Engineering and Earthwork

On this page:


Floodplain Work

Any work in a FEMA or Jefferson County designated floodplain requires a Floodplain Permit. The details of the floodplain and proposed work will determine if the County will process the request as a Minor Floodplain Permit or a Major Floodplain Permit. A permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is required If wetlands are present.

Depending on the work within a floodplain, a floodplain study by a Professional Engineer licensed in Colorado may be required with the permit application. A Letter of Map Change through FEMA may also be required depending on the type of work.

Applications and Documents

Back to Top


Land Disturbance

Activities such as site grading, excavation, trail building, or road building may require a land disturbance permit. Land disturbance permits include Notice of Intent, Grading, and Natural Surface Trail Permits. If the area of disturbance is greater than one (1) acre you must also obtain a Construction Site Stormwater Permit from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).external_site_marker

The Do I Need a Land Disturbance Permit? Worksheet can help to determine the appropriate process for your project.

The required documents for each type of permit are on the back side of their respective application documents. Grading inspections are completed by the Transportation & Engineering division.

Grading Permit

A Grading Permit is a type of land disturbance permit needed for the following types of grading work:

  • The disturbance area exceeds one acre (43,560 square feet)
  • The disturbance area is equal to or exceeds a half acre (21,780 square feet) and any of the following apply:
    • NRCS K Factor (soil erodibility) is greater than or equal to .23
    • A USGS National Hydrography Dataset perennial/intermittent stream or Floodplain Overlay District is within 100’;
    • The disturbed area is within a Geologic Hazard Overlay District
  • The disturbance work needs relief from County requirements.

Notice of Intent

A Notice of Intent is a type of land disturbance permit needed for the following types of grading work:

  • Land disturbance associated with new start building permits for primary structures when a Grading Permit was not required.
    • Examples include a new home and driveway on a residential zoned property, or a new barn in an agricultural zoned property where the grading work is less than a half acre.

This Notice of Intent process shall only apply to permits that meet the regulatory requirements related to grading, drainage and circulation; otherwise, if any relief from standards is needed, a Grading Permit is required. Land disturbance work associated with an NOI must be in accordance with any lot grading, erosion and sediment control plans previously approved with a subdivision plat.

Natural Surface Trail Permit

A Natural Surface Trail Permit is required for all work involving the creation of natural surface trails, such as hiking or mountain biking trails.

Applications and Documents

Back to Top


Retaining Walls

  • Retaining walls less than three feet do not require any permits.
  • Walls over three feet must be designed by an engineer.
  • Retaining walls between three and 12 feet require a Miscellaneous Permit. 
  • Retaining walls over 12 feet require special approval through a Variance or Minor Variation request.

The application materials must include the following materials:

  • Construction plans, including proposed wall height and how it will vary along its length.
  • Elevations showing top (TOW) and bottom of wall (BOW) for critical points along each wall length.
  • Supporting calculations demonstrating an adequate factor of safety with respect to:
    • Bearing capacity
    • Overturning
    • Sliding
    • Internal stability, including surcharge loads due to sloping backfill, adjacent vehicles and structures

Tiered walls must be at least four feet away from each other horizontally, and six feet away from each other horizontally if either wall exceeds eight feet in height.

All grading and erosion control work must be at least seven feet from property lines and at least 25 feet from off-site occupied structures. Roads and driveways may be exempted if the applicant adequately demonstrate that grading will not adversely impact adjacent properties or structures.

Projects that require grading more than a half acre of land will likely trigger a review of the land disturbance/grading work through a Grading Permit or Notice of Intent.

Applications and Documents

Back to Top


Streets and Roads

The County regulates new public and private streets and roads, and driveways. Standards for these different types of throughways can be found in the Transportation Design and Construction Manual (PDF). Generally, throughways in the Mountains area of the County follow road standards, while the Plains area follows street standards.

Private throughway work is typically covered by a Notice of Intent or Grading Permit. Work in the Right-Of-Way requires a Right-Of-Way Use and Construction Permit from Transportation & Engineering (T&E). A License Agreement may be required by T&E in some instances.

Applications and Documents

Back to Top

  1. For the fastest service:
    Please contact us online.

    You can also make an appointment with Planning & Zoning staff.

    Office Hours:
    BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
    Monday - Thursday
    8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.