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Landmark Design Review & Guidelines

 
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Getting Started

Step 1: Determine your property's landmark status

Use the Historic Landmarks and Districts map to check if your property is a designated landmark or in a historic district. If it is, your project may be subject to design review.


Step 2: Determine whether your project requires design review 

The type of construction work you are doing determines whether you must undergo design review before you begin. The following projects are subject to design review. Click the buttons for project specific information.

  • Interior remodeling that does not affect the exterior of the property. Interior projects cannot include window replacement, door replacement, egress windows, or changes to a roofline.
  • Minor repairs that do not require building or zoning permits 
  • Painting 
  • Repointing masonry 
  • Window glass replacement, installation of storm windows or repair that does not involve changing the window sash, frame or opening
  • Installation or removal of plant material

If you are unsure as to whether your project must undergo design review, please contact Landmark Preservation staff.

 

Step 3: Determine which design guidelines apply to your project

The guidelines that apply depend on the location of your property. The Design Guidelines page outlines which guidelines apply in which areas of the city. 


Step 4: Submit your application or pre-application review request (if applicable).  

The following projects require pre-application review, which may include meeting with Landmark Preservation staff:

  • infill construction
  • historic window replacement
  • zone-lot amendments
  • accessory dwelling unit (ADU) construction
  • second-floor (pop-top) or rooftop additions
  • additions of more than 900 square feet or that add more than 40 percent square footage to existing above grade square footage
  • comprehensive sign plans
  • demolition of locally designated landmarks or structures in local historic districts

If applicable, complete the pre-application review request form (PDF) and email it along with photos and preliminary information about your project to landmark@denvergov.org

For all other projects, click on the corresponding box above for the project-specific design review application and information on required application materials.

Next Steps

Once your application has been received, staff will sort your project into one of two tracks. If review by the Landmark Preservation Commission or the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission is necessary, you may need to submit additional materials. 

Projects that are not described in the LPC and LDDRC review list in the box below and clearly meet the design guidelines.

  • A complete design review application is required. 
  • Additional supporting application materials required, as noted for each project type, above. 

Projects meeting any of the following conditions (as determined by Landmark staff):

  • All additions that add more than 900 square feet or add more than 40 percent square footage to existing above grade square footage, whichever is less.
  • Projects readily visible from public vantage points, except fences and minor site work that meets the design guidelines.
  • All roof-top additions with visibility from public vantage points, including enclosed and open space.
  • All new construction except for one-story garages that clearly meet design guidelines and are not visible from public vantage points.
  • Changes to character-defining or visible doors, windows, porches and other historic features.
  • Major changes to historic materials. 
  • Comprehensive sign plans, projecting shaped signs and other signs that are not subject to administrative review as delineated in Chapter 6 of Design Guidelines for Denver Landmark Structures & Districts (PDF) or the Design Guidelines for the Lower Downtown Historic District (PDF), depending on which applies. 
  • Demolition of all primary structures, portions of a contributing structure or contributing outbuildings.
  • Improvements to all city-owned property located in a historic district or an individual landmark site.
  • Projects determined by Landmark Preservation staff to not meet the design guidelines.

LPC and LDDRB Review projects require:

  • Pre-application meeting with staff
  • A full design review application 
  • Additional supporting application materials, including materials for LPC/LDDRB presentation. 

Visit the following pages for additional information:

 

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information on this page should not be used as a substitute for codes and regulations. The applicant is responsible for compliance with all code and rule requirements, whether or not described in this page.

 

Working with neighborhood groups

Applicants are encouraged to communicate early with neighbors and registered neighborhood organizations about proposed projects to receive input and to help ensure that projects are compatible with the character-defining features of historic districts. The Landmark Preservation Commission and city staff make all final historic design review decisions, but neighborhood input is a valuable and important part of the design review process for any project.

Coordination with registered neighborhood organizations is required for projects involving infill construction, accessory dwelling units, and rooftop additions in historic districts where RNOs have design review committees that have completed training with landmark staff. This coordination occurs prior to a Landmark Preservation Commission design review hearing, to provide early opportunities for dialogue on a proposed design.

Anyone may submit comments on a design review case scheduled for action by the Landmark Preservation Commission and the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission following the Public Comment Policy

RNOs may be pre-qualified by Landmark Preservation staff to participate in the design review process for infill construction, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and rooftop additions. Qualified RNOs have the opportunity to meet with applicants and provide input on a project prior to a design review hearing to the Landmark Preservation Commission. For more information, download the Registered Neighborhood Organization Policy.

Helpful links:

 

Additional information

In order to preserve and protect the integrity of Denver’s historical and architectural treasures, the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC), the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission (LDDRC) and city staff review exterior work, demolition or development on locally designated Denver landmarks or within the boundaries of the city’s designated historic districts. Design review ensures that proposed projects involving new construction or exterior alterations or additions to existing buildings preserve key historic features and are compatible with the character of designated historic buildings, sites and districts.

In conducting design review, LPC, LDDRC and landmark staff follow the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the treatment of historic properties and the applicable design guidelines to provide guidance in their review of proposed alterations. Once a project is reviewed and approved, Landmark Preservation staff issues a Certificate of Appropriateness, which can be presented as part of the zoning and building reviews that follow.

For FAQs on design review, visit our About Landmark Preservation page.

An overview of the design review process can be found in Chapter 1 of the Design Guidelines (PDF)

Download the Landmark Preservation Commission's Design Review Rules (PDF)

 
Contact Us

Landmark Preservation Office:
720-865-2709
landmark@denvergov.org