All businesses in Denver are required to have a zoning use permit.
Before submitting a zoning application, use the DevelopDENVER map to find your zone district. Then check the zoning code to confirm that your proposed use is allowed in that zone district. Check the primary use (e.g., an "eating & drinking establishment") and any accessory uses, like an outdoor eating area or a drive-through. Also check the parking requirements to determine if you will have enough parking.
There are two timelines for obtaining zoning permits. You can apply for zoning permits first, which is a good option if you need an issued zoning permit in order to start a business license application. Alternatively, you can apply for zoning and building permits simultaneously. In this path, zoning and building reviews run concurrently.
Site Development Plans
The following project types must submit a site development plan (SDP) before applying for building permits:
- New commercial and multifamily construction
- Major additions to commercial and multifamily buildings
- Tenant-finish/remodels when there is a change of occupancy leading to new site impacts
During the SDP process, a city project coordinator will help ensure your project aligns with the zoning code as well as other regulations related to design, infrastructure, and safety. You will receive zoning permits during this stage. You do not need to apply for a zoning permit separately.
Site Development Plans
Includes building, health, wastewater, and fire reviews
Virtually all restaurant and commercial kitchen projects will need building permits and inspections. For major projects, this will include reviews by building (architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing), public health, sewer use and drainage, and fire disciplines. Smaller projects, like upgrading kitchen appliances or changing tables to booths, may only need a few of these reviews. Submitting the "building log" application in e-permits will start each of these reviews simultaneously, so please make sure to upload the plans and documentation required for each with your application.
How to Apply using E-permits
First-time e-permits users will need to create an online account. Once signed into e-permits, go to "Apply for a Permit" under "Development Services."
For zoning permits only (not Site Development Plans): When prompted to select a permit type, select "zoning permit."
For Site Development Plans: When prompted to select a permit type, select "concept plan."
For zoning and building permits: When prompted to select a permit type, select "building log."
- Note: If you apply for zoning and building permits simultaneously, you will also need to complete and upload both of these applications along with your other required documents:
Apply for permits online