If you have development questions about a property or properties within unincorporated Pitkin County related to the Pitkin County land use code, land use process, or zone district requirements please contact Planner of the Day (POD) at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-429-6108 or 970-920-5526.
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Yard Setbacks are based on Zone District and lot size. Use Maps and More to find a property’s zone district. Refer to Table 5-1.A-D (Dimensional Standards Tables) and Sec. 5-20-40 (Measurement of Yard Setbacks) of the PCLUC.
Road Setbacks apply to properties along certain roads as defined in Chapter 11:
Arterial Highways: Highway 82 – West of Aspen to County Line and Brush Creek Road.
Major Roads: Highway 82 east of Aspen to the County line; Castle Creek Road; Maroon Creek Road; McLain Flats Road (from the Slaughter House Bridge to Highway 82 across the Smith Bridge); Highway 133; and Owl Creek Road.
Collector Streets: Woody Creek Road, Lower Red Mountain Road (up to and including intersection with Hunter Creek Road); Lower River Road; River Road; Snowmass Creek Road; and Capitol Creek Road.
Refer to Table 5-1.A-D (Dimensional Standards Tables, Sec. 5-20-30 (Measurement of Road Setbacks).
The Front Yard is the streetside or the access side. Lot Line, Front is defined in Chapter 11 as follows:
“LOT LINE, FRONT means the property boundary line dividing a lot from the street. If no street, or more than one street, abuts the lot, then the front lot line means the property boundary line from which road access is obtained.”
Building Height is dependent on Zone District and type of structure. Use Maps and More to find a property’s zone district.
Building Height limits for Principal, Accessory, and Agricultural structures can be found in 5-1.A-D (Dimensional Standards Tables), and Section 5-20-60 (Measurement of Building Height). Building Height may be further restricted through Subdivision or other Land Use Approval.
Gross Floor Area is defined in Section 5-20-80, as follows:
“Gross floor area is calculated by adding areas included in the measurement of floor area, pursuant to Sec. 5-20-70, and the following exemptions from floor area: below-grade space, garages and carports, and ANSI compliant residences pursuant to Sec. 5-20-70(g)(1 and 2) and (k). Gross floor area measurement excludes agricultural buildings as specified in Sec. 5- 20-70(j) and other floor area types exempt from the calculation of floor area pursuant to Sec. 5-20-70(a-e).”
Final Maximum Floor Area is defined in Chapter 11, as follows:
“Final Maximum Floor Area means the largest amount of gross floor area that may be constructed on the lot or parcel pursuant to Table 5-1. GMQS allocations shall not be granted if floor area will exceed the final maximum floor area. TDRs may not be utilized to increase floor area beyond the final maximum floor area.”
Use Maps and More to find a property’s zone district. Zone District information is found in Chapter 3, Permitted Uses are found in Chapter 4, and Dimensional Requirements are found in Chapter 5.
Permitted uses are based on zone district. Use Maps and More to find a property’s zone district.
Refer to Sec. 4-20 Table 4-1 (Permitted Use Table) to look up uses for each zone district. Uses are listed as Allowed (A), Special Review (S) or Master Plan (M). If a cell is blank, the use is prohibited in that zone district.
Table 4-1 also includes references to Use Specific Standards for certain uses; those provisions can also be found in Chapter 4.
Community Development fees, including land use fees, are adopted by BOCC Ordinance No. 012-2016.
Directions on how setup a Pre-Application Conference Request with a Planner: Look at step 4. Planning Pre-Application Conference Request directions in the document for guidance.
When the Applicant has done their due diligence in collecting all relevant information about a property/properties, and/or has briefly spoken with a Planner for guidance, they will want to request a meeting for a Pre-Application Conference Request. In order to request a Pre-App meeting with a Planner an Applicant will need to setup a user account (individual or company account) in Pitkin County Community Development’s SAGES system.
Once you have logged in, under the header "Planning and Zoning" select the "Planning Pre-Application Conference Request". This will provide staff with the necessary background information to allow for a more productive conference. Once you have submitted the form, a planner will contact you to request additional information and/or to schedule a meeting.
