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Development Review Process#

The Development Review flowchart shows all the steps in our Development Review. Each color-coded chapter explains one step of the process in greater detail. You can also learn more about each step in the section below.

If you are looking for the applications and checklists for the processes below, please check out our APPLICATIONS page. If you cannot find the topic you are looking for, please check out our RESOURCES page or contact us at

View/Print Development Review Flowchart

Development Review Steps#

Click on the expandable steps below to learn more about the Development Review process.

The Land Use Code is the City of Fort Collins’s regulatory framework for implementing the community’s visions and goals presented in City Plan.

  • Each new development should align with the community vision, as presented in City Plan, subarea plans, and the Land Use Code.
  • The Land Use Code is aimed at consistent and high quality public improvements.

If you are thinking about developing within Fort Collins, start by understanding how your development idea fits into the community. Here are key questions to ask yourself before getting started.

  1. What zone district is the site located in? You can use our interactive online map, FCMaps, to determine which zone district your site is located in.
  2. Is your proposed use allowed in this zone district? Each zone district in the Land Use Code has a list of permitted uses in Article 4.
  3. Is there a subarea plan for this area? Does your proposal align with the vision for this area outlined in the subarea plan?
  4. What is the existing framework of blocks and streets and how does your proposal fit within that framework?

Having trouble answering these questions? Reach out to the planning staff at for assistance.

Your first meeting with the City's development review team will be at either a Conceptual Review or Preliminary Design Review. Conceptual and Preliminary Design Reviews are an opportunity for you to discuss requirements, standards and procedures with City staff that apply to your development proposal. Conceptual Reviews are designed for less complex proposals and are free of charge. Larger proposals usually opt for Preliminary Design Review which costs $500.

At Conceptual and Preliminary Design Review meetings, you will meet with Staff from various City departments, including Planning, Engineering, Light and Power, Stormwater, Water/Waste Water, Transportation Planning and Poudre Fire Authority. Staff provides the applicant with comments to assist in preparing the detailed formal project application. There is no approval or denial of development proposals associated with either review meeting. 

Get Started HERE

Check out current Conceptual and Preliminary Design Reviews HERE

Some proposals are required to hold a neighborhood meeting depending on the proposed uses and the zone district. Neighborhood meetings happen after the pre-submittal meeting but before you submit a formal application. Your city planner will inform you at your initial review whether a neighborhood meeting is required.

A neighborhood meeting is required for ALL projects that have the Planning and Zoning Board acting as the decision-maker. Applicants may also elect to hold additional neighborhood meetings to convey project changes or if they think it may help improve the project. 

Check out current Neighborhood Meetings HERE

You received information to help you prepare for your formal application at your pre-submittal meeting. You are ready to prepare and submit your formal application for development review once these issues have been addressed in full.

Your staff planner identified the type of development review application you need to submit at your pre-submittal meeting. New development review applications are categorized as follows:

  • Basic Development Review (BDR)
  • Project Development Plan (PDP)
  • Overall Development Plan (ODP)
  • Minor or Major Amendment
  • Annexation and Zoning
  • Rezoning

Get Started with your Development Review application HERE

Check out current Development Proposals HERE

City staff has 3 weeks to review your proposal after you submit a formal application. A staff review meeting is set to go over comments with all reviewing parties present. You are invited and encouraged to attend this staff review meeting. Staff is looking for issues you must address before the public hearing. Any staff comments that conflict with another reviewing party are resolved at the meeting. Complex issues may require an additional meeting to resolve.

The staff planner determines whether your proposal is ready for a public hearing after one round of staff review or if additional rounds of revisions would benefit the project prior to a public hearing. Most projects require at least one round of revisions with a second staff review meeting. Staff will provide you with a formal comment letter at the end of the week of your staff review meeting. Subsequent reviews take three weeks from the re-submittal date. Re-submittals are also scheduled by appointment only.

Check out current Development Proposals HERE

There are two types of public hearings for development review projects in Fort Collins. The existing zoning and proposed use determines which hearing a proposed project will go through. Article 4 of the Land Use Code lists permitted uses and hearing type by zone district. The same land use could go through different processes in different zone districts.

Check out upcoming hearings and recent decisions HERE

Final Plans are the same set of plans you took to the hearing and a full utility plan set. The goal of final plan review is to get your plans 100% complete and ready for recording. Staff focuses on plan details including the final plat document, utility details, grading, public improvements and specific plant specifications during final plan review. Staff also reviews your responses to any remaining comments that you received prior to the hearing.

