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Development Review Guide

 Contact Information

Important New Development Plan Submittal Info

An updated Development Review Guide is coming! Preview a draft of the new guide and check back soon as more information, resources, and contact information are added each step of the development review process.


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

Handy flowchart for applicants. Get a printable flowchart.


Quick Start

The development review flowchart for applicants 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  

In 1997, with broad participation from citizens, local businesspeople and local politicians, the City of Fort Collins created a comprehensive plan called simply City Plan. Today, City Plan is updated every five years and the most recent City Council adoption was February 15, 2011. 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.

Check out our timeline 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 through our development review.

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 and help businesses thrive. We heard:

  • "no one has ever explained the whole process to me;"
  • the City needs to "make the reviews 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 review 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 our review more predictable, timely, logical, accountable and customer-focused.

Development review flowchart for applicants shows all the steps in our review. Each color-coded chapter explains one step of the review 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 review or pertinent documents will be reflected in annual updates at the beginning of each calendar year.

Next step: jump in!

Helpful Resources 

Reduce Costs with Utilities’ Rebates and Incentives

The Integrated Design Assistance Program (IDAP) provides design and construction incentives, technical support and more. Application to the program early in the schematic design is critical. Learn more at

Projects past schematic design are still eligible for rebates through Efficiency Works-Business. Learn more at

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