From left to right: Sandra Roberts, Ben Romero, Michael Koch (Chair), Penny Elder, Jose Aguayo

The Board of Adjustment for Zoning Appeals consists of five members, as well as two alternates, who are appointed by the Mayor for staggered terms of five years. The Board's sole duty is to hear and decide cases about the Denver Zoning Code. They may review Cease and Desist orders or denials of permits, and also have the ability to review decisions of the Zoning Administrator himself in some circumstances.

About the Board

All the Board members are private citizens selected by the Mayor due to their commitment and active roles in a wide range of community projects throughout the city. The regular members are appointed to staggered 5 year terms.

Current 2013 Board Members:

Penny Elder, Chairperson 
Jose Aguayo,  Vice Chairperson 
Sandra Roberts-Taylor
Frank Schultz
Kevin Wrede
Alternative Members:
Jim Keavney
Don Sandoval

The Board’s power is limited by the Denver Zoning Code. Forms of Relief under the new Code are:

Administrative Review:  The Board can reverse the Zoning Administrator where it is alleged that the Zoning Administrator has erred.  NOTE: Administrative Review cases filed by an aggrieved party other than the landowner, the landowner’s agent or the tenant (e.g., a neighbor), require a special form and procedure (see Forms Page to download).

Variances: This can apply to such things as overheight fences, setbacks, bulk (height) planes, lot frontage and/or area, excess gross floor area, open space, excess units in an R-2 zone, some signs, lot coverage, parking deficiency and/or size, or loading berths. Variances require that the Board finds that a hardship exists per 

Stays or Delays of Enforcement: The Board may grant two forms of relief to extend the time period required to bring the subject property into conformance with the Zoning Code:

  • Stay of Effective Date of Order. For orders on excess dwelling units that do not qualify for an Exception. Upon showing of HARDSHIP, the Board may grant up to a five (5) year stay, personal to the Applicant and not transferable upon sale. 

  • Six Months Delay of Enforcement. For orders to cease and desist an illegal use (other than excess dwelling units). Upon showing of HARDSHIP, the Board may grant up to a six month delay of enforcement, personal to the Applicant and not transferable. 

Zoning Permits with Special Exception Review (ZPSE

  • Charter Amendment. On May 15, 1923, the people of the City and County of Denver adopted an amendment in the City Charter authorizing the City Council to pass a Zoning Ordinance, “for the purpose of promoting health, safety, morals or the general welfare of the community.”

  • Zoning Commission. A Zoning Commission was appointed to survey the City and make recommendations on the various original zone districts and appropriate regulations to be enforced therein.

  • Zoning Ordinance. On February 11, 1925, the first Denver Zoning Ordinance and Zone District map was passed by the City Council. The Zoning Commission was dissolved and the Board of Adjustment was created.

  • Board of Adjustment. The Board of Adjustment was and is empowered by the Ordinance and the Charter to hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is error in the enforcement of the Ordinance, to hear and decide special exceptions, and to authorize variances. In addition, until 1955, the staff of the Board approved all zoning permits, while enforcement of the zoning code was performed by the Building Department. 

  • “New” Zoning Ordinance. In 1955, an entirely new Zoning Ordinance and Zone District Map was passed by City Council, which created the Zoning Administration. This ordinance was subsequently overturned by the Courts, due to technicalities. On November 8, 1956, City Council, again, passed the “New” Zoning Ordinance, following procedure, which is the foundation of our present Zoning Ordinances. This ordinance narrowed and specified the powers of the Board of Adjustment as an appeal Board, rather than an agency involved in the day-to-day administration of the Zoning Code, and was Chapter 59 of the Revised Municipal Code.

  • 2010 Denver Zoning Code,  On June 25, 2010, after 5 years of work by a Task Force and City staff, the Denver Zoning Code was adopted by City Council.

  • Zoning Administration. The Department of Zoning Administration is charged with the administration and enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance and official Zone Map. All actions of the Zoning Administration are subject to review by the Board of Adjustment for Zoning Appeals. In turn, the actions of the Board of Adjustment are subject to review by the District Court. 

  • Community Planning and Development. Currently, the city manages land use and development through various permit processes utilizing several divisions within the Community Planning and Development Agency. Under this strategy, existing zoning code violations are reported to, and investigated by, the Neighborhood Inspection Services Division. Inspectors conduct investigations of reported violations and may issue Orders to Cease and Desist illegal activities. All proposed changes in use and construction at a property should begin the permitting process at Development Services.  All proposed projects are reviewed for compliance with the zoning code and if violations exist a Denial of the Permit is issued. Both the Order to Cease and Desist, and the Denial of a Permit are eligible for appeal through the Board of Adjustment. Please see the web pages for those departments for further information.


Contact Us

Main Office: 
Wellington Webb Municipal Building
201 W. Colfax Avenue, 2nd Floor
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: 720-913-3050
Fax: 720-913-3051

Directions: The building is located on Colfax Avenue, approximately 2 blocks west of Broadway. The Office and Hearing Room (2.H.14) are located on the 2nd floor at the northeastern end of the newly constructed portion of the building.

Mailing Address:
Board of Adjustment for Zoning Appeals
201 W Colfax Ave., Dept 201
Denver, CO 80202

Office Hours:
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Denver 311 Help Center

Call 3-1-1
Outside Denver Call (720) 913-1311
Emergencies: 911
TTY Service: 720-913-8479