Article 10, Section 5.5.

 

A wastewater permit is required.



Fence Scenario E

Non-masonry 6' fence

Height:  over 4', no taller than 6’
Materials:  all non-masonry
Location:  backyard
Lot type:  interior lot

If the property is located in a landmark district or is a designated historic structure, landmark approval is required.

A zoning permit is required.

If the property is located in a floodplain, a wastewater permit may be required.



Fence Scenario H

Masonry 8' fence

Height: over 6’
Materials: all or part masonry 
Location:  backyard
Lot type:  interior lot

If the property is located in a landmark district or is a designated historic structure, landmark approval is required.

An over-height fence zoning permit with information notice (ZPIN) is required.  Please see the Denver Zoning Code Article 10, Section 5.5 for additional regulations.  For example, the fence may not be higher than 8’.

A wastewater permit is required.

A building permit is required.

Fence Scenario C

 Non-masonry over 4'

Height: over 4'
Materials:  all non-masonry
Location:  front yard
Lot type:  interior lot

If the property is located in a landmark district or is a designated historic structure, landmark approval is required

An over-height fence zoning permit with information notice (ZPIN) is required.  Please see the Denver Zoning Code Article 10, Section 5.5 for additional regulations.  For example, the fence may not be higher than 6’ and it must be 50% or more “open.”

If the property is located in a floodplain, a wastewater permit may be required.



Fence Scenario F

Masonry 6' - 8' fence

Height:  over 4’, no taller than 6’
Materials:  all or part masonry 
Location:  backyard
Lot type:  interior lot

If the property is located in a landmark district or is a designated historic structure, landmark approval is required.

A zoning permit is required.

A wastewater permit is required.

A building permit is required, if the masonry section of the fence measures more than 4 feet from the footer (not from grade).



Fence Scenario I

Non-masonry 4' corner fence

Height: over 4’
Materials:  all
Location:  front yard and/or backyard
Lot type:  corner

If the property is located in a landmark district or is a designated historic structure, landmark approval is required.

Please contact zoning staff to determine if and what type of zoning permit may be required and what zoning regulations apply.

If the property is located in a floodplain, a wastewater permit may be required. 

A wastewater permit is required in any location if partial or all masonry material is used.

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