City staff reviews final plans individually to determine if the designs meet applicable standards and codes, address any remaining comments, and resolve identified issues. The culmination of final review is a staff review meeting where we come together to share our comments with each other and with the applicant. Final review will identify issues you need to address before plans are filed. Any remaining conflicting comments are resolved at final review.

Your planner will determine whether the plans are ready for recording at the end of final plan review. Most will need at least one round of revision review. Your development review coordinator compiles all staff comments and redlines into a packet that will be emailed to you. Comments from the revised final plans are discussed at a subsequent staff review meeting. This step repeats until staff determines the plans are ready to be filed.

Your development review coordinator will let you know once all outstanding proposal issues are addressed and you are ready to print your final plans on mylar. Mylars must be signed by the property owners and any off-site owners identified during staff review as signatories in the proposal (for example, neighbors for an off-site easement, ditch company representatives or railroad representatives) before they are submitted for final processing. The owner’s certification along with any other required signatures and notarizations must be made with a black or dark blue indelible pen such as a Staedtler Lumocolor or fine-point Sharpie. City staff will not sign the mylars until the owner’s certification is complete (this step verifies the owner is aware of the development proposal and agrees to abide by the conditions and restrictions described on the plans).

Development Review 100% Complete#

A Development Construction Permit (DCP) is required for all public infrastructure improvements that, upon completion, the City will own or maintain. The DCP facilitates the transition from development review completion into project construction. Your staff engineer coordinates this step. You will submit paperwork, pay fees and attend a coordination meeting. You will also need to fill out a Project Quantities and Cost Estimate spreadsheet. This spreadsheet calculates two important numbers: the total public infrastructure cost for infrastructure security to be bonded or secured with a letter of credit (LOC) and the inspection fees, which you will pay with cash or check made out to the City of Fort Collins. A City Development Construction Inspector reviews and approves the spreadsheet. Your staff engineer invites the City's Chief Construction Inspector and representatives from all the public and private utilities involved in the project to a DCP meeting. You and/or your contractor and all the various utilities will ask questions about the upcoming construction and ensure both sides have a clear path forward. Your staff engineer issues your DCP after we receive the bond/LOC, inspection fees, and other fees or security required by other city agencies such as erosion control security. All public infrastructure is constructed and in place prior to the issuance of a building permit.

This step prepares your project for full building permit review by providing all necessary information about your plans to agencies reviewing your project.
• The City must accept all Mylars and final documents for signatures and filing;
• Final AutoCAD drawing of plat and easements must be reviewed and accepted;
• GIS steps: plat and easement information entered into City database using AutoCAD drawing;
• Assign addresses (if not assigned);
• Import land records data into City database;
• Data is reviewed for accuracy and made available for full building permit review;
• The Development Review Center notifies you when this step is complete and the project is ready for full building permit submittal.

Submittal requirements vary based on the type of project. Refer to Building Services for a list of requirements necessary for your project.

Building inspections are required as part of the building permit process. Inspections identify potential problems with construction. Inspectors will provide a knowledgeable and professional overview of the construction work and confirm all necessary changes are complete. This helps ensure the health, safety, and welfare of future occupants.

The inspections vary depending on the type of permit you obtain. Generally, inspections must be done within 180 days of receiving your permit. This ensures we can close out a permit that only requires a final inspection or to keep an existing permit active for those that require multiple inspections.

Over-the-counter permits only require a final inspection, except for basement finish permits which have multiple inspections. Permits for new construction, alteration, and remodel projects require multiple inspections, outlined on the permit.

Types of Review#

The table below provides general information about each type of review and frequently asked questions associated them. Each type of review will go through many if not all of the steps above OR it may be specific to one step in the process.

Type of Review

Description Decision Maker

Conceptual Review (CDR)

Conceptual review is an opportunity for an applicant to discuss requirements, standards and procedures that apply to their development proposal. Major problems can be identified and solved during conceptual review before a formal application is made. A conceptual review is mandatory for all overall development plans (ODP) and for project development plans (PDP) not subject to an overall development plan.

No Decision

(Not a formal application)

Preliminary Design Review (PDR)

Preliminary design review is an opportunity for an applicant to discuss requirements, standards, procedures, potential modifications of standards or variances that may be necessary for a project and to generally consider in greater detail the development proposal design which has been evaluated as a part of the conceptual review process. While the conceptual review process is a general consideration of the development proposal, preliminary design review is a consideration of the development proposal in greater detail. Problems of both a major and minor nature can be identified and solved during the preliminary design review before a formal application is made.

