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General Design Review

Landmark Preservation reviews applications for projects on all Denver landmarks and historic district structures that may affect the exterior of the structure. 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.

Types of projects

Some alterations can be administratively reviewed and approved by Landmark Preservation staff. Other alterations will require review by the Landmark Preservation Commission or Lower Downtown Design Review Commission. If you are unsure whether your project requires design review, please contact Landmark Preservation staff.

External alterations that are not visible from public streets (public alleys excluded) may be approved administratively by Landmark Preservation staff if the alterations do not impact the form of the structure or significant architectural details, and clearly meet the design guidelines. The LPC and LDDRC also review any projects that are not visible from the public street that do not meet the design guidelines.

These projects include:

  • window and door replacements (non-historic windows)
  • new or altered porches
  • new decks and balconies not visible from street
  • new awnings and canopies
  • new rear dormers
  • alterations and additions to garages and secondary structures
  • site changes

Alterations that are visible from public streets (public alley excluded) require review by the Landmark Preservation Commission or Lower Downtown Design Review Commission. 

 


Is your project eligible for Landmark Quick Review?

Minor work that requires non-structural Quick Permits but that introduces little to no visible change to a historic structure or property may be subject to the Landmark Quick Review and Approval Process.

Applicants may submit the quick review application form (PDF) to Landmark Preservation (landmark@denvergov.org). Quick review applications are typically processed within one business day.

Quick review approvals may be issued by Landmark Preservation staff for like-for-like replacement of the following existing exterior features providing that the applicable design guidelines and standards are met:

  • rear yard decks and porches (must demonstrate no change in size, height, materials and ornament)
  • rear yard fences (no change in height, openness and materials)
  • 1-2 flat profile skylights
  • sheds not on foundations (less than 100 square feet)
  • exterior HVAC work (no change in geometry, demand or materials)
  •  simple exterior electrical or mechanical work that is not visible from the public street
  • reroofing (no change in materials, color, or installation pattern)

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 pre-application meeting

The size and scope of your project and its visibility from the street will determine how you proceed through the design review process. 

Projects that do NOT affect a facade visible from public streets (as defined above) may be approved administratively and, therefore, do not require a pre-application meeting. 

Projects that do affect a facade visible from public streets (as defined above) may require LPC/LDDRC review. for such projects, you must schedule a pre-application review meeting. To request a meeting, please submit the pre-application review form (PDF) and all required information to  landmark@denvergov.org.


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 design review must include the following information:

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

All projects must submit a dimensioned and scaled site plan including:

  • Street address
  • North arrow
  • Scale (plans must be drawn to a measurable scale)
  • Location of streets, sidewalks, alleys (any right-of-way or easement), property lines, and all existing structures
  • Location of existing and proposed fences, retaining walls, mechanical equipment, 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

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) and the Photo Page Example (PDF).

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

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/LDDRC presentation (if applicable) 

Administrative Review

For alterations affecting a façade that is not visible from street, as described above. 

A - Landmark staff will evaluate the completeness of your application. 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.

If the project does not clearly meet the design guidelines, the application may require review by the Landmark Preservation Commission or the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission.

LPC or LDDRC Review

Projects  affecting a façade visible from street may require Landmark Preservation Commission review for individual landmarks and properties in all historic districts except properties in the Lower Downtown Historic District, which are reviewed by the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission. The LPC and LDDRC also review any projects that do not clearly meet the design guidelines.

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 their 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 or 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 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.