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Before You Apply

Before You Apply

Before you apply for a building permit, you first need to determine:

  • if your property is a:
    • multifamily or commercial structure; or
    • single-family dwelling, duplex or townhome;
  • what additional information you need to know about your property;
  • if you need to hire a contractor; and
  • if you need an allocation.

Know your property

Use the Maps and Property Information to get the following details regarding your property.

Zoning district

The zoning district that your property is located in determines restrictions for building on your lot, such as the maximum height, minimum setbacks, and allowed solar shading. Once you have determined which zoning district your property is located in using the tools above, you can visit the City of Boulder's Land Use Regulations for more information about restrictions that may impact your property.

Previous reviews and approvals

Many properties in the City of Boulder have had previous reviews and approvals by the Planning Department. These reviews may have significant impacts on your redevelopment plans. Before doing any design work, we strongly encourage you to determine if there are existing reviews and approvals that apply to your project. Visit or call a project specialist in the Planning & Development Center for more information about your property.

Land survey information

For projects ranging from small accessory structures and additions to new construction, it is necessary to obtain accurate survey information to determine the boundaries of your lot. Use the Land Survey Information Handout for assistance in understanding the various survey products.


Any construction within the 100-year floodplain area requires a floodplain development permit. The applicant must determine whether their property is in the floodplain, and if it is, which flood zone. This should be determined before doing any design work. New building construction, substantial improvements and substantial damage must satisfy all flood protection regulations. For residential properties, this means that the floor must be at least two feet above flood elevations.

To apply, fill out the Floodplain Development Permit Application form and bring it to the Planning & Development Services Center, 1739 Broadway, third floor. For more about floodplain mapping and additional information, go to the Floodplain Development page.


Learn more about Wetland and Stream Basics, and the city's Stream, Wetland and Water Body Protection Ordinance. You can also find Evaluation Summaries for Individual Wetlands on or near your property by following these steps:

  • Obtain the Wetland Number on the regulatory map of the property.
  • Check Wetland.
  • Place cursor on the wetland (green area on the map) and the number of the wetland will appear in the left column.
  • Use that number to find the functional evaluation.

Potential mass movement hazard (steep slope)

Any property located within the "Potential Mass Movement Hazard" area of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan - Geological Development Constraints Map (Pendelton Map) is subject to additional submittal requirements at the time of building permit application. This includes a soils report and a grading/drainage plan prepared by a Colorado licensed, professional engineer.

Historic buildings and districts

The City of Boulder has 10 local historic districts and over 175 individual landmarks, totaling over 1,300 designated properties. The most well known historic districts include the Downtown Historic District, Chautauqua, and Mapleton Hill, and individual landmarks range from early mining cottages to mid-century modern houses and civic buildings. Exterior changes to designated properties, including roofing and fences, requires review from the historic preservation program through a Landmark Alteration Certificate. 

Additionally, demolition permit review by the historic preservation program is required for all non-designated buildings over 50 years old to determine whether the building may be eligible for landmark designation.  

For assistance with any of the above information, visit the Planning & Development Services Center at 1739 Broadway or visit Historic Preservation Home Page.

Legal Descriptions

Other information required by Boulder County
Legal Descriptions, including lot, block, subdivision, section, township and range, are required on all permit applications. This information can be found on your property tax assessment statement. To obtain this information, go to the Boulder County Assessor's website or call 303-441-3530.


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