Board of Adjustment

2023 Meeting Dates and Deadlines (PDF) 

The Board of Adjustment shall only approve a variance where, by reason of unusual narrowness, shallowness, or shape of a specific piece of property at the time of the enactment of the regulation, or by reason of unusual topographic conditions or other situation or condition of such piece of property, the strict application of the height and setback regulations of this Land Use Code would result in peculiar practical difficulties to, or undue hardship upon, the owner of such property, and the granting of relief from the strict application of this Land Use Code will not cause substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of the Pitkin County Comprehensive Plan and this Land Use Code.


Note:  The applicant may arrange to meet with the Zoning Officer on or before the application deadline date to determine the completeness of the application.  

All questions should be directed to County Planner, Joanna Schaffner at 920-5105 or Mac Benning at 429-3349.

Please submit one combined digital copy of your application including the following items to Board of Adjustment Application:

  1.  A copy of all relevant land use approvals. Though not required, we strongly suggest that all required land use approvals be obtained before submitting an application to the Board of Adjustment.
  2. A letter describing why a variance is necessary.  A hardship must be demonstrated for a variance to be granted.  Please refer to Section 2-40-110(b) of the Pitkin County Land Use Code (attached) for hardships within the Board’s purview (PDF).  If topography is claimed as a hardship, a certified topographic survey must be provided.  Solar charts (available at most bookstores) must be submitted for cases claiming solar hardship.  Be specific – if you are requesting a setback variance, state the distance from the affected lot line; if requesting a height variance, state by how much the height limit is to be exceeded, etc.  
  3. If the applicant is NOT the property owner, provide a letter signed by the owner stating that he/she is aware of, and has no objections to, the variance request. 
  4.  A copy of the current legal description of the property.  If in a subdivision, include the Lot, Block, and Filing.  Otherwise include the property’s metes and bounds description.  
  5. A 24” x 36” copy of a survey. Topography must be shown if claiming a topographic hardship.  
  6. A site plan showing:
    1.  If requesting a setback variance for a structure:  the entire structure, as it is to be located on the property, with specific and accurate dimensions to the property lines and right-of-ways.
    2. If requesting a variance for a driveway: the location of the driveway and associated regrading.  Include a profile of the driveway.
  7. A copy of all building elevations of the structure requiring a variance. 
  8. A copy of a vicinity/directional map, plus written directions so the property may be easily located.  An 8 1/2” x 11” hand-drawn map is acceptable.  Please indicate where the notification sign (see item #9-A) will be placed.
  9. Because Board of Adjustment meetings are Public Hearings, noticing requirements are subject to Section 2-20-100 (3) and (4) of the Land Use Code (PDF) (as amended by Ordinance 19-2009).  Please read these sections carefully.
    1. Subsection 3 explains the requirements for posting a public notice sign.  If a sign is not issued to you upon submission of the application, please request one from the Community Development Department, or you may provide your own sign subject to compliance with the requirements in this section.  The sign must be posted for no less than 15 days prior to the hearing date. 
    2. Subsection 4 (as amended by Ordinance 19-2009) explains how to notify the owners of properties within 300 feet of your subject site.  You are responsible for compliance with the requirements in this section.  The return address on envelopes mailed to owners of properties within 300 feet of the subject site must be: Community Development Department, 530 East Main Street, Ste. 205, Aspen, CO  81611, Attn:  Joanna S. Schaffner.  Do not use your return address.
  10. A list of property owners within 300 feet of the subject site and their mailing addresses.  This includes properties across the river, road, railroad, or any other physical divide, and also includes the Forest Service, BLM, Highway Department, Pitkin County, or any land owned by a public or private entity. 
  11. The affidavit must be completed, and then signed by a notary public.  Attach a picture of the sign posted on the property.  Upload the affidavit to the staff at the meeting to verify that the sign has been posted and the mailing completed as required.  Do not submit the affidavit with your application, you will receive a request to upload it after the application is accepted.


  1. A $648.00 fee (effective April 2008), will be requested after the submittal of the application and the intake has been deemed complete.  
  2. The plans submitted to the Board of Adjustment must accurately show the proposed development.   If substantial changes are made prior to permit submittal, the permit application may be rejected.
  3. Some subdivisions have their own setback requirements.  The Pitkin County Board of Adjustment may only grant variances for County setback requirements.  Any encroachment into a subdivision setback should be approved by the Homeowners’ Association or Architectural Review Committee.  While not required, you are strongly urged to submit to the Board of Adjustment an approval from your subdivision HOA or review committee.
  4. Photographs are not required but may be submitted to supplement your application.  
  5. The applicant or a representative for the applicant must attend the meeting.
  6. A resolution indicating the outcome of the request will be prepared following the meeting.  The resolution is the document that memorializes the Board’s decision and will be recorded in the County’s Clerk and Recorder’s Office.  A copy will be sent to the Applicant or their Representative.