Filing a Case

Special Note - Remote Filing

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Adjustment is accepting applications remotely rather than in person.  To file a case, please email the following information to

1.  Action you're appealing (Typically an Order to Cease and Desist or an Informal Denial)

2.  Our application (Available here)

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. 

How to File a Case with Denver Board of Adjustment

All cases must be filed between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M.

Filing the Case: A case must be filed on the application form provided by the Board (see Forms & Fees page to download), in the name(s) of the landowner(s) of the affected property. Ownership information may be obtained from the Assessment Division Real Estate at 720-913-4162 or online at Denver Property Records.

The Board’s filing fees (PDF) must be paid at the time of filing. The completed appeal application must be returned in person to the Board of Adjustment Office with the filing fee; at that time the Office staff will assign a case number, date and time for the public hearing before the Board.

Please note that the filing fee can be accepted as cash, checks made payable to "Manager of Finance", or with a credit card. Please bring your payment in person to our office when you file.

What Do I Need To Have To File A Case?

Types of Cases

Actions That Can Be Appealed
  Appeals may be made from one of the following documents:
  1. A Denial of a Zoning Permit,
  2. An Order to Cease and Desist
  3. An Action or Determination of the Zoning Administration.

More detail can be found in the Summary Table of Authority and Notice at Section 12.2.9 of the Denver Code.

Requirements for an Appeal

  1.  You must have some Action in writing from Zoning in order to appeal.
  2. All appeals have to be filed within fifteen days of the Zoning Administration’s action, unless an extended filing period is specifically authorized by Zoning.

By filing an appeal, any enforcement of a cease and desist order issued by Community Planning and Development shall be stayed until the hearing. 

Filing a Zoning Permit with Special Exception Review (ZPSE)
This is not technically an appeal as the Board is the deciding agency and has original jurisdiction. You may need to file a ZPSE for certain uses, such as an outdoor eating area in specified zone districts.  A pre-application conference is required prior to filing this request with the Board's office.

What Do I Need To File A Case

To file a case with the Board of Adjustment, you will need to bring several things:
  1. The Action you are appealing.  This can be a Denial of a Zoning Permit, an Order to Cease and Desist, or an Action or Determination of the Zoning Administrator.  It can also be a referral letter from Community Planning and Development, requesting a Zoning Permit with Special Exception Review (ZPSE).
  2. A completed Application.  You can print one out on our Forms & Fees Page or we can provide you with one at our office.
  3. For new projects you will need a copy of your plans.  We typically will need a site plan, floor plans, and elevations.
  4. Payment for the Filing Fee.  

Available Relief Under the Denver Zoning Code

The types of relief that the Board may grant are:

  1. Variances - specific exceptions to zoning requirements
  2. Time to Comply: 
  3. Appeals of Administrative Decisions 
  4. Zoning Permits With Special Exception Review (the most common is an Outdoor Eating Area for a restaurant.)


(1) All Registered Neighborhood Organizations (R.N.O.s) in your area are notified by the Board, and receive a copy of your application. You will also receive a copy of your application, as well as a copy of the R.N.O. notification form. (See also Tips & Miscellaneous Information.)

(2) A  notification sign (44” x 28”) will be made up in the office of the Board for you to pick up and post conspicuously for a continuous ten (10) day period immediately prior to the hearing. (See Tips section.) 

  If you cannot pick up the sign during office hours, 8 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Monday through Friday, please call the office and make special arrangements to obtain the sign after hours.

COVID UPDATE:  Currently we are dropping off signs rather than having them picked up at the office.  We will coordinate sign drop off the week that it needs to be put up.  If you are able to return the sign to our office, it is appreciated, as it reduces waste and allows us to re-use the signs.


Posting Of Your Notification Sign Is Critical !! Failure to post by 8:00 AM of the Saturday listed on the application may result in dismissal of your case.

The Board of Adjustment provides a Notice of Public Hearing for each appeal case and should be posted on the subject property for a minimum of 10 days. The public notice sign is blue and measures 44" X 28". It is the only official notice the immediate neighbors will receive concerning the hearing and contains information on the subject of the case; therefore, it is very important the directions and time frames are followed precisely.

Post the Notification Sign in accordance with the instructions on the sheet attached to the sign when it is picked up.

The sign must be:

  • Easily seen from the front of the property and readable from the street. If the property faces two streets the sign should be located on the street with the numbered address.
  • At least 1 foot but not more than 12 feet off the ground.
  • Not more than 15 feet away from the sidewalk or property line.
  • Posted outside in a conspicuous place and not behind glass, trees, bushes, or vehicles. Do not post it inside a window at any time.
  • Fastened solidly so that it will not blow away or bend. (The instruction sheet has examples showing how to stake, staple or wire it in place.)
  • Posted a full ten days up to  the hearing day. Consider putting up your sign on the Friday evening before the posting date indicated to be sure the posting is timely. It is your responsibility to see that it remains posted the entire ten (10) days as required. Consider posting your sign on Friday evening before the date indicated to be sure posting is timely.

