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Development Review Guide

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Important New Development Plan Submittal Info

The City’s Development Review Center is experiencing high volumes of development review project submittals at this time.  In order to maintain efficient project reviews and provide accurate, timely responses to inquiries, please keep the following factors in mind when you plan your submittal:

  • Appointments are required for all submittals or resubmittals - call 970-416-2740 to schedule.
  • Only complete submittals are accepted. 
  • Submittals received Monday morning through Wednesday noon will be routed the same week. Submittals received after Wednesday noon will be routed the following week.


What is Development Review | Fort Collins Development Review | Who Should Use This Guide | Changes & Updates


Quick Start

The Development Review flowchart at, shows all the steps in our Development Review. Each color-coded chapter explains one step of the process in greater detail.What Is Development Review?

Across the country, development review is a core local government responsibility. As cities and towns grow and change, local government, usually headed up by a planning department and with the involvement of many other departments, reviews proposed developments to ensure they meet the needs of the community at large. These community-wide needs include the safety and welfare of citizens and high-quality, consistent design and construction of buildings and public infrastructure.

Fort Collins Development Review

With broad participation from citizens, local businesspeople and local politicians, the City of Fort Collins created a comprehensive plan called simply City Plan, which was adopted by City Council on March 27, 1997. City Plan is our community’s vision for its future growth. The goals and policies contained in City Plan align with the principles of New Urbanism and include, “compact land use patterns consisting of a primary, vital downtown and other supporting districts that serve as focal points and centers of activity, and a variety of pleasant residential neighborhoods and places linked by inviting streetscapes, walkways and open lands. The compact form of the city will contribute to the preservation of environmentally sensitive areas and rural lands, the efficient provision of public facilities and services, the encouragement of infill and redevelopment of existing urban areas planned for such upgrading, and the creation of a distinct urban ambience.”

From City Plan, Fort Collins’ Land Use Code (LUC) was created to establish regulations pertaining to development. Development Review exists in part to ensure each new development or piece of the puzzle is in alignment with our community’s vision for Fort Collins, as stated in City Plan and the LUC.

In addition, our community decided that development “pays its own way.” This means private-sector developers are designing and constructing many improvements which will become a part of the public infrastructure maintained by the City. So another purpose of Development Review is to ensure consistent and good quality public improvements.

Visit for a brief look back at planning in Fort Collins.

Who Should Use This Guide

The Development Review Guide (DRG) is an empowering resource for citizens, first-time or only-time developers and even seasoned developers and consultants. It will help you understand and navigate our Development Review process.

In the summer of 2006, City Council spearheaded a project called “Economic Barriers Outreach Program” to talk with the Fort Collins business community and identify what the City could do to remove barriers in our Development Review process and help businesses thrive. We heard:
  • "no one has ever explained the whole process to me;"
  • the City needs to "make the process more predictable", "improve communication" and "get away from a 'tribal knowledge' approach:" and
  • "it would be good for individuals to be able to go through the process on their own, even if it is their first time."

We hope this guide, along with staff planners, will play a significant role in making the process more predictable, timely, logical, accountable and customer-focused.

Development Review flowchart at, shows all the steps in our Development Review. Each color-coded chapter explains one step of the process in greater detail.

Changes and Updates

This online guide is intended to provide as much certainty and clarity as possible. Contents, policies and procedures are current as of the publication date but are subject to change. Any changes to the process or pertinent documents will be reflected in annual updates at the beginning of each calendar year.

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