Zoning – how zoning works


For general information about Denver’s zoning, it’s available on the internet at “DenverGov.Org”. Zoning requirements for other cities are very similar.

  1. Click on A-Z Departments and Services
  2. In A-Z, click on “zoning code” at the bottom of the alphabetical list.
  3. In the “Community Planning and Development” image that pops up, click on the “zoning” tab.
  4. In the drop down menu on the zoning tab, click on “Find Your Zoning”. When the image appears, you will see a map which you can enlarge. At the top of the map, there is a not very noticeable bar across the top which says “enter an address or intersection”. Enter your address and your zone and zoning information will pop up. Print this page or write it down.
  5. Then go back to the drop down menu on the zoning tab, click on “Denver Zoning Code”. When the image opens, you can see the whole code or any one of the articles. For now, click on “General Provisions”. This will give you general information about the idea behind the code, how it’s organized, and so on.


To keep it simple, we are creating an example house which is in one of the most common zoning sections. This is called an urban house and it’s located in article 5, on page 5.3-5. Even though your zone may not be listed in article 5, the other zones are similar enough so you can understand the principle by which all this is organized.


As you can see, the code is divided into sections according to neighborhood density. Find the zone corresponding to the one you wrote down in “find your zoning”. If you don’t find your zone on the page above, look at the table of contents and go to that section. You’ll find the chart for your zone which is analogous to the example on the page above and you can interpolate. This information is itemized below:

  1. Building height
  2. Bulk plane
  3. Minimum sizes and dimensions for lots in the various zones
  4. Setbacks from the front, back, and side property lines
  5. Land coverage
  6. Garages
  7. Accessory dwelling units ( ADU’s)
  8. Tandem houses

To learn more, click on this information, outlined in more detail, to the right.

As you can imagine, not everything is covered in this example. There are exceptions to the rules, specific ways of measurement, guidelines for zoning amendments, and so on.

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the above. I can usually answer an email within 24 hours. If you are in a hurry, call me at 303.831.4455.

Steve Culbertson