Site Plan Review - Boulder County Land Use Department


Site Plan Review
A Pre-application Conference is required prior to submitting each new Site
Plan Review application. If the proposed permit or development requires
Special Review, Limited Impact Special Review, Development Plan Review,
Historic District review, or Subdivision or PUD, Subdivision Exemption, or
Exemption Plat Review, the applicable review process shall substitute for the
site plan review process, but the SPR standards shall apply to the part of the
proposal requiring site plan review.
Site Plan Review Facts
Site Plan Review (SPR), Section 4-800 of the Boulder County Land Use Code, was
first adopted in 1993 in response to increased development in the mountains.
Soon thereafter, SPR was applied to the plains as well. In both areas, the impact
of development on natural resources and existing character of the surrounding
neighborhood have been issues raised by Boulder County citizens experiencing the
Boulder County
impact of new development. In particular, many of the remaining mountain lots that
Land Use Department
haven’t already been built on often have poor access and steep slopes that lead to
erosion problems or wildfire hazards. Plains development may have an impact on
agricultural lands and the rural character of open areas. The good news is that in many
cases, the impacts of new development can be minimized through careful site design.
Time and Effort
It is true that SPR adds time to the review process and it is also true some applicants
Site Plan
disagree with the outcome of the process. However, one only needs to compare the
impact of most pre-SPR development with post-SPR examples to see the benefit to the
county as a whole, and often for the landowner.
Limits of SPR
A misconception is that the County can prohibit building on a legal building lot through
Site Plan
the SPR process. The fact is that the County cannot prohibit building through SPR,
but only can condition what is built and how the construction will occur. The impacts
of proposed development are evaluated, including structure size, height, location,
compatibility with neighborhood, and site disturbance.
Professional Assistance
Boulder County does not 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.
When is Site Plan Review Required?
Site Plan Review is required in order to issue building permits for development on
any vacant parcels, for cumulative increases in floor area of more than 1,000 sq. ft.
(residential or nonresidential) over that which existed on the parcel as of 9/8/98, for
cumulative increases in residential floor area which results in a total residential floor
Land Use Department
area of a size greater than 125% of the median residential floor area for the defined
Courthouse Annex Building
neighborhood in which the subject parcel is located, and for changes in use unless the
2045 13th Street
change in use is to a residential use. SPR is also required for grading permits (except for
PO Box 471
grading as part of normal agricultural or mining practices), and floodplain development
Boulder, CO 80302
permits issued by the Transportation Department.
Planning Division:
SPR is also required for Telecommunications Facilities that are located on an existing
Phone: 303.441.3930
structure and meet the zoning districts height limit (otherwise a Special Use is required),
development in a Rural Community District, development within a Natural Land or
Natural Area or for New Structures or Additions to Existing Structures of any size on
properties with Conservation Easements, Wildlife Rehabilitation of more than 20 non-
O ce Hours:
domestic animals or with outdoor caging, Small Wind-Powered Energy Systems up to
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon., Wed., Thurs., Fri.
80 feet tall, and for Solar Energy Systems acting as a principal use if they disturb 5,000
10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday
square feet of land or less.
Form: SPR/01 • Rev. 05.27.16 • g:/publications/spr/SPR01SitePlanReview.pdf


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