A Caretaker Dwelling Unit (CDU) is a separate dwelling unit that is accessory to a principal dwelling or other principal use on the same property. A CDU is deed restricted to occupancy by qualified residents, as defined in the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority Guidelines, or occupancy by immediate family, defined as “a person related by blood or marriage who is a first cousin (or closer relative) and his or her children.”
CDU must be listed as an allowed or special review use in the zone district. Refer to Sec. 4-20 Table 4-1.
CDU restrictions are found in Sec. 4-30-50(e) and 6-30-40(c). Restrictions include, but are not limited to:
Maximum of 700 (lots or parcels < 30,000 sq. ft.) or 1,000 (lots or parcels > 30,000 sq. ft.) net livable square feet
The floor area of a CDU is included in the total allowed floor area for the lot or parcel.
A CDU is not required to be rented, but if rented, it must be for a term of not less than 6 months.
Agricultural Building means any building or structure used for agricultural purposes, including but not limited to barns, hay and equipment storage buildings, greenhouses, loafing sheds, corrals, and agricultural well structures. Agricultural buildings shall be detached from residential structures. An agricultural building is not a place where agricultural products are processed, treated or packaged.
5-20-70(j) provides floor area exemptions for certain agricultural buildings, subject to specific limitations.
Non-Conforming Structure means any building or structure that was established pursuant to the zoning and building laws in effect at the time of its development, but that is no longer in compliance with the regulations imposed by this Land Use Code.
Non-Conforming Use means any use of land, building or structure that was established pursuant to the zoning and building laws in effect at the time of its development, but which use is no longer permitted under the regulations imposed by this Land Use Code for the zone district in which it is located.
Non-Conforming Uses and Non-Conforming Structures are regulated pursuant Chapter 9 of the PCLUC.
Vested Property Right is defined as “the right to undertake and complete the development and use of property under the terms and conditions of a site specific development plan, as set forth in C.R.S. 24-68-101 et. seq.”
Only certain approvals are considered Site Specific Development Plans that result in a vested property right. Refer to Sec. 2-20-170(b).
The standard vested property right is three (3) years.
A vested property right may be extended or reinstated. Refer to Sec. 2-20-170(d).
Most development in Pitkin County is approved as single family development. A home can be rented out as long as it continues to function as a single family residence. That is to say, individual rooms cannot be rented out to individual parties as short term rentals.
In some zone districts, you may camp on your own property pursuant to Section 4-30-50(d) of the PCLUC, which allows up to 15 consecutive days and no more than thirty days in any 6 month period. You may not use a camper as a permanent residence.
A TDR, or Transferable Development Right, is a development right that may be transferred from a “Sending Site” to lands that are designated as suitable for development (“Receiver Site”). A detailed summary of the TDR Program is available here:
A list of TDR Certificates that have been issued is available here:
This list includes information on TDR conveyances and the consideration paid, and whether and where a TDR has been extinguished.
TDR Sending and Receiving sites are included in Pitkin Maps & More
Directions on how to search documents in Pitkin County Maps&More: Look at step 1. Maps&More directions in the document for guidance.
There are two ways to search a parcel in Maps & More, but I will provide the easier way:
Click “I Agree” Select the “I want to…” blue button, at the top left corner, and choose the option "Go To" in the drop down. The best way to search is either by: Parcel ID# (XXXX-XXX-XX-XXX no dashes), Address, or Owner (Last name). Choose which you want to search by and click “Next.” This will take you into the parcel, selected in red. Look at the left area of Maps & More and find the “Show Map Layers” blue link and click it. You will want to select the boxes: “Parcel Overlay” then “Base Overlay” then “Planning and Zoning” then “Land Use Records.” Click on the area in red, this should show the records on the parcel you are searching for information on. It will show 1 of 2 records, if you selected the “Land Use Records.” 1 of 2 is where you can obtain Laserfiche records.
