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Use Table and Standards Update


Latest News

On Oct. 29, City Council adopted Ordinance 8337 to update the Use Tables to be more consistent with the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP) for zoning districts within the federally designated Opportunity Zone (O.Z.) (Census Tract 122.03). The focus of these changes has been to follow BVCP goals of reducing non-residential capacity through restricting office, incentivizing residential in appropriate locations (preferably permanently affordable housing) and protecting and creating more opportunities for retail. While the changes reference the O.Z., the changes would apply to the respective zones city wide. 

The changes re-designate certain uses as “Limited Uses” that would be one specific standard that could be verified through building permit and would reclassify some uses as conditional or Use Review uses. Most of the limited uses are existing regulations that have been restructured to be limited uses. The most substantive change relates to office uses in the Business Zones (BT, BR and BMS) (termed L17) where up to 20,000 square feet of office use is permitted by-right, but over that amount would require a Use Review with a specific criterion requiring it be part of a mixed-use development. There is also an option for building up to 40,000 square feet on the site as a conditional use (C) if permanently affordable housing is included in the development or if the proposal is part of a mixed use development. The Oct. 29 memo and ordinances can be found online here. Video content of the council meeting is available to view online here.

Relatedly, City Council also adopted Ordinance 8358 that creates an O.Z. overlay district that would prohibit demolition of attached dwelling units in federal Census Tract 122.03 for the period the tract is a qualified O.Z. Ordinance 8358 also repeals the development moratorium ordinance that was adopted in late 2018 by council. Visit the Opportunity Zone program webpage for additional information.

The adopted ordinances go into effect 30 days from Oct. 29, 2019. 


In 2018 the Planning Board identified Use Tables, and associated code revisions, as a priority item for Land Use Code updates in 2018. The preliminary goal of the revisions include:

  • Simplify the Use Table and streamline the regulations where possible, making the Use Standards & Table more understandable and legible.
  • Create more predictability and certainty in Chapter 9-6 Use Standards of the Land Use Code .
  • Align the Use Table and permitted uses with the BVCP goals, policies and land use designations.
  • Identify any community-desired land use gaps in the Use Standards &Table, and better enable the desired land uses in the identified neighborhoods as well as in commercial and industrial districts.

The Planning Board has since appointed a subcommittee comprised of three Planning Board members, David Ensign (subcommittee Chair), Bryan Bowen, and Crystal Gray, who will guide the project and make recommendations on potential changes to the Use Table and associated standards of the Land Use Code. You can review the initial subcommittee meeting notes. pdf

The project is in the initial scoping phase, and will seek to bring the Use Table & Standards (Chapter 9-6 Use Standards, B.R.C. 1981) into greater alignment with the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP) policies and the city’s priorities, to better enable desired development outcomes throughout the city and to more effectively support the goals and outcomes of the BVCP.

On Feb. 11 an Open House was held. Review the handout. pdf

On Dec. 6 City Council discussed the Use Table and Standards project. You can review the  City Council memo .

On Nov. 15 Planning Board discussed the project. You can watch the meeting and read the memo. pdf

Community engagement will be ongoing throughout the process to receive new ideas and address use related issues in the code. Stay tuned to this webpage for upcoming outreach events.


How does the Use Table work?

The City of Boulder consist of a variety of Zoning Districts with regulations regarding the allowed uses within each Zoning District. For example, Residential Zones may allow only residential uses of land (such as houses and apartments), but Mixed-Use Zones may allow commercial and retail uses as well (such as coffee shops and offices).

Each specific Zoning District has corresponding uses of land that are generally either Allowed, Conditionally allowed, require a Use Review, or are Prohibited (additional degrees of allowance may exist, such as uses allowed at specific locations or on ground floors).

This use and allowance information is then tabulated into the Use Table ( Table 6-1, B.R.C. 1981 ) that displays the uses for each Zoning District. The Table quickly displays the uses that are allowed in each Zoning District.

What are Land Uses?

Uses of land as may be specified in the Land Use Code. Examples of uses includes single-family residential, multi-family residential, restaurants, offices, and manufacturing.

What are some examples of potential changes?

Possibly allowing community appropriate uses such as coffee shops, convenience retail, grocery stores, office, residential, child care and civic uses, within walking distance of where we live, work, recreate.

How could this affect me or my property?

The project is in the initial planning stage. Therefore, it is unknown how potential changes that are yet-to-be-determined may or may not affect a given property. Depending on recommendations and public input, potential changes may change the types and degree of allowed uses in a given Zoning District.  Conversely, it may not affect the uses in a given Zoning District at all. Any legally existing use may continue to be legally maintained and operated as prescribed by the Land Use Code. 

What is the process and how can I engage?

Engagement activities will kick-off in early 2019 where community members will be able to share their feedback by participating in events and online. Community feedback will be presented to City Council and will help inform recommendations from city staff. 

Who can I contact for more information?

For questions on the project please contact Andrew Collins at [email protected] 


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