No Decision

(Not a formal application)

Basic Development Review (BDR)

The purpose of the Basic Development Review process is to establish a process for approval of a site specific development plan where the decision maker is the Development Review Manager. There is no public hearing as part of this process.

CDNS Director or Development Review Manager

Project Development Plan (PDP)

The project development plan shall contain a general description of the uses of land, the layout of landscaping, circulation, architectural elevations and buildings, and it shall include the project development plan and plat (when such plat is required pursuant to Section 3.3.1 of this Code). Approval of a project development plan does not establish any vested right to develop property in accordance with the plan.

Hearing Officer (Type 1) or Planning & Zoning Board (Type 2)

Final Plan (FDP)

The final plan is the site specific development plan which describes and establishes the type and intensity of use for a specific parcel or parcels of property. The final plan shall include the final subdivision plat (when such plat is required pursuant to Section 3.3.1 of this Code), and if required by this Code or otherwise determined by the Director to be relevant or necessary, the plan shall also include the development agreement and utility plan and shall require detailed engineering and design review and approval. Building permits may be issued by the Building and Zoning Director only pursuant to an approved final plan or other site specific development plan, subject to the provisions of Division 2.8.

CDNS Director or Development Review Manager

Overall Development Plan (ODP)

The purpose of the overall development plan is to establish general planning and development control parameters for projects that will be developed in phases with multiple submittals while allowing sufficient flexibility to permit detailed planning in subsequent submittals. Approval of an overall development plan does not establish any vested right to develop property in accordance with the plan.

Planning & Zoning Board (Type 2)

Minor Amendment

The purpose of a Minor Amendment is to modify an existing approved development plan. The application for an amendment shall be filed by, or on behalf of, the owner or owner's representative must file the application. City Staff may approve, approve with conditions or deny proposed changes without an additional public hearing or notice.

CDNS Director

Major Amendment

A Major Amendment is a process to make changes to an approved plan where there is deemed to be sufficient change of character related to the original approved plan. Section 2.2.10(B)

CDNS Director, Hearing Officer or Planning & Zoning Board

Site Plan Advisory Review (SPAR)

The Site Plan Advisory Review (SPAR) process requires the submittal and approval of a site development plan that describes the location, character and extent of improvements to parcels owned or operated by public entities. In addition, with respect to public and charter schools, the review also has as its purpose, as far as is feasible, that the proposed school facility conforms to the City's Comprehensive Plan.

Planning & Zoning Board

Planned Unit Development (PUD) Overlay Review

The purpose of the PUD Overlay is to provide an avenue for property owners with larger and more complex development projects to achieve flexibility in site design by means of customized uses, densities, and Land Use Code and non-Land Use Code development standards. In return for such flexibility, significant public benefits not available through traditional development procedures must be provided by the development. A PUD Master Plan is the written document associated with a PUD Overlay and the PUD Master Plan sets forth the general development plan and the customized uses, densities, and Land Use Code and non-Land Use Code development standards. An approved PUD Overlay overlays the PUD Master Plan entitlements and restrictions upon the underlying zone district requirements.

Planning & Zoning Board, unless the project is greater than 640 acres in size, in which case City Council is the decision-maker
Addition of Permitted Use (APU)

The APU process allows an applicant to propose a use that is not allowed in a zone district, but is allowed in other zone districts within the City. The applicant can pursue that use on that parcel if the Planning & Zoning Board or City Council approves the APU. APU's do not allow the use on other parcels within that zone district. This process exists because the Land Use Code cannot foresee all the future, potential uses that may locate within the City. This process allows applicants to pursue a use that the Land Use Code does not prescribe within the zone so long as they mitigate impacts. 

Planning & Zoning Board or City Council, depending on the zone district

Annexation is the permanent acquisition and incorporation of some territorial entity into another geo-political entity. No development application shall be accepted or approved as part of an annexation petition if the proposed development is located outside the Growth Management Area.

City Council with Planning & Zoning Board Recommendation

A rezone is an amendment to the City's existing Zoning Map. An amendment to the Zoning Map may be proposed by the Council, the Planning And Zoning Board, the Director or the owners of the property to be rezoned.

City Council with Planning & Zoning Board Recommendation