Residents' Role in Development Review#
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Welcome to the Residents' Role page. Here you will find answers to commonly asked questions about development review and how you can play a role in the process.
Why Development Review?#
Development review is a central local government responsibility. As cities and towns grow and change, local governments must ensure that proposed developments meet the needs of the community at-large. These needs include:
- safety and welfare of residents
- high-quality, consistent design
- protection of environmental resources
- sufficient public infrastructure
Development review exists in part to ensure each new development is in aligned with our community’s vision for Fort Collins. Another purpose of development review is to ensure consistent and high quality projects and public improvements. For example, the City requires development to “pay its own way.” This means private-sector developers are designing and constructing many improvements, such as sewer lines and streets, which will become a part of the public infrastructure maintained by the City.
The City takes an integrated approach to the development review process. A development review team, comprised of City staff from numerous departments, reviews applications through a coordinated review process. This ensures development applications meet all of the City’s requirements.
What Policies Regulate Development Review?
The Development Review process is set by legal regulations described in multiple Codes. The language in the Codes guides staff and legislators in making decisions which support the mission, vision and values of the City of Fort Collins.
The Land Use Code contains regulations including the City’s procedural requirements, project types and requirements of each, general development standards, zone district purposes, permitted uses, specific development standards of each, and definitions of many of the terms used in the code. Other standards guiding development review can be found in the Municipal Code, the Larimer County Urban Area Street Standards, various subarea plans, and more.
All of the City’s regulatory codes were developed from the policies and principles in the City Plan, a comprehensive plan for Fort Collins developed from engagement with community members and best practices in municipal governance.
- Learn About the Development Review Process
The Development Review process can be complex and technical. It adheres strictly to laws in several regulatory Codes, including the Land Use Code and the Municipal Code. However, it also has direct impact on the lives of Fort Collins residents and is designed with ways to involve them in decision making whenever possible. While we don't expect everyone to become an expert in the Land Use Code, it may be important for you to learn more details about how the process works and what the guiding rules are. Informed residents have the tools to make more impact.
The Development Review Website contains tons of information to get started with, including:
- A step-by-step guide of the entire Development Review process
- A list of helpful resources
- A list of public commissions related to Development Review
- Special projects
- Codes and standards
- Information about the Development Review staff and their contact information
- Find Out What Development Proposals are Currently in Review
The Proposals page contains a complete list of all development that is currently being reviewed by City staff, as well as information on upcoming events where the public can engage:
- Conceptual/Preliminary Design Reviews
- Neighborhood Meetings
- Hearings and Decisions
- Minor Amendments
To search for development proposals and learn more about them, scroll to the "Development Proposals Under Review" section and search by address, name, project number, sign number or keyword. Each proposal entry includes a brief description, a link to the public records archive to view documents related to the submittal, and staff and applicant contact information.
*The Proposals page only includes proposals from the current year. For information on proposals from previous years, visit https://www.fcgov.com/developmentreview/proposals/archive#amendments-heading
- Find Documents Related to Development Proposals
All documents submitted by applicants for a development proposal and responses from City staff are public documents. They can be found in the City's Public Records Archive. These documents often include:
- Site plans
- Transportation Impact Studies
- Utilities Plans
- A narrative about the project from the applicants
- And much more...
Hint- when searching in the Archive, using the project's name or address may not work. The best way to search is by clicking "Project Number Search" and using the alpha-numerical project number. You can find these numbers in mailings sent by the City or on the Proposals page.
- Get Help From City Staff
If you find that this website doesn't fully answer your questions or give you the tools you need, City staff is always available to help. The first person to reach out to is the Neighborhood Development Liaison. This person is the public face of Development Review, and exists to support members of the public throughout the process by hosting neighborhood meetings, disseminating important information, providing customer service and collecting public input.
This Week in Development Review Newsletter#
Don't miss out on upcoming events! Subscribe to our newsletter to receive weekly information on development that may impact you.
Every week, there are new proposals going through the Development Review process at the City of Fort Collins, and every week the City hosts events for residents to get involved in them. The TWIDR email newsletter was created to help any member of the public learn more about Development Review and stay in the loop about what's going on in their City.
Flowchart and FAQs
8.5x14 | 2.5M
Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting Guide for Public Participation
2 pgs | 120K
Ways to Track Development Proposals
1 pg | 900K
Please share these handy tools showing all your opportunities to offer feedback and participate in development review with your neighbors.
Making a Public Comment to Decision Makers#
Anyone who has an opinion on development in Fort Collins can explain their stance in a public comment to the people who approve or deny development proposals (Such as the Planning and Zoning Commission). Decision makers often find input from the public to be compelling evidence in support or opposition to the proposal. Commenters are not required to live next door to proposed development, or hold citizenry within the City of Fort Collins to be heard.
How can I provide an effective comment?
Although the quantity of letters may indicate the extent interest, it is the relevance of the comments to the Land Use Code that will most affect a proposal's outcome.
- Be specific in providing input. In addition to sharing what you like or don't like, it's helpful to say why. For example, in addition to saying "I don't like that building", it is often helpful to say, "I don't like the color" or "I think it's too tall." Those more specific pieces of feedback are much easier to consider and respond to.
- Be constructive, and provide alternatives when possible. It is often helpful to talk about what you would like to see in a specific project in addition to what you are concerned about. For example, in addition to sharing concerns about the effect of projects on traffic in the neighborhood, you could add "Walking in my neighborhood is important to me. I would like to see safe sidewalks around this property." Or, in addition to sharing concerns about effects on your property values, you could add, "It is important to me that this matches with the look and feel of the surrounding neighborhood. I would like to see different colors and materials on the buildings."
- Stay plugged in. Neighborhood meetings are a great opportunity to provide early feedback, but projects often continue to evolve as they go through rounds of review with staff. All those plans are shared online, and staff is always available to go through those comments in depth. Comments made throughout the process are shared with the planners so they can consider them in their ongoing reviews.
Who will hear my comment?
There are three main decision-making bodies which have the ability to approve or deny a development proposal. Which proposals are heard by which decision makers is based off of characteristics such as the zone, the type of use proposed on the land, or the amount of public interest
- Type 1 Hearings: Proposals which are less impactful are heard by the Director of Community Development or their designee. Members of the public are able to attend these hearings virtually on Zoom, and can speak during the public comment portion of each agenda item. For those unwilling or unable to speak in-person, written comments can be submitted to email@example.com up to 24 hours before the hearing's start time.
- Type 2 Hearings: When more complex proposals are submitted, the decision to approve them is made by the Planning and Zoning Commission, a group of seven volunteers who are able to determine if development meets the requirements of the Land Use Code. Members of the public can comment in-person at City Hall, or virtually on Zoom. For those unwilling or unable to speak in-person, written comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org up to 24 hours before the hearing's start time.
- City Council Hearings: Occasionally, development proposals must be heard by the City Council, the seven-person elected legislative body of Fort Collins. Members of the public can comment in-person at City Hall, or virtually on Zoom. For those unwilling or unable to speak in-person, written comments can be submitted to email@example.com.