In addition to zoning, other city ordinances, rules and regulations may affect land use or development.
Design review is required through the establishment of design standards and guidelines through several zone districts. Learn more.
General development plans (GDPs) establish a framework for large or phased projects in mixed-use zone districts. The GDP process provides a conceptual plan for integrating land uses with infrastructure.
For more information, view General Development Plans.
Landmark Preservation was established through the Denver Landmark Preservation Ordinance in 1967 in order to help preserve Denver's history and character.
Landmark Preservation staff perform the following services:
For more information, see Landmark Preservation.
Denver has height restrictions in several areas to protect views from certain points in the city. To find out if your site is affected by these restrictions, review the view plane ordinances.
Certain designated parkways and boulevards are regulated to preserve their unique character. Each parkway has its own right-of-way width, distance for setbacks of structures and regulations governing structures and signs.
Learn more about designated parkways and setback requirements.
View Equipment Standards for Bicycle Parking Areas (PDF) for rules and regulations establishing the dimensional and equipment standards for bicycle parking areas (bike racks).
View Rules and Regulations for the Landscaping of Parking Areas (PDF) for rules governing the appearance of surface parking areas.
The Denver Zoning Code provides that up to 40 percent of provided parking stalls may be small (compact) spaces, so long as the owner/manager is able to limit such parking to employees or residents, assign such spaces appropriately, and enforce such restrictions. Compact spaces must be specifically requested in writing and including a detailed, scaled parking plan, a justification and a $100 fee.
For more information, view the small car stalls document (PDF).
A planned unit development (PUD) is a custom zone district used to address a unique site, or a unique proposed development, when standard zone districts are not applicable. The PUD/PBG Development (Site) Plan Rules and Regulations contain the standards and approval process applicable to development plans (includes PUD site plans; planned building groups, mixed-use development plans, and planned developments).
For more information view Development (Site) Plan Review Regulations (PDF).
The Inclusionary Housing Ordinance (IHO) required private developers to provide a certain number of affordable homes within developments of 30 or more homes. The revised IHO still governs projects with agreements or housing created while it was in effect, but for new development projects coming on line after January 1, 2017, the IHO has been replaced by linkage fees that support Denver’s Dedicated Affordable Housing Fund.
For more information, view the Office of Economic Development's page on affordable housing, IHO and required forms.
Click here for applications, resources, and information on the affordable housing linkage fee now in effect for new development projects in Denver.
Site Engineering staff performs comprehensive plan review for all new development and redevelopment within the City and County of Denver for transportation, drainage and sanitary sewer uses.
For more information on these requirements, view Site Engineering.
The Denver Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau reviews some types of zoning applications to ensure consistency with fire and building codes.
For more information about these reviews, view the Denver Fire website.
A regulating plan is a tool in the Denver Zoning Code (section 12.4.13) used to narrow the broad flexibility otherwise allowed in some zone districts, as site-specific development proceeds. Commonly found in form-based zoning codes, regulating plans are used to designate pedestrian-priority streets, and apply allowed building forms, form standards, and land uses to specific sites. Regulating plans can ensure plan-recommended features like building height transitions; building scale and separation; winter solar access for pedestrians; active storefronts and ground floor uses; high-quality design; charm and viability.
A regulating plan may be used when clear adopted plan recommendations cannot be fully achieved with an existing zone district, or when seeking greater predictability about future development than a zone district offers. A regulating plan can bridge the gap between an adopted plan and future zoning of the area. It prescribes and regulates certain elements of a specific project, but does not alter the official zoning of the property. In most zone districts, a regulating plan is optional.
“Tiny houses” are not prohibited in Denver per se, but there are aspects of some tiny houses that do not align with city codes. Each tiny house is different, and there is no industry-standard definition of a tiny house.
In general, smaller dwelling units offer myriad benefits to individuals and the community at large including sustainability, affordable housing and accommodation for shifting demographics (like single-person households and downsizing retirees).
But like any other structures built in the city, a small dwelling must meet health and safety codes to ensure the safety and quality-of-life of all city residents — current and future.
Here’s an overview of a few of some common tiny-house features that may clash with local health and safety codes. Just as there is no standard definition of a tiny house, there is no one code or regulation that addresses all tiny house considerations. The mobile aspect of many tiny houses may be the biggest obstacle for those who wish to occupy these types of mobile homes in Denver.
Not hooking up to the municipal water system:
International Residential Code (building code)
Denver Housing Code: Water
Not hooking up to the municipal sewer system:
Denver Revised Municipal Code: Disposal of wastes and use of public sewers
Home on wheels:
Denver Zoning Code: Mobile homes
Size of home:
2015 International Residential Code (building code): Minimum area
The Denver Zoning Code grants Community Planning and Development (CPD) authority to suspend and/or revoke zoning permits.
The Rules & Regulations Regarding Suspension or Revocation of Zoning Permits (PDF) is CPD's adopted policy establishing the process for notice, determination and appeal of a suspension or revocation of a zoning permit. The policy was adopted in August 2016 and amended in January 2017.
Permit violations that could result in permit suspension or revocation are listed in Denver Zoning Code Section 188.8.131.52.B (PDF).
MORATORIUM ON "GARDEN COURT" FORM, sponsored by Council Members Wayne New and Rafael Espinoza
Approved August 22, 2016
Denver City Council approved a moratorium that would prohibit the use of the Denver Zoning Code’s garden court building form for one year, starting August 25, 2016. This is not a text amendment. Click here for details.
MORATORIUM ON SMALL-LOT PARKING EXEMPTION, sponsored by Council Members Albus Brooks and Paul Kashmann
Approved August 22, 2016
Denver City Council approved a moratorium to prohibit the use of the Denver Zoning Code’s small zone lot parking exemption for certain projects for seven months, starting August 25, 2016. This is not a text amendment. Click here for details.
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