News from Denver CPD that may impact building and development projects


Development news from Community Planning and Development (CPD)

In this issue, you will find:

  • Managing review times amid a rise in permit applications
  • Implementing Energize Denver requirements for existing buildings
  • What's on deck for the 2022 building code adoption process
  • We want to hear from you! Three projects looking for feedback in May
  • City staff and volunteers created “Soul Street on Clarkson” in Five Points
  • ICYMI: Recaps from our last newsletter

Coming out of the pandemic, building permit applications continue to increase

Here's what we're doing to manage review times

The ability to estimate permitting timelines is an important factor in managing your project and is why we recently launched a new review times dashboard, updated daily. Volumes today are much higher than they were pre-pandemic, and the city currently has a backlog of permit applications. As city staff continue working through the projects already in the queue, new projects will take longer than usual to complete.


Laura E. Aldrete, executive director, speaking to 9News about the issue

While we can’t limit the volume of projects coming in, we are working to implement several initiatives to help manage review times for our customers. 

  • We are actively hiring positions across the department from plan reviewers to inspectors to temporary workers and more. Job postings are available at Please share these with your networks.

  • We're also pursuing various initiatives dedicated to retaining current staff, many of whom have been consistently working overtime.

  • While hiring is ongoing, we've issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for qualified, private sector entities that can help provide plan review services. Firms must be able to ensure compliance with the 2018 series of ICC codes and the 2019 Denver Building and Fire Code. The RFP is available on

  • Last, we've also changed how we assign projects in order to reduce the impact of individual staff vacations or delays on customers. As a result, new projects will only be assigned a reviewer once one is available to work that project specifically.

The goal through all these efforts is to reduce the city’s backlog, provide improved customer service, and keep pace with permit demand. 


The bar chart on the left counts new residential and commercial building permit applications year-to-date as of May 12.

2017: 1,702

2018: 1,953

2019: 1,908

2020: 2,280

2021: 2,736

2022: 2,797

Data does not include zoning or trade permits.


Implementing Energize Denver requirements for existing buildings

The City and County of Denver is working aggressively to eliminate our use of fossil fuels and adopt clean energy sources that will help us avoid the worst impacts of climate change. In November 2021, City Council passed the Energize Denver Ordinance which contained recommendations from the Energize Denver Task Force.

These recommendations will:

  • Set building-specific energy use intensity (EUI) targets that achieve at least 30% total energy savings across all buildings by 2030,

  • Starting in 2023, provide resources and incentives to aid the buildings sector in making this transition, especially building serving under-resourced people, and

  • Starting in 2025, begin requiring building owners to partially electrify space and water heating as these systems are replaced. By using electric heat instead of gas heat, it will be possible to power these systems with renewable energy.

By taking these steps, we can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that come from buildings by 80% by the year 2040. Visit the Energize Denver Hub >>

Energize Denver Ordinance webinar

Do you have questions about the new Energize Denver performance and electrification requirements? Watch a webinar on the requirements for existing commercial and multifamily buildings. 

Sign up to participate in electrification pilot projects

The city will be rolling out heat pump incentives for multifamily and commercial buildings electrifying water heating equipment, furnaces, and rooftop units by early 2023. Fill out an application to learn more about the program and see if your building might qualify for incentives as one of our pilot projects. Learn more about the pilot program >>

What's on deck for the 2022 building code adoption process

What we've accomplished. Over the last few months, we've made great progress with the building code adoption process. We've held over two dozen code committee hearings and discussed hundreds of proposed amendments. 

What's coming up? Given the number of proposals received, we've scheduled a series of supplemental meetings for select code committees to discuss amendment proposals that we did not have time to get to during formal committee hearings. We've also scheduled a series of IECC working group meetings. IECC working groups are being held to allow committee members and subject matter experts more time to review and research amendment proposals. Proposals developed in the working groups will be brought back to the formal technical advisory committee at a future date for a vote. 

The final proposed Denver Building and Fire Code and Denver Green Code are expected to move through the legislative process this fall. If adopted by Denver City Council, the codes could become effective March 1, 2023.

Stay up-to-date. Visit the code adoption webpage for an overview of this code adoption process and to...

  • download and review all public code amendments submitted for consideration,
  • join code committee meetings (or watch replays),
  • access additional webinars,
  • and more.
Explore the code adoption
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We want to hear from you!

Three projects looking for feedback in May

Tell us your thoughts on the Advancing Equity in Rezoning project

Through the Advancing Equity in Rezoning project’s task force, a community meeting, and focus groups, community members have provided input about issues the project should address. We’ve heard about process improvements, such as updates to our public noticing system and making language throughout the process more accessible and understandable. We’ve heard about increasing clarity around how public feedback is used, and updating the review criteria the city uses to determine whether a rezoning project meets city goals. And we’ve heard about the desire to achieve more equitable outcomes, especially for underrepresented communities in Denver.

If you want to provide more feedback, we invite you to take the project survey by May 31. Survey responses will be used to help identify the issues the project should solve and the goals that will guide the project moving forward. Visit the project webpage for the latest updates >>

Take the Advancing Equity in Rezoning Survey

Tell us about your experience building Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

The ADUs in Denver project is looking at ways to make building ADUs easier through zoning changes. This project won’t rezone any properties. It will look at how ADUs are designed, how they fit in with different types of neighborhoods and block patterns, and other changes that can remove barriers to building them.

If you've built an ADU, or have considered building one, we want to hear from you by May 31. Visit the project webpage for the latest updates >>

Take the ADUs in Denver Survey

Landmark Preservation design guidelines update: Phase 1 draft released for public review

After receiving input from the community meeting we held in November, comments to our online survey, and comments from design review applicants, the Phase 1 draft of revised guidelines for landmark properties is available for review and comments through May 31.

The draft includes proposed changes to the guidelines focused on solar panels, retaining walls, and materials for use on additions, new construction, and accessory structures, as well as clarifications to guidelines associated with egress windows, landscaping, fences, lighting, and sheds. Visit the project webpage for the latest updates >>

Review and comment on the draft
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City staff and volunteers created “Soul Street on Clarkson” in Five Points

The Five Points neighborhood is ready for summer with a new outdoor dining and community gathering space. Clarkson St. between 26th and 28th (adjacent to Five Points Plaza) has been closed to cars and is sporting new street art, picnic tables and chairs, planters and more for Five Points neighbors, visitors, and business patrons, with additional activities and food service from Five Points Plaza-restaurants rolling out all summer long.

In partnership with the Five Points Business Improvement District (BID), city staff assembled furnishings and built out the space. Staff from Community Planning and Development, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Excise and Licenses provided funding support and design expertise to transform an under-utilized city street into a new community space. The space is operated and maintained by the BID.

The city is also working to develop a broader “Outdoor Places Program” to build off of the success of the temporary Outdoor Dining Program deployed during the pandemic. Further details on this new permanent program will be available in our June newsletter.

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Recaps from our last newsletter

Your resource for permitting and policy changes

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