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Development Review Guide

Jump In with Your Eyes Open!

Understanding Zoning | Verify Uses | Identify Existing Features | Identify Missing Site Features | Requirement Options

Fort Collins Development Review ENSURES:

  • Each new development or piece of the puzzle is in alignment with our communitys vision, as stated in City Plan and the Land Use Code.
  • Consistent and good quality public improvements.

If you are thinking about developing within Fort Collins, start by understanding how your development idea fits into the community. Having answers to these questions will save you time, money and heartache later on in the process. You will have a good idea of what you are getting into. Here is a step-by-step way to do some preliminary analysis of your property and get a preview of what we will be reviewing during development review. Jump in with your eyes open!

Understand your zoning

Answer the following two questions:

  • Where will the project be located?
  • What uses are proposed?

Using FCMaps,locate the proposed development site. If the project is within city limits, identify the zone district in which it is located. If the property is within the Growth Management Area (GMA) and contiguous to but not within city limits, then your first step is to apply for City annexation and zoning. If the property is within the GMA but not contiguous with property in city limits, then the development review process will be administered by Larimer County's Planning and Building Services. The County will review the proposal, including sending a copy to the City's Development Review Center for a complementary review.

Verify what uses are allowed in your zone district

Go to the LUC's Article 4 and scroll down to the appropriate zone district to read about the purpose, permitted uses, land use standards and development standards in that district. Make sure the use(s) you are proposing are allowed in the zone district in which your property is located.

Any use not listed as a permitted use is deemed a prohibited use in that zone district. If you wish to propose a use that is not a permitted use, contact Development Review to see if it is possible to:

  • propose the addition of a new permitted use(s) to the zone district per LUC's Section 1.3.4, or
  • propose an amendment to the Land Use Code or a rezoning amendment to the Zoning Map per LUC's Division 2.8.

Once you have established that you are proposing uses which are allowed in the zone district, you have the minimum information necessary to schedule a conceptual review. If you want to prepare yourself further, and possibly shorten the development review process, consider the following questions about existing site features and prompts about development requirements. These will give you a pretty good idea of the issues you will address during the development review process. These are also the primary questions the review team will consider when commenting on your project at conceptual review.

Identify existing features that may affect development


1. Drainage and Floodplains - Which drainage basin is your property in? Is your property in a floodplain? A floodway? Visit stormwater for drainage basin and floodplain maps or for more information.
2. Utilities Locations - Are any changes to existing utility services needed for the proposed use(s)? What utility services exist on site? Call the Utility Notification Center of Colorado at 800-922-1987 for information on locating all existing underground utilities on your site. You can also call 8-1-1 from a land line telephone. Within three days of your call, utilities will be located on your site with colored spray paint.
3. Contact Individual Utility Providers - Electric, Water/Wastewater, Stormwater, Gas, Telephone, Cable.


4. Easements & Rights-of-Way - Are there any existing easements or rights-of-way on or adjacent to your property? Contact Technical Services at 970-221-6588 or go to Engineering's electronic document management system, eDocs.
5. Level of Service (LOS) - What transportation LOS is required? Refer to Multimodal Transportation Level of Service Manual.
6. Roads - Are there any roads planned thru or near the site on the Transportation Master Plan?
7. Transit Lines - Are there any transit lines near the site? Check out Mason Corridor.

Natural Resources

8. Natural Habitats or Features - Are there any natural habitats or features on the site? These may include waterways, wetlands, and certain wildlife habitats. If so, there may be federal, state, county or local regulations the project will have to comply with. These may include the preparation of an ecological characterization study, preserving a buffer area around the feature, and/or special treatment of the area during construction. Refer to Section 3.4.1 and 3.2.1 of the Land Use Code or contact a City Environmental Planner for more information.
9. Trees - Are there any significant trees on the site? If so, they will need to be protected. In some cases significant trees may need to be cut down and if so, mitigation such as adding additional trees than what is required or upsizing required trees will be required. Refer to Section 3.2.1 of the Land Use Code or contact the City Forester for more information.

Historic Preservation

10. Older Structures - Is any structure on the project site over 50 years old AND/OR is the property near any landmarked historic structures? Refer to Section 3.4.7 of the Land Use Code or contact a Preservation Planner for more information.


11. Infill - Is the property within the infill area as described in the definition in the LUC?
12. Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Overlay Zone - Is the property within the (TOD)?

Learn what features need to be incorporated in the development of the site


13. What new utilities will need to be brought to the site? - How do they service the uses proposed? Contact individual utilities: Electric, Water/Wastewater, Stormwater, Gas, Telephone, Cable.


14. Does the proposal adhere to the Land Use Code? - All development proposals must meet the standards of the LUC.
15. Is the property on a state highway?
16. Where will the project take its access?

Building Services

17. Does the proposal adhere to local building codes?
18. Accessibility

Emergency Services

19. IFC
20. How will Poudre Fire Authority (PFA) serve the site in case of a fire?
21. How tall is the building? Buildings above certain height must be sprinklered.
22. How will emergency services (police, ambulance) serve the site?


23. How will site connect with existing or future transit lines?
24. Will proposed roads, sidewalks and paths meet transportation Level of Service (LOS)?
25. Will the project need to accomodate a bus shelter?

Planning & Zoning

26. All development proposals must meet the standards of the LUC.
27. How will access and parking be provided?
28. Are proper setbacks maintained from property lines?
29. How will you provide a connecting walkway?
30. Is the project meeting the height massing and materials requirements?
31. Is the project compatible with its neighbors and will it meet our building standards?
32. Will the lighting be unobtrusive but adequate to provide safety on the site?
33. Is adequate landscaping provided?
34. Is any buffering needed from an incompatible use or feature?
35. Any affordable housing planned?
36. Will you incorporate sustainability practices into the development?
37. How will your project accomodate multimodal travel (peds, vehicles, bikes, wheelchairs, strollers)?
38. Is the project within a neighborhood sign district?

What to do if you cannot meet a requirement

There are several circumstances in which the standards of the Land Use Code, Larimer County Urban Area Streetscape Standards (LCUASS) and/or the Transportation Master Plan cannot be met. Built into these codes are processes to allow for flexibility in meeting the standards of the various regulatory documents that govern development in Fort Collins in cases where physical constraint or hardship prevents the ability to meet the code or in cases where a more creative solution meets the intent of the standards better than a code-complaint solution.

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