Exceptions and Relief

The following processes allow for relief from standards in very limited cases, or special or temporary uses of a property when meeting specific criteria.

Regulations are fixed and definitive, but there may be situations where the regulations and the constraints of a property are not reconcilable. Projects that do not meet zoning requirements should revise their plans to comply with applicable regulations. If you cannot amend your proposal to meet requirements, you must provide legitimate justification as to why you cannot follow the Jefferson County Zoning Resolution.

With legitimate justification, you may choose to pursue one of the following processes for relief from regulations.

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Administrative Exceptions

Administrative Exceptions are designed to provide limited flexibility to zoning requirements under specific circumstances through an administrative process. Administrative Exceptions can grant relief from lot and building standards and allow some temporary uses and structures. Additionally, the Administrative Exception process is used to review reasonable accommodations for disabilities and approve less impactful home occupations.

Administrative Exceptions do not require public hearings. Final decisions to approve or deny Administrative Exception requests are made by the Director of Planning and Zoning.

Specifically, Administrative Exceptions can:

  • Grant up to 25% relief of setback requirements; or
  • Grant up to 25% relief of lot size requirements; or
  • Allow up to five additional feet in height for proposed structures; or;
  • Allow hair, nail or similar beauty salon or barber shop, mail order businesses and large in-home daycares as home occupations; or
  • Allow living in a recreational vehicle while building a new home (must have active building permit); or
  • Allow relief of any standard in the Zoning Resolution due to a reasonable accommodation of a disability

You will need to pursue a Variance if you require relief from more than one of these standards.

Applications and Documents;

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The Variance process is designed and intended to provide the minimum relief necessary to complete a project. This process, which includes a public hearing in front of the Board of Adjustment (BOA), can grant relief from zoning requirements, including setbacks and lot size. This process does not have limitations on the amount of relief that can be granted. However, it is the responsibility of the applicant to provide justification to support their request.

This justification must meet the criteria for a statutory hardship set by the State of Colorado. If you can prove a hardship, the Variance process can be used in numerous ways.

Please note, approval of a Variance request requires an affirmative vote by four out of five voting BOA members.

Examples of Variance requests include relief from the following standards:

  • Setback requirements
  • Lot size requirements
  • Maximum height requirements
  • Accessory square footage and accessory footprint limitations
  • Parking standards
  • Floodplain, land disturbance and mountain ground water standards

Applications and Documents

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Special Exceptions

The Special Exception process allows the Board of Adjustment (BOA) to approve or deny land uses that are not explicitly allowed by the underlying zone district. For example, some home businesses require Special Exception approval to operate. Short-term rentals are also approved through this process.

If an applicant wishes to apply for a Special Exception, there are specific criteria that must be met outlined in the Zoning Resolution.

Special Exceptions require a public hearing in front of the BOA. Please note, Special Exception approval requires an affirmative vote by four out of five voting BOA members.

Examples of Special Exception requests include:

  • Home businesses (Home Occupations) which do not meet the provisions of the Home Occupations section of the Zoning Resolution
  • Temporary buildings and temporary uses in any zone district when the provisions of the Administrative Exception Section for temporary buildings and uses cannot be met
  • The short-term rental of a single-family dwelling

Applications and Documents

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