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Design Review for Signage

Landmark Preservation reviews applications for signage on all Denver landmarks and historic district structures, as well as comprehensive sign plans.

Before you begin . . .

The following signage is not allowed on individual landmarks or in Denver historic districts:

  • Vinyl signs except as window signs affixed to window glass
  • Plastic signs
  • Internally illuminated signs.

For more information about appropriate materials and illumination types, please review the design guidelines in Step 1.


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 - Determine whether you need a comprehensive sign plan

The Denver Zoning Code requires a comprehensive sign plan for projects involving multi-tenant buildings with proposed projecting signs located in a Downtown (D-) zone. Comprehensive sign plans are also required for buildings proposing upper-story wall signs in the Lower Downtown Historic District.

NOTE: If you are submitting a comprehensive sign plan, a pre-application meeting is required. At this meeting, staff will clarify the submittal requirements for your proposal. To request a pre-application meeting, complete the comprehensive sign plan application form (PDF) and email it along with all required information to Landmark Preservation staff at planningservices@denvergov.org.

For more information on the comprehensive sign plan process, visit the Signs page on the Development Services website.


3 - Collect submittal materials

Design review applications must adequately describe the project and provide sufficient information to evaluate the proposal. Documentation must clearly illustrate the existing conditions as well as any proposed alteration(s).

All applications for signage must include the following information:

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

Photographs of existing conditions showing proposed signage location(s) 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) and the Photo Page Example (PDF).

Dimmensioned and scaled drawings or photo simulations must be no larger than 11" x 17" in size and must include the following:

  • Depictions of ALL proposed signage (including ground, window, wall-mounted, projecting, awning and all other types of signs) with copy, illumination and other details 
  • Method of attachment for all signs and the total number of sign attachments
  • Building elevation
  • Street address
  • Façade direction
  • Scale
  • Major dimensions
  • Proposed sign materials
  • Clear labeling on all proposed work

In addition to the above, lighted sign projects must also include:

  • Daytime AND night time depictions of all lighted signs 
  • Fixture and lamp type, size, location, materials and finish, and power source, as well as in lumens and lighting intensity, light source and color temperature in degrees Kelvin (i.e. 3000 ºK).

On the application form, please identify and describe all proposed sign materials for each proposed sign. Provide photos of material samples or cut sheets.

Required when signs are proposed on multiple building elevations, for multiple tenants in one building or for signage involving multiple buildings.

Provide a dimensioned and scaled site plan including:

  • Address
  • North arrow
  • Scale
  • Location of streets, sidewalks, alleys (any right-of-way or easement), property lines, and existing structures
  • Location of existing and proposed signs 
  • Sign dimensions from zone lot lines, height dimensions, and all other relevant information
  • 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 adn 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)

Submit Your Application

Complete the required application and submit it, along with any supporting materials, by email to landmark@denvergov.org.  Your submission should include two attachments:

  • PDF with the completed form ("yourname-app.pdf") 
  • PDF that combines all supporting materials ("yourname-app-materials.pdf")

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.


4 - Staff review, revision and LPC or LDDRC presentation (if applicable)

Administrative Review

For signage projects that meet the design guidelines and do not involve any of the following:

  • comprehensive sign plans
  • major-tenant signs
  • projecting signs in the Lower Downtown Historic District

A - Staff will evaluate the completeness of your application and perform a preliminary design guideline evaluation within a few days. If necessary, staff will provide comments or request revisions.
B – If an application is found to be complete and meets the design guidelines, Landmark staff will issue an approval within a few days. 

LPC or LDDRC Review

  • Comprehensive sign plans
  • Major-tenant signs
  • Sign projects that do not meet the design guidelines 
  • Projecting signs in the Lower Downtown Historic District that meet an approved comprehensive sign plan must be reviewed by the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission

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.


5 - Certificate of Appropriateness issued

Once the project has been approved, 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 the 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.

 
sign in historic district