Design Guidelines Update

The City and County of Denver recently updated the design guidelines used to evaluate building projects for local landmarks and properties within the boundaries of designated historic districts. The guidelines help ensure that each proposed project preserves key historic features and is compatible with the character of designated historic buildings, sites and districts. 

Final guidelines
Following an intensive public outreach process, Landmark Preservation planners released the final draft of the guidelines, which reflected comments from more than 200 historic property owners, stakeholders and neighborhood groups. The draft was officially adopted by Denver's Landmark Preservation Commission on Tuesday, Aug. 5, and is posted chapter-by-chapter below. It includes a summary of the character-defining features for eight of the city's designated historic districts. (Character defining features for other historic districts are forthcoming.) A copy of the adopted guidelines is also available for review in person at the Records Counter on the 2nd floor of the Webb Municipal Building, 201 W. Colfax Ave.

The new guidelines are effective as of October 1, 2014. If you plan on submitting a project for design review, please keep in mind that all submissions are now subject to the new guidelines. For more information, visit the Design Review page.

To download the Denver Design Guidelines document in its entirety, click here. See below for chapter-by-chapter listing.

Project Background
Written in 1995, the previous guidelines were difficult to navigate, did not have many illustrations and did not reflect recent advances in building and construction, including energy-efficient technology, such as solar panels. The updated guidelines outline a “how to” approach and provide easy-to-follow charts and graphs so that property owners and design professionals can more easily navigate through the design review and permitting process.

Previous Meetings

  • Denver Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation, Zoning and Planning Committee, August 25, 2013
  • Landmark Preservation Commission presentation, Nov. 19, 2013
  • Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods Historic Preservation Committee, December 2, 2013
  •  Meeting with Larimer and Associates, January 10, 2014
  •  Meetings with Architect Stakeholders Groups, January 29, 2014
  • Landmark Preservation Commission presentation, February 4, 2014 
    Presentation (PDF)
  • Denver Metro Association of Realtors presentation, February 25, 2014, 10:00 a.m.
  •  Community Workshop, March 26, 2014 (East High School)
    Agenda (PDF)
  •  Landmark Preservation Commission presentation, April 1, 2014 
  •  Staff office hours
    Blair Caldwell Library, June 14, 2014
    Webb Municipal Building, June 17, 18, 24 and 25
  •   Landmark Preservation Commission final adoption, August 5, 2014