Site Plan Review, outlined in Article 4-800 of the Boulder County Land Use Code, is an administrative review procedure for certain proposed developments which are considered likely to significantly impact important ecosystems, agricultural lands, surrounding land uses and neighborhoods, and infrastructure needs and demands, and which may be unsafe due to natural hazards.
The Site Plan Review process for proposed new development will allow any significant adverse impacts on the environment, agricultural lands, surrounding land uses and neighborhoods, and infrastructure to be identified, evaluated, and avoided or acceptably mitigated through the imposition of reasonable conditions.
Applicant(s) must first contact the Land Use Department to make an appointment for a Land Use Review Pre-Application Conference with a Planner to discuss the proposal. To schedule a pre-application conference, please call 303-441-3930 or email using the Ask a Planner form.
Site Plan Review Requirements
Site Plan Review (SPR) is required in order to issue residential or nonresidential building permits for:
- Any development requiring a building permit on vacant parcels
- Cumulative increases in floor area of more than 1,000 sq ft over that which existed on the parcel as of 9/8/98
- Cumulative increases in residential floor area which results in a total residential floor area of a size greater than 125% of the median residential floor area for the defined neighborhood in which the subject parcel is located
- A change of use of a parcel
- Telecommunications Facilities which are located on an existing structure and meet the zoning districts height limit, otherwise a Special Use is required
- All development within a Natural Landmark or Natural Area, in a Rural Community District, or on Conservation Easements
- Wildlife Rehabilitation of more than 20 non-domestic animals or with outdoor caging
- Except for grading as part of normal agricultural or mining practices, SPR is also required for grading permits and Boulder County access permits and floodplain development permits issued by the Transportation Department.
Boulder County does not usually require that a professional architect, planner, attorney, engineer, or other agent represent you during the SPR process. We often receive plans drawn up by the property owner with supporting information gathered without professional assistance. However, the complexity of a small percentage of projects may require professional submittals. Some applicants find that they can complete the majority of the application unassisted but need help with a few technical aspects, such as calculating the cubic yards of earth that will be moved.
Site Plan Review is Not Required if the Permit is Only Needed For:
- Earthwork that is part of normal agriculture of mining practices (outside of floodplains)
- Restoration of a building that has been damaged or destroyed by fire, explosion, flood, tornado, riot, act of the public enemy, or accident of any kind (if replacement is applied for within one year of the event)
- Construction work that does not change the use or increase the existing floor area by more than 1,000 square feet, cumulatively over that which existed as of September 9, 1998, unless the resulting residential floor area is greater than 125% of the median for the defined neighborhood
- Construction of an accessory structure which is less than 1,000 square feet (unless the cumulative threshold above is exceeded, or if the property is in a Natural Landmark, Natural Area, Associated 250′ buffer, or if there is a Conservation Easement on the property)
- Developments is subdivisions approved after February 22, 1994 (unless the subdivision approval otherwise requires SPR)
- Development in Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Districts to the extent it covers the SPR criteria in its plan