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Design Review for New Construction (Infill)

 
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Landmark Preservation reviews applications for new construction (infill) in all Denver historic districts. Applications are reviewed for consistency with the appropriate design standards and guidelines. Please read the following instructions carefully to ensure timely design review of your project.

Before you begin . . .

Does your project involve a structure with commercial uses, three or more residential units or a mix of commercial and residential uses? If so, design review will be completed as part of the Site Development Plan Review process. Visit the Site Development Plan Review page for information on how to begin the process. Single-family and duplex projects may follow the steps below. 

Does your project involve demolition? If so, visit the Demolition and Certificate of Demolition Eligibility page for information on total demolition and permits.

Does your project involve a zone lot amendment? If so, visit the zone lot amendments page for more information.

Does the project encroach on a designated parkway setback? If so, you will need approval from Denver Parks and Recreation.


1 - Determine which design guidelines apply

Your location and type of project determines which design standards and guidelines you should follow. If you are unsure about whether your project is in a historic district, check the landmark and historic districts map.

In certain neighborhoods and historic districts, additional design guidelines may apply.

1 - Determine which design guidelines apply

Your location and type of project determines which design standards and guidelines you should follow. If you are unsure about whether your project is in a historic district, check the landmark and historic districts map.

In certain neighborhoods and historic districts, additional design guidelines may apply.


2 - Schedule your pre-review meetings

A - Pre-application meeting 

All projects involving new construction are subject to review by the Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) or the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission (LDDRC) through a two-step process. That process begins with a pre-application review meeting with Landmark Preservation staff. 

To request a meeting, please submit the pre-application review form (PDF) and all required information to Landmark Preservation staff via email (landmark@denvergov.org).

B - Registered neighborhood organization meeting (if applicable)

Projects in historic districts where an RNO has completed design review training must present infill proposals to the RNO before a complete application may be submitted for review by the LPC or LDDRC. Landmark staff will let you know if there is a qualifying RNO in place and, if so, make the referral at the time of your pre-application meeting.

For more information, download the Registered Neighborhood Organization Policy (PDF).


3 - Mass, form & context review (Infill design review, part 1)

Once you have met with Landmark Preservation staff about your project, you may proceed with the application process. 

Design review applications must adequately describe the project and provide sufficient information to evaluate the proposal. Documentation must clearly illustrate the existing conditions.

All applications for infill mass, form and context design review must be submitted by email to landmark@denvergov.org and must include the following information:

Please click each application element below for downloadable materials and additional information. To avoid delays, please only submit complete applications.

All projects must submit a dimensioned and scaled site plan (1" = 40' or larger, if possible). The site plan must include:

  • Mechanical equipment locations
  • Include spot elevations at existing grade. This is required to establish the base elevation, evaluate height within the historic context, and ensure the historic district's height limits are met.
  • Street address
  • North arrow
  • Scale 
  • Location of streets, sidewalks, alleys (any right-of-way or easement), property lines, and all existing structures
  • Location of proposed new construction
  • Location of fences, retaining walls, exterior stairways and ramps, driveways, etc.
  • Front setbacks of adjacent properties
  • Original grade elevation at intersection of side property lines and minimum setback
  • Spot grade elevation at rear corners of property
  • Primary street setbacks of adjacent properties (the distance from the front property line to the face of the enclosed area, not porch or awning)

sample site plan

All projects must submit interior floor plans, which must:

  • Be drawn to scale (1" = 40' or larger, if possible)
  • Include all levels/floors
  • Use simple room labels (bedroom, bathroom, etc.)
  • Not include furniture

Photographs of existing conditions showing proposed building site and surroundings are required and must be:

  • In color
  • Labeled with direction and orientation to the street
  • No smaller than 4"x6" in size (or between 1024 x 768 pixels and 1280 x 960 pixels)
  • Arranged on one or more sheets within the drawing set (PDF format)

For examples of acceptable photos and tips for taking good photos, download Landmark Standards: Photographs (PDF).

Worksheets for context, composition and components of proposed infill (link below):

  • Ground Plan Comparison provides footprint sizes and street/side setbacks for the immediate and adjacent block face(s).
  • Streetscape Drawings compare the size & dimensions of a building in elevation to other buildings on the same block face(s).
  • Compatibility Demonstration compares the proposed structure with existing historic structures in the area. This can be any contributing structure in the district boundary, not just adjacent structures.
  • Character-Defining Features is a detailed comparison of the proposal and the district’s Character defining features.

Download the Infill Guide (PDF) for all the above worksheets. 

Isometric drawings (3D) are required for key public/street-level views and at an average pedestrian height.

