Denver's Preservation Ordinance

Click for:  Basics on Denver's Preservation Ordinance

Denver’s preservation ordinance has been an effective tool for more than 45 years, helping to protect and promote historic places in our community and preserve the vital character that makes Denver unique and vibrant. Preservation in Denver is also an economic success story- driving revitalization efforts from LoDo to Uptown and our core residential neighborhoods.

The city’s preservation ordinance (Chapter 30 DRMC) enables Denver’s Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) to recommend structures and districts for designation by the Denver City Council. The ordinance also sets forth the criteria for determining which structures or districts are eligible for designation. Unlike the National Register of Historic Places or the ordinances used in most cities, Denver’s ordinance requires a high benchmark by insisting that a structure or district meet criteria in two out of three categories (instead of just one). These categories include history, geography and architecture. Additionally, a structure must be at least thirty years old or have extraordinary significance to be considered.

The process used to designate a structure or district under the local ordinance is much like the processes used in other land use decisions and includes many opportunities for public input. While the community can submit a nomination for designation, in the form of an application, this is just the beginning of the process, which includes:

1) Review by Planning Department staff and the LPC to determine if the application is complete and meets the criteria
2) A public hearing before the LPC on the merits of the application and recommendation to council if warranted
3) Denver Planning Board review of the application with particular attention to existing city plans
4) Review by Council’s land use/neighborhood committee and determination of whether the full Council will consider the matter
5) First reading and second reading with a public hearing before City Council
6) City Council decision to designate or not weighing all factors and impacts

Demolition Review is also part of Chapter 30: Denver's Landmark Ordinance.  Read more about demolition review and the Certificate of Non-Historic Status process here.