Landmark Preservation reviews the designs of proposed exterior alterations, additions to buildings, new construction, signs, and non-vegetative site work for properties located within the boundaries of an historic district or for a property designated a Denver landmark. Design review ensures that a proposed project preserves key historic features and is compatible with the character of designated historic buildings, sites and districts.
The Landmark Preservation Commission, the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission, and Landmark Preservation staff use design guidelines and the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the treatment of historic properties to guide design review. Additional guidelines may apply for projects located in specific historic districts.
1 – Introduction (PDF): An overall introduction to the design review process and guide to using the design guidelines.
2 – Preserving Historic Buildings (PDF): Guidelines for projects that involve alterations or updates to and adaptive reuse of landmark structures and contributing structures in historic districts.
3 – Additions to Historic Buildings (PDF): Guidelines for projects that intend to add livable space to landmark structures and contributing structures in historic districts.
4 – New or Non-contributing Structures (PDF): Guidelines for new infill construction and alterations/additions to non-contributing structures in historic districts.
5 – Site and Landscape Design (PDF): Guidelines for site design, parking and treatment of historic landscape features.
6 – Signs (PDF): Guidelines for sign design on landmark structures and properties in historic districts.
Appendix A (PDF): Character Defining Features: Summaries of the neighborhood-specific character defining features of Denver’s historic districts.
Character defining features:
Appendix B (PDF): Historic Context & Architectural Styles
Appendix C (PDF): Glossary of terms
The guidelines were last updated January 27, 2016.
Supplemental guidelines for specific areas:
The Design Review page provides more detailed information about the Landmark design review process. Once a design review application is received, Landmark Preservation staff will evaluate applications for completeness within five business days, and let you know whether the project will entail an administrative or commission review process.
A pre-application meeting with Landmark Preservation staff is required for projects involving infill construction, second-floor (pop-top) and rooftop additions, additions over 900 square feet or which add more than 40% of above grade construction square footage to an existing structure, accessory dwelling unit (ADU) construction, zone-lot amendments, historic window replacement, demolitions of Denver landmarks or structures in a historic district, or comprehensive sign plans. Complete the web pre-application review request form and upload photos and preliminary information about your project. If you prefer to email your application, email the pre-application review form (PDF) and all required information to Landmark Preservation staff.
Following the pre-application review and meeting with Landmark Preservation staff, applicants may submit an infill application and required submittal materials.
Second-floor (pop-top) and rooftop additions, additions over 900 square feet or which add more than 40% above grade square footage to an existing structure requires a pre-application review and meeting with Landmark Preservation staff. Following the pre-application meeting, applicants may submit an application and required submittal materials.
All other types of additions do not require a pre-application review and meeting with Landmark Preservation staff. Applicants may submit an application and required submittal materials:
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) require a pre-application review and meeting with Landmark Preservation staff. Following the pre-application meeting, applicants may submit an application and required submittal materials.
For all other accessory structures, including new one-story garages and small accessory structures, applicants may submit all required submittal materials to Landmark Preservation staff.
Following the pre-application review and meeting with Landmark Preservation staff, applicants may submit an application and required submittal materials.
For minor work requiring quick permits but introducing little to no visible change to a historic structure or property, submit the Landmark Quick Review application form (PDF) to Landmark Staff.
For all other work on Landmark structures or buildings in historic districts, applicants may submit the application form and required submittal materials. Landmark Preservation staff is available to answer questions during counter hours, by phone or email, or by appointment.
To apply for signage in a historic district or on a Landmark structure or property, applicants may submit the completed sign application form and checklist, and all required photographs, drawings and related materials as noted in the sign checklist to Landmark Preservation staff.
Visit the Demolition and Certificate of Non-Historic Status Review page for the demolition application, checklist and review procedure.
Complete the required application and submit it, along with any supporting materials, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your submission should include two attachments:
File size should not exceed more than 25 MB combined. Contact us if you are having trouble with your electronic submission.
Every project is different. Depending upon the complexity and specifics of your project, process and time frame may vary from the information presented on this website and in the application materials. If you have any questions, please contact us.
NOTE: All materials submitted with your application become the property the City and County of Denver. The materials are part of public record, can be used in a public hearing, and cannot be returned.
If you use assistive technology and would like to access the content in documents in PDF format on this page, please contact email@example.com.
Complex projects and unplanned events can delay the approval process. Plan extra time to get your Certificate of Appropriateness.