If the entire building mass is not evident by public-level views, additional aerial view isometric drawings are required.

Note: A physical model may be provided to complement, but not substitute for, isometric drawings.

Submit elevation drawings of each proposed façade that include the following:

  • Overall dimensions
  • Floor/ceiling heights
  • Window/door openings
  • Porches, awnings, and major protrusions or indentations
  • Street address
  • Façade direction 
  • Scale (at least 1” = 20’) 
  • Major dimensions 
  • Height of adjacent structures

Drawings should not include materials, siding or other details unless important to denote scale or to distinguish solid and void surfaces.

Please coordinate with staff during your pre-application to determine if any additional information is needed due to the unique circumstances of your project. 

 

4 - Staff review, revision and LPC or LDDRC presentation 

The Landmark Preservation Commission reviews projects on individual landmarks and properties in historic districts except properties in the Lower Downtown Historic District, which are reviewed by the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission.


5 - LPC/LDDRC Decision on mass, form and context

LPC/LDDRC review will result in approval, approval with conditions, continuance or denial. 

Projects that are approved or approved with conditions for mass, form and context may proceed with the second part of the design review process, design details, as long as conditions or comments are addressed in the design detail submittal.

Projects that are continued must provide additional information as requested by the LPC or LDDRC and return for approval. 

Projects that are denied must go before the LPC or LDDRC again with a revised submittal that addresses the LPC's or LDDRC’s comments. 


6 - Design detail review (Infill design review, part 2) 

The purpose of this step is to ensure that a building's materials and details are compatible with and relate to its historic context.  

All applications for infill design detail design review must be submitted by email to landmark@denvergov.org and must include the following information:

Please click the submittal elements for downloadable materials and additional information. To avoid delays, please only submit complete applications.

Include all aspects of the mass, form and context submittal, updated to include design details.  

Additional/updated drawings and explanatory text are required for every project.

The submittal must:

  • State how each mass, form, and context condition approved by the commission is met by the design detail submittal
  • Indicate the page/detail numbers showing where the condition is met. 

This is required to ensure that mass and scale conditions are met, prior to considering design details.

Provide additional information on the drawings about the materials, and include detailed dimensions.

Please submit:

  • Section drawings through typical walls and features.
  • Enlarged detail drawings of eaves, overhangs, porches, and other features.
  • Enlarged elevations and sections for each distinct window type and location, showing the full window in the wall assembly, including head, jamb, sill, muntins and other details/profile information.
  • Window and door schedule

Please key sections to larger elevations sheets and site plans to clarify location.

Detail drawings must be fully dimensioned and annotated.

Submit scaled landscape plans and elevations that include the following:

  • Curbs
  • Sidewalks
  • Utility locations
  • Elevations
  • Materials
  • Information on lighting
  • Information on hardscape and any structural elements introduced into the landscape

Provide all of the following:

  • Photos of samples/boards of all exterior materials with labels for each building/building component indicating material and finish.
  • Manufacturer cut sheets for each product.
  • Reference materials and numbers from samples/boards onto elevation sheets and site plans as needed to clarify which materials correlate to which building/building component.
  • For glass, provide visible transparency ratings of glass.

Please coordinate with staff prior to submitting your application for design detail review to determine if any additional information is needed due to the unique circumstances of your project. 

 

7 - Staff review, revision and LPC/LDDRC presentation for design details 

The process for submittal and staff review of the application before the LPC/LDDRC presentation follows the same schedule listed in step 4 above. 


8 - Additional review, if applicable

LPC/LDDRC review will result in approval, approval with conditions, continuance or denial.

Projects that are approved with conditions  must submit the requested adjustments to the final construction drawings to landmark staff before a certificate of appropriateness will be issued. 

Projects that are continued must provide additional information as requested by the LPC or LDDRC and must return to the LPC/LDDRC for approval.

Projects that are denied must go before the LPC/LDDRC again with a revised submittal that addresses the LPC's or LDDRC’s comments.


9 - Certificate of Appropriateness issued

Once the project has been approved by LPC/LDDRC, landmark staff will issue a certificate of appropriateness and stamp the drawings.

The certificate of appropriateness and stamped drawings must be included with plans and materials submitted to Development Services when applying for building or zoning permits. If drawings submitted for a building permit vary in any way from the stamped drawings issued by Landmark staff, the permit drawings will need to be revised or the Landmark stamped drawings will need to be revised. If drawings submitted for a building permit vary substantially from drawings approved by staff or LPC/LDDRC, the project may need to return to the LPC/LDDRC for approval. During the inspections process, the completed project must match the work shown on the Landmark-approved stamped drawings. 

Please coordinate with landmark staff on any changes.