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Policies and Regulations#

The Historic Preservation Division, in partnership with the Historic Preservation Commission, implements the City's vision for preserving historic resources and enforces historic preservation ordinances in the City's Municipal and Land Use Codes. The Division also assists with the development of new policies, regulations, and guidelines for historic preservation throughout the city. The basis for decision-making regarding historic resources in Fort Collins are the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Treatment of Historic Properties (the Standards), the national standards for historic preservation maintained by the National Park Service. The City of Fort Collins has adopted the Standards in its code, and the review processes, standards, and guidelines below have been based on those Standards.

Historic Resources Preservation Program Plan#

The City of Fort Collins uses the Historic Resources Preservation Program Plan (1994) to guide its decision making, project planning, and community engagement. Adopted by City Council, the Preservation Program Plan outlines the vision for what the City hopes to achieve regarding historic resources. 


Municipal Code Chapter 14

Chapter 14 of the Municipal Code establishes procedural and substantive rules for governing the historic resources of the City of Fort Collins. In this chapter, you will find:

  • The procedure for designating a building or historic district as a City of Fort Collins Landmark.
  • The procedure for demolishing and/or altering a Fort Collins Landmark, or other designated historic resources in the city.
  • The procedure for new construction on designated historic sites or historic districts in the city.

Land Use Code 5.8.1 - Historic, Landmark Preservation, and Cultural Resources

Land Use Code Article 5 Division 5, Historic (p. 5-53, PDF p. 57) establishes procedural and substantive rules for obtaining the necessary approval to develop land and construct buildings and structures. This applies to new developments, and modifications/alterations to non-single-family residential buildings that are eligible for Fort Collins Landmark status.

Design Standards and Guidelines#

Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties

As noted above, the City of Fort Collins has adopted the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties (the Standards) as the basis for decision-making regarding historic resources within city limits. As a national standard maintained by the National Park Service, the Standards provide for consistency in methods for reviewing projects that affect historic resources based on their unique history and character. 

City of Fort Collins Design Standards and Guidelines

The City of Fort Collins has interpreted the federal Standards in several documents for specific areas of the city that contain high concentrations of historic resources. They are meant to provide more specific guidance relevant to that area (often a designated historic district, or eligible to become one) based on the area's unique character and history. 

Treatment Guidelines

Secretary of the Interior's Standards & Guidelines for Treatment

An extensive set of advice from the National Park Service on how to take care of historic properties. Includes variable treatments based on the NPS' four treatment strategies: rehabilitation, preservation, restoration, & reconstruction. The City has adopted these Standards and Guidelines for reviewing most projects affecting historic properties.

View Standards

Design Standards

Old Town Design Standards

These Standards apply to the Old Town Landmark Historic District designated by City Council and must be met for all developments within the district.

Note: the City Landmark District and the National Register District have separate boundaries - these Standards apply to those within the Landmark District only, although they may be informative for developments elsewhere in the downtown area.

View Standards

River Guidelines

River Downtown Redevelopment Zone District Design Guidelines

These Guidelines recommend design and treatment approaches for rehabilitations and new construction in the River Downtown Redevelopment Zone on the north end of Old Town.

View Guidelines

Design Guidelines

Old Town Neighborhoods Design Guidelines

Guidelines for exterior preservation and alteration of existing buildings, and for new construction in the predominantly residential areas east and west of Fort Collins' historic downtown.

Note: These are general guidelines for all properties in older (generally pre-1950) areas of town. If you own a designated historic property, please contact staff and/or review the Secretary of the Interior's Standards linked above.

View Guidelines

Fort Collins Plans & Historic Preservation#

Plans allow local governments to determine the patterns of growth and development in the city into the future in order to maximize public benefit, which often includes consideration of historic resources. These plans include the City's comprehensive plan, its adopted Historic Preservation Program Plan, and sub-area plans for sections of the city, many of which contain historic resources. Below is a selection of the City's planning documents that include consideration of historic, or potentially historic, resources. 

Fort Collins City Plan

The City Plan is Fort Collins' comprehensive master plan and provides the overall direction for the city's operations and development for the future.

Read the Plan

Downtown Plan

The City's vision for development and maintenance in the downtown for the next 10-20 years (adopted 2017).

Read the Plan

Old Town Neighborhoods Plan

The City plan for the primarily residential areas immediately surrounding the historic downtown core of Fort Collins.

Read the Plan

Climate Action Plan

The City's Climate Action Plan (2015) includes consideration of historic buildings.

Read the Plan