Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Board of Adjustment?

The Board of Adjustment is an independent board for the zoning enforcement division of Neighborhood Inspection Services and the Zoning Administration. It handles cases related to issues arising from the Denver Zoning Code or Former Chapter 59 Zoning Code. 

General Questions

Is the Board of Adjustment part of the Zoning Administration?
No. City Council decided it would be better to have reviews of Zoning actions done by a completely separate agency.

Who are the members of the Board and how do I contact them?
The composition of the Board can change from year to year. The Office is not authorized to give out their personal phone numbers and it is inappropriate to contact a Board member prior to the hearing.
Any concerns may be addressed to the Office staff. Please visit our Contact page for more information.

It's my property. Can't I just do what I want with it?
The Denver Zoning Code is enacted to preserve and promote the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the city, and of the public generally, and to encourage and facilitate the orderly growth and expansion of the city. To this end, certain restrictions on the use of property are in place to ensure the greater community benefits.

What if I have other zoning questions?
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. You can also visit the Community Planning & Development Zoning section for more information.

How can I let the Board know my opinion about a case?
You can email our office, send us a fax, send a letter, or come in person. You can find the specific contact information that you need for your preferred method under Contact Us. Please include your name, address, date, and the address and/or case number of the property on which you wish to comment.

NOTE:  If you are contacting us about a case, we must receive the message before 8:00 AM the day prior to a hearing. Any messages received after this time will not be presented to the Board.


How much does it cost to file an appeal?
There are 5 fee categories defined in the City Code, dependent upon the type of violation(s):
Category 1 is $100, Category 2 is $150, Category 3 is $200, Category 4 is $300, Category 5 is $400. In addition, there is a $50 penalty if you are appealing an Order to Cease and Desist on an action prior the issuance of a zoning permit. The office staff must see the Order or Denial to determine the cost.
See Fees under Forms & Fees for specifics.

Can I mail in my filing fee and statement after i fill out my application?
Yes. However, the filing fee must accompany the application in order to reserve a date and time for the hearing. Be aware that a case must be filed within 15 days of the date of the Order or Pre-Application Referral Letter. Please also note that if you simply fax or mail your application, you do not have a hearing date and do not have a case filed with the Board of Adjustment until you pay your fees in person.

Can I file online?
To file a case, online please email the following information to

  1. Action you're appealing (Typically an Pre-Application Referral Letter)
  2. Our application (Available on our Forms and Fees page)
  3. A copy of your plans
  4. The name and phone number of the person responsible for the filing fee.  We do not take payment directly, but we will have the cashier get in touch with them to get the payment processed.

Once the filing fee is paid, the application is officially filed and we will work on getting a hearing scheduled.

Hearing Dates

Why does it take so long until my hearing date?
The City Code and the Board’s rules require certain formalities, such as notifying City Council and Registered Neighborhood Organizations, as well as a Public Notice posted on the property for a period of ten days prior to the hearing date. The Board, which is made up of citizens, conducts hearings once a week on Tuesdays from 9 to noon.  Due to the notification requirements and the limited weekly docket, delays in scheduling are inevitable (typically 6-8 weeks).

Why does the Board only hear cases on a Tuesday (a workday for me) and only from 9:00 a.m. to Noon (an inconvenient time for me)?
The Board members are 5 citizens, appointed by the Mayor, who take time away from their professions and families to conduct the hearings. Therefore, the available time is limited to every Tuesday morning from 9:00 a.m. to Noon.

Hearings & Decisions

What are my chances of winning a variance?
Each case is judged on its own merits. The outcome of your case will depend on the justification you present to the Board, as well as the degree of opposition by neighbors or Registered Neighborhood Organizations. According to Denver Zoning Code, 416KB) (PDF), you must show sufficient justifying circumstances according to the listed criteria.

I did put my sign up on Saturday (at about 11:00 a.m.). Why is my case continued to a new date?
The rules of the Board require a MINIMUM of full 10 days posting for the Notice of Public Hearing sign. This is interpreted as starting at 8 am on the Saturday listed on the Application. Failure to post the sign Saturday morning will result in the case being continued to allow for proper posting at the subject property, or dismissal of the appeal by the Board.

Can I get a list of those who opposed my variance? 
The written decision from the Board will list all those who appeared at the hearing and signed in as support or opposition. We can photocopy any exhibit presented during the hearing, as our cases are a matter of public record.

Do I have any recourse if my variance or exception is denied? 
A “106 action” (Rule 106, Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure) may be filed with the Denver District Court within 28 days of your decision. Learn more on our Hearing Process page.

Will exhibits presented at the hearing be returned afterwards?
Original documents presented as exhibits to the Board may be returned to the owner 30 days after the date of the hearing. Let us know if you would like any of your exhibits returned to you. However, should the Board's decision be appealed to the Denver District Court under a "106 action" the original exhibits are presented to the District Court at that time.

Finding Information

How can I find my decision?
Go to Recent Decisions for a list of decisions from the last 8 weeks.

How can I find my Registered Neighborhood Organizations (RNOs)?
Zoning has a page to help you locate your Registered Neighborhood Organization. Simply fill in your address and a distance of 200 feet and click Search. A list of your RNO's will show up right below the map.

I am with an RNO. How can I find the cases in my area?
Go to Recently Filed Cases to see a list of cases that have been filed within the last 8 weeks. There you can find case number, address, date filed, hearing date, and subject matter.