Community Development COVID-19 Operations

Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, we are temporarily changing how we provide our services. Please read the Full Statement here.

We have developed guidelines for temporary outdoor expansion of businesses under state and county public health guidelines.
Please read those guidelines here
See individual statements for Building, Code Compliance, Engineering and Planning

 

Any violation of the regulations contained in the Larimer County Land Use Code.  Common violations include: 

  • when and if a home occupation is allowed
  • when and if a short-term vacation rental is allowed
  • excessive junk and debris
  • the use of RVs
  • when and if “tiny houses” are allowed
  • the number of horses and pet animals allowed on a parcel
  • when and if multiple dwellings are allowed on a parcel
  • whether a particular use is allowed in a certain zoning district
  • the location and usage of signs, etc. 

Some of these issues are complicated and often vary by situation.   Please use the links provided below for a general description of some of these issues.  You may contact the Planning Department’s Planner on Call (POC) at 970-498-7679 or by email to ask questions regarding your specific situation.  You may also call 970-498-7683 and ask for the Code Compliance staff person on call.   

If there is a violation of the Land Use Code, the Code Compliance staff member will notify the Planning Department and have the owner/tenant seek approval for the use that is not currently allowed.   This can sometimes take several months to accomplish. 

Home occupations are considered an accessory use and are intended to allow property owners the full use of their property while maintaining the integrity and character of the neighborhood.  All home occupations must follow certain requirements.   Home Occupations Handout.pdf

In general, short term rental is not allowed unless the use has received approval from the Planning Department.  The increased popularity of vacation rental sites such as VRBO, AirBnB, Home Away, etc., has brought this issue to the forefront of many Planning Departments across the country.  In unincorporated Larimer County, a dwelling cannot be rented for less than 31 days.  Depending on the zoning district, an owner may seek approval for this use via a Special Review process through the Planning Department.   Please note, if the property is located in the Estes Valley Plan Area, please contact the Estes Park Code Compliance Department for their regulations.

The term “tiny house” usually means one of two things:  1) an RV/trailer/house on wheels, or 2) a small house on a foundation, whether prefabricated (manufactured/modular) or built on site.   A “tiny house on wheels” is considered a Recreational Vehicle (RV) and is regulated by the Land Use Code instead of the Building Codes.  There are restrictions on where and when they can be lived in.  They are not considered permanent homes and cannot be occupied year-round.  An RV (including a “tiny house on wheels”) can be used as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel or seasonal use.  An RV can either have its own motor power or be mounted on or towed by another vehicle, including camping trailers, fifth wheel trailers, motor homes, travel trailers and truck campers.  Other uses of an RV include seasonal worker housing and a temporary dwelling during construction.    Tiny Houses Handout.doc

A small house on a foundation is required to meet the regulations of the International Residential Code.   Please contact the Building Staff on Call to discuss these requirements at 970-498-7660. 

No.  Larimer County does not have a housing code that regulates maintenance and repairs of rental properties.  The County is limited to enforcing minimum structural standards of existing buildings.

No.  The County does not have a property maintenance code.  Due to several factors including the agricultural nature of the County, there are no regulations as to how high weeds grow, or if a lawn is mowed, whether a sidewalk is cleared of snow, or the perceived dilapidated condition of a structure. 

The use of RVs as permanent housing has become an increasingly common situation and problem in Larimer County.   For the most part, a property owner may "recreate" on their other-wise vacant property for 180 days in a calendar year.  The RV must then be moved off the property.   Land Use Code Section 18.3.5.

A properly licensed and registered RV can be stored on a property that has a residence.  The RV registration and the property owner must be the same person/entity.  An RV cannot be stored on a vacant lot.  Land Use Code Section 18.3.5 and 4.3.10.F

Yes.  The Larimer County Land Use Code limits the number of unrelated people allowed to occupy a residence located in unincorporated areas of the County, with the exception of the Estes Valley Plan Area, which is regulated by the Estes Valley Development Code.  In unincorporated  Larimer County, a single family residence may be occupied by a “living unit” .   Residential Occupancy Limits.pdf.

A vehicle is considered junk when it is unregistered, inoperable, unlawful or dismantled.   Only those vehicles that do not qualify as junk vehicles and are owned by the occupant of the home may be stored outside as long as the vehicles are licensed, insured and operable.  Land Use Code Section 4.3.10.F.  

A "junk vehicle" is described as follows:  A vehicle that is inoperable (unable to move under its own power), or is partially or totally dismantled or has all or portions of its body work missing or substantially damaged or is not registered with the State of Colorado as required by C.R.S. § 42-3-103 or by C.R.S. §§ 42-12-401 and 42-12-402, and/or the number plate assigned to it is not permanently attached to the vehicle as required by C.R.S. § 42-3-202 or is lacking proper equipment to the extent that would be unsafe or illegal to use on public road rights-of-way or otherwise not equipped with lamps and other equipment as required by C.R.S. §§ 42-4-202—42-4-227. This definition does not include implements of husbandry, farm tractors, farm or ranch equipment or vehicles customarily operated in a farm or ranch operation.

Outdoor storage of junk and debris is not allowed.  Any accumulation of appliances, car parts, old furniture, scrap materials, etc., that is a visual blight to the area must be removed from the property or stored inside a structure on the property.  Only items that are accessory to the residence, for example a barbeque grill, patio furniture, etc., is allowed.  Land Use Code Section 30-255.   

If the issue is storage of junk and debris, or outdoor storage, Code Compliance staff will investigate.  Submit a Complaint.   If the issue is garbage and trash, The Larimer County Department of Health & Environment investigates illegal dump sites.  They can be contacted at 970-498-6775.   For reference, a “dump” is a place where people dump and/or bury trash that should be taken to an appropriate sanitary landfill site to monitor for odors, air emissions and ground water. 

You must first seek approval from the Larimer County Planning and Building Departments.  Most zoning districts allow one (1) single-family dwelling per lot/parcel.  The Land Use Code provides several options for additional accessory dwelling units, under specific conditions.   Accessory uses and structures must be 1) secondary and incidental to the principal use of the property and 2) located on the same lot with the principal use.   Land Use Code 4.3.10(H).   Accessory Dwelling Units.pdf

A dwelling unit is a building or portion thereof used for residential occupancy.  What is an illegal dwelling unit?  Illegal Dwelling Unit.pdfAn illegal dwelling unit is one built or occupied without obtaining the necessary land use approvals and/or a proper building permit.   Converting Existing Buildings Into Other Uses Handout.pdf.   In some circumstances it is possible to make an illegal dwelling unit legal.  Please contact the Planner on Call at 970-498-7679 or email and the Building Department at 970-498-7660 for details.   You may also call 970-498-7683 and ask to speak to the Code Compliance staff on call. 

Horses for the use of an occupant, and/or their guests are allowed in all residential zoning districts provided the number of horses does not exceed one horse per one half-acre as outlined in Section 4.3.10(J) of the Larimer County Land Use Code.  Land Use Code Section 4.3.10(J).

You can have as many dogs and cats (pet animals) as you want as long as they do not become a public nuisance.  Please see the Planning Department’s page regarding other animals.   

No.  A single-wide mobile home or similar structure that was NOT constructed or intended for the specific purpose or use as a storage building is prohibited from being converted and used as a storage building in Larimer County.   Land Use Code Section 4.3.10.E.

Sign regulations are intended to provide the public with an opportunity for safe and effective identification of uses and locations within the County balanced with the attempt to avoid clutter and protect visual appearance and maintain property values.  Signs are regulated pursuant to Section 10