Demolition/Alteration Review and Appeals
Why A Review?
The historic review process is designed to help prevent the loss of Fort Collins' significant historic resources and to help preserve our city's special character. The review is required when a permit is sought for exterior changes to any building or structure 50 years or older. While a part of the review involves evaluating the building's potential for recognition as a Fort Collins Landmark, the review does not designate a property as a Landmark; instead, it identifies the relevant codes and processes the proposed changes would require. The review also provides an opportunity for citizens to comment on change in their community and for owners to learn about the substantial financial incentives available for eligible historic resources. The code provisions regulating the historic review process are contained in Section 14-72 of the Fort Collins Municipal Code.
How Long Will This Take?
The initial review (Steps 1 & 2) takes no longer than two weeks. Relatively few projects require a Final Hearing with the Landmark Preservation Commission (Step 4), but if needed, the Final Hearing has a minimum 30 days' public posting/notice requirement.
Step 1: How Do I Get Started?
You will need to provide the following, via email (Y2J1bWdhcm5lckBmY2dvdi5jb20=); by mail, addressed to Cassandra Bumgarner, Historic Preservation Division, City of Fort Collins, P.O. Box 580, Fort Collins, Colorado, 80525; or dropped off at the Development Review Counter (281 North College Avenue):
- Submit a Request for Historic Review form, signed by either the property owner or authorized owner's agent. Please include the property address and your contact information.
- Provide a narrative explaining the proposed work, or drawings, sketches, or plans.
- Provide labeled photographs (see photo requirements)
- Your property - the exterior of all sides of all buildings and structures - take as many as needed to really show the condition and character of the building(s), and please label each with a caption (e.g. "north side of garage").
- Adjacent properties - only the fronts of the buildings - for context, with labeled to identify their location (e.g. "100 Main St").
Step 2: What Happens Next?
The review begins with an evaluation of the extent of the proposed work and effect that the work could have on your building's historic character, which is assessed as either "major" or "minor." This evaluation is completed by the Chair of the Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) and the Director of Community Development and Neighborhood Services (CDNS). If the Chair and Director determine that only "minor" alterations will be involved, you are finished with the historic review process.
If it is determined that "major" exterior alterations will take place (or if the proposed work is unspecified or unknown), then your property is also evaluated for its potential to qualify for future recognition as a Fort Collins Landmark. To make this determination, the decision makers use current and historical photos, historic documentation (including any previous historic surveys and determinations of eligibility), and information on the history of the building and its occupants. Your property will fall into one of these three categories of Fort Collins Landmark eligibility:
- Not Eligible Your building or structure has limited historical or architectural significance, or has endured numerous exterior changes, or both. If it is Not Eligible, then, following the posting (and assuming no appeal), you are finished with this process.
- Contributing Your building or structure retains enough architectural integrity and historic character to contribute to a group of similar resources (a district), but is not typically eligible for landmark designation on its own. If your building is Contributing, then, following the posting (and assuming no appeal), you are finished with this process.
- Individually Eligible Your building or structure has significance and has substantially retained its architectural integrity. The property may have had some alterations, but these do not compromise its historic significance. You will need to meet further requirements, discussed below.
The Chair's and Director's determinations of the eligibility of the property and of the effect of the proposed work take no longer than two weeks to complete. The property is then posted for fourteen days to inform the public that a review has occurred, and to allow for any appeals of either or both of the determinations to be filed.
Unless changed on appeal, the determination that the proposed work is "major," and/or the determination of the building's eligibility remain in effect for five years.
Step 3: What Happens If My Property Is Individually Eligible?
If the CDNS Director and LPC Chair determine that the proposed alterations are major and that your property is individually eligible for Landmark recognition, then with approval from both the owner and the LPC Chair, the application may be forwarded to a Design Subcommittee of the Landmark Preservation Commission. Otherwise, the application proceeds to a public hearing of the LPC.
Design Subcommittee: This is an opportunity for you to meet with Landmark Preservation Commission members to discuss design alternatives. The goal is to identify a design or a solution that meets the codes, and that is acceptable to all parties of the Design Subcommittee. If the new plans are agreed upon by all, then the new plans are approved, and you are finished with the Historic Review. If a mutually acceptable solution is not successfully reached, then your application proceeds to a public hearing.
Step 4: The Public Hearing
The Landmark Preservation Commission conducts a public hearing to provide the opportunity for citizen comments, to confirm that the requirements for documentation of the property and for public notification have been met, and to hear and consider all relevant information. All Demolition/Alteration Review items will be put on the consent agenda. The LPC can then either approve the consent agenda or pull the application to approve with conditions or it may postpone the application for up to 45 days, during which time it may recommend that City Council consider protecting the property through landmark designation.
The public hearing has specific requirements, which must be met before the public hearing is scheduled:
- Complete plans, fully approved by all other departments;
- A Colorado Cultural Resource Survey Architectural Inventory Form, completed by a Commission-approved professional. This form can be found at www.historycolorado.org - look for form 1403.
- A $250 fee
- Notice mailed by the City to every property within 800' of your structure (fee of .75 cents for each notice mailed - contact staff to begin this process and determine total amount owed)
- Detailed contextual elevations of how the property would look after the proposed work, showing adjacent properties.
- A Plan of Protection, if the work might cause damage to other historic resources.
Once all the required information has been submitted, a minimum of 30 days is required for public notification before the hearing can take place.
Either or both of the determinations made by the LPC Chair and CDNS Director, or made by the Design Review Subcommittee, may be appealed to the LPC by any citizen of Fort Collins, by filing an appeal with the CDNS Director within 14 days of the date of the decision(s). The process is described in Municipal Code Section 14-72(e). All final decision of the LPC may also be appealed to the City Council. It is important to be aware that no new information may be considered by Council, so be sure to provide any relevant information at the LPC public hearing.