Large Development Review and Infrastructure Master Plans

Overview

In July 2019, Denver implemented a new review process for large development sites. The new process is designed to ensure these sites—which tend to be developed in phases over time—are given clear direction at the earliest stage of project planning on how they are expected to meet priorities important to Denver’s neighborhoods, including, for example, providing coordinated infrastructure improvements, publicly accessible open space, parkland, and quality design.

During large development review, city staff will outline the regulatory or planning steps expected of new, large developments in order to stay consistent with the recommendations of Blueprint Denver and other City Council-adopted plans. The outcome of LDR is a written framework agreed to by multiple city agencies that identifies and coordinates the studies, infrastructure improvements, development requirements, and other regulations that apply to the entire area proposed for future development. This framework will govern city review of sites within this area as it develops over time.

Criteria and steps

Criteria for large development review (LDR)

All applications for a rezoning, subdivision request, or a site development plan will prompt city staff to consider if the site in question needs large development review (LDR). The evaluation is made by a Development Review Committee comprising the executive directors of Community Planning and Development, Public Works, and Parks and Recreation based on the criteria summarized below and detailed in Denver Zoning Code Section 12.4.12.2.

  • Does a City Council-adopted plan recommend the use of LDR, an infrastructure master plan, or a general development plan for all or portions of the site?
  • Is the gross land area of the project more than five acres or three blocks? Or will it result in the creation of three or more blocks?
  • Are major infrastructure improvements needed, including changes to the arterial or collector street grid, regional stormwater system, or public parkland or open space?
  • Is there a previously approved general development plan for the area that needs to be amended for this project?
  • Or, optionally, has the property owner requested LDR in order to establish a coordinated regulatory and review framework for the property? In this case, there may be one owner selling the property to multiple owners, or multiple property owners from the start.

Note: LDR does not apply to properties zoned under the Former Chapter 59 zoning code, unless the project is requesting to rezone the property, or any portion of the property, to a Denver Zoning Code zone district.


Process overview

  1. Pre-application meeting and applicability determination (30 days) 
  2. Preliminary determination of LDR scope (within 60 days after the pre-application meeting) 
  3. Community information meeting (timing can vary, but ideally within one-two months of the preliminary scope) 
  4. Formal LDR application and preparation of final framework (generally within 1.5 months after the Community Information Meeting) 
  5. Written framework approved and recorded in property records 
  6. Continue to next steps (e.g., rezoning, site development plan, community planning process)
    Some steps can begin during LDR, pending approval from the DRC to proceed with certain concurrent applications. 

Details on each of the above steps are available in Article 12 of the Denver Zoning Code (PDF) (Section 12.4.12).


Projects in progress

Some projects that were already underway when the new LDR / IMP regulations took effect (July 2019) and had already applied for rezonings, subdivisions, or site development plans, but had not had these applications approved yet, may be evaluated according to the LDR criteria or may require an IMP.

For questions, contact your assigned city reviewer or project coordinator.


Required community information meeting

Projects subject to large development review are required to host a community information meeting, during which the developer must share their development concept, its relationship to adopted plans, and any next steps that would be open to public comment. 

If there is not already an adopted plan for the area or if plan guidance is lacking, city planners will also use this meeting to discuss the timing and type of any planning process where neighbors can be involved before development occurs.

Download a guide for hosting a Community Information Meeting

Visit CPD's Meeting and Event Calendar to view upcoming Community Information Meetings

Infrastructure master plans (IMPs)

Many projects subject to LDR will have to complete an infrastructure master plan, or “IMP,” before development applications can be approved. An IMP is a conceptual, technical master site plan that coordinates horizontal infrastructure systems, open space, and public park systems for large sites that may evolve through multiple phases of development over the years and could change ownership. All subsequent site development plan or rezoning applications submitted for portions of the large development area must be consistent with the IMP.

IMPs are required in the following scenarios:

  • When required by the LDR process
  • When a City Council-adopted plan recommends an IMP for the proposed development area
  • When the proposed development is in a previously approved general development plan area
  • When the gross land area of the proposed development is more than five acres or three blocks, or will result in the creation of three or more blocks
  • When the proposed development is of a scale and complexity where a coordinated process for addressing horizontal development systems is needed to implement adopted plans

IMPs are further detailed in Denver Zoning Code Section 12.4.14 (PDF).

General development plans (GDPs)

Large development review is specific to the Denver Zoning Code and generally replaces the use of general development plans that Denver historically required for large project sites. The new LDR process has a greater focus on how large developments deliver tangible benefits to our neighborhoods. 

Projects seeking to amend an existing Former Chapter 59 GDP and rezone into the Denver Zoning Code will be directed to use the new LDR process.

Rules & Regulations for General Development Plans(PDF, 450KB)
If you use assistive technology and need help accessing this document, please email planning@denvergov.org.

View completed general development plans.

Get started...

by meeting with our team.

If the criteria for large development review or an infrastructure master plan apply to your project, schedule a pre-application meeting with our staff before applying for rezonings, subdivisions, or development permits.

You will need:

  • A narrative of the proposed development that describes – at a minimum – the project’s intent, proposed land uses and intensities, infrastructure changes, park and open space concepts, and development phases.
  • A conceptual plan of the proposed development that supports the narrative.

To schedule, call 720-865-2982 (option 8) or email Development.Services@denvergov.org.


Additional Information:

Application fees will apply to projects that require large development review or infrastructure master plans. View fee schedules here.

Development Review Committee (DRC)

The Development Review Committee (DRC) is responsible for reviewing proposed large development concept plans. They ensure that proposed projects comply with city regulations as well as adopted plans and policies. The DRC is representative of multiple agencies and staffed at both a technical and executive level. 

The DRC’s technical staff meet twice per month to review LDR applications and provide recommendations for final consideration by the executive DRC staff – which meets once per month.

Staff from the following agencies comprise the DRC:

  • Office of the Mayor, City and County of Denver
  • Community Planning and Development – Planning Services, Development Services
  • Department of Transportation and Infrastructure: Transportation, Wastewater, Floodplain, Transportation Design and Transportation Mobility 
  • Denver Parks and Recreation: Office of the City Forester, Natural Resources, Parks Planning
  • Department of Economic Development and Opportunity
  • Department of Housing Stability
  • Denver Fire
  • Department of Finance
  • City Attorney's Office
  • Department of Finance
  • Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency
  • Department of Public Health and the Environment
  • Denver Public Schools 
  • Denver Water 

Approved Frameworks