There is another way to look up Laserfiche records which will be mentioned below. 1 of 2 shows you where you can view Laserfiche documents. If there is one document only, it will provide you only that document. If there are more than one document, it will show up in a list. If you want to view the one document in Laserfiche you can follow the steps in Laserfiche provided below. 2 of 2 shows the owner name, address, location (in Pitkin County or not), and Assessor Account: another name for Reception Number RXXXXXX (R007340). Note, if the location doesn’t say Pitkin County then the property you may want to verify the information with Pitkin County ComDev staff. If you click on the Assessor Account Number blue link it will take you to the Pitkin County Assessor information. The Assessor Account/Reception Number can be used for searching documents for the parcel in Clerk and Recorder’s website as well. You can look up the zone district in Maps & More, if you scroll down on the left side, where you selected the “Land Use Records” and select “Zone District Labels,” this should show you the zone district the property is located in. At this point, you may want to look up what the permitted uses are for the zone district the property is located in. You can find that information in Pitkin County Land Use Code (LUC) Chapter 4 Table 4-1. Look for your zone district in the Table (for example, RS-30). If there is an "A" that means it’s allowed. An “S” means the permitted use has a special review process through planning. If there is nothing in the space, that means the permitted use is actually prohibited. For example, a Single Family Dwelling Unit in the RS-20 & RS-30 zone district in Table 4-1 is an “A” Allowed permitted use.
Also search for documents relevant to a property on Laserfiche and Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s.
To do a Records Request please do the following:
1. Log onto: www.pitkincounty.com or https://pitkincounty.com/454/Online-Search.
2. Click the “Planning/Zoning/Building” button
3. Click the “Archived Records” button
4. Click “Please click here to submit a CORA Records Request” at the top of the page.
Once a Records Request is submitted, everything for the property/parcel (except interior plans which only the owner can view) will be provided. If the owner is an LLC, you must supply a Statement of Authority from the LLC.
FYI: you can view/search all the archived records online (except interior plans) if you follow steps 1 to 3 above, but instead of clicking “CORA Records Request” click “Search Documents by Address.”
The best and easiest way to search is by first having the property’s Parcel ID (XXXX-XXX-XX-XXX, 12 digits no dashes) to search as the address and name of the owner searches don’t always work as well. Then change the “TYPE of Document” from “Board of Adjustments” to “All.”
Directions on how to search documents in Pitkin County Laserfiche records: Look at step 2. Laserfiche records directions in the document for guidance.
Laserfiche provides documents from 1977 to the present, if not you can do a documents request. The best way to search documents in Laserfiche is by: Parcel ID# (XXXX-XXX-XX-XXX, 12 digits no dashes), Address, or Owner (Last name). Select the “Search documents by address” blue link. Input either the Owner (Last name), Street Address, or Parcel ID#. Find the “Type of Document” and next to it is a drop down, you will see “Board of Adjustments” is the default, select “All.” This should give you documents that are relevant to the property. The Parcel ID# is usually provided in the document name. Note, sometimes the parcel is cross-referenced in other documents as well. Please ensure the documents are relevant to the property/parcel ID# for the property you are searching for, if you are using them for supporting documents.
Also search for documents relevant to a property on Maps&More and Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s.
Directions on how to search documents in Pitkin County Clerk & Recorder’s: Look at step 3. Clerk and Recorder’s directions in the document for guidance.
From the Maps & More the Assessor Account/Reception Number RXXXXXX (R007340) can be used to search for more documents. Once logged into the Clerk and Recorder’s website select the “Accept” button. Go to the area to the top left area “What would you like to do today?” Click the "Search Public Records" link underneath and select it. At this point enter in the Reception Number. Push the “Search” next to the magnifying glass to the right. Your records should show up. You can also search by Book - Page (Bk and Pg). Sometimes in Laserfiche there are Administrative Decisions, Hearing Officer Resolutions, BOCC Resolutions or even maps that reference a Book and Page Number. found in the Laserfiche documents. Insert those numbers in the Book - Page search.
Also search for documents relevant to a property on Maps&More and Laserfiche records.