(3) Where any property is held in common ownership in a condominium, the Applicant shall contact (at least 10 days prior to hearing) the condominium association and shall obtain a Power of Attorney from the Board of the condominium association.

On all major construction, (e.g. new structures or floor area additions), posting a scale drawing for the project of at least a site plan and elevations is recommended but not required. It is best if the drawings are prepared by a professional architect, engineer, or designer.

Appeals for Administrative Review by Other than the Owner, Owner's Agent, or Tenant of the Premises:
Appeals for Administrative Review filed by an aggrieved party other than the owner, the owner’s agent or the tenant of the subject property (e.g., a neighbor), shall be filed on the special Administrative Review Application (see Forms page to download). Include the name(s) of the Applicant(s) and the name(s) of the landowner(s). The notification sign shall be posted near the subject property,(such as on the adjacent public-right-way) but not on private property.

NOTE: The Code provides that any person aggrieved may appeal a Zoning Action to the Board. A Registered Neighborhood Organization (see Section 41-19 R. M. C.) may file an appeal if the property concerned falls within the neighborhood it represents.

Help us recycle!

Please bring your sign back at the time of your hearing so that we can recycle it. We can clean off the old lettering and reuse the sign board for another applicant. 

Zoning Exceptions for Chapter 59 Zoning

These Exceptions apply only to properties under Chapter 59 Zoning.  If your property is under the revised 2010 Denver Zoning Code, these Exceptions do not apply.

Administrative Exceptions 59-38(A)(12) Subject to the limitations and conditions enumerated herein, the zoning administrator shall have and exercise the power to grant the following administrative exceptions. The permitting procedures set forth in section 59-41(b) shall apply.

a. Non-Conforming Uses. For such additions in floor area or land area of legal non-conforming uses as necessary to comply with lawful requirements of the city, state or federal governments.

b. Business Structures. To allow B-2 and certain other uses in a structure designed and erected for business prior to November 8, 1956, in any residential district or in the B-1 or B-2 districts.

c. Human Services. For foster family or day care for not more than 8 children at the same time, in a single unit dwelling or one unit of a multiple unit dwelling.

d. Historic Structures. For an office or fine arts gallery in a designated historic structure in the R-3 district.

e. Keeping of Animals. For animals not considered to be common and customary. This requires the Board to consider type, number, size, space, sanitation, nuisance, and intent to reproduce. The Applicant must notify abutting owners and solicit approval. This exception requires an agreement to be filed with the office of the Clerk and Recorder.

f. Existing Dwelling Units. To allow existing excess dwelling units to remain in the R-0, R-1 or R-2 districts if they have been continually maintained and occupied since May 24, 1958, and meet the Building and Health codes.

h. Retail Uses in I-1 and I-2 Districts. For sale at retail in structures erected prior to November 8, 1956, in the above districts, with conditions.

i. Recycling Collection Station. For recycling stations in business districts other than B-1, with conditions.

j. Second Kitchen Permit. For a second kitchen in single unit dwellings, for residents or domestic servants. This exception requires an agreement to be filed in the office of the Clerk and Recorder.

k. Seasonal Plant Sales Facility. For seasonal plant sales in all business districts.

l. Bed and Breakfast Lodging. For bed and breakfast lodging in historic structures in R-3 or R-3-X districts with spacing and other conditions.

m. Telecommunication Towers. For the placement of towers and their associated telecommunications support facilities in residential districts, with conditions.

n. Child Care Homes, Large. For up to 12 children, 24 months to 16 years old, expanding home occupation child care.

Additional Information

  1. Zoning Codes and maps are available for purchase at:
    Department of Zoning Administration
    201 West Colfax Ave, Second Floor Cashier Counter
    Denver, CO 80202

  2. The Board's proceedings are ruled by the Denver Zoning Code, which also prescribes that the Board must have Rules of Procedure. The following forms are available online as listed below and are also available in:

    Office of the Board of Adjustment for Zoning Appeals
    201 West Colfax Ave, Department 201
    Denver, CO 80202

  3. All records of the Board are public records and are open for review. (For copies, see the Price List(PDF, 131KB) (PDF, 131KB)(PDF).)

  4. All hearings are recorded. Written transcripts are prepared only on cases which are appealed to District Court, and when ordered by the Court at the Plaintiff’s expense. However, a duplicate tape may be made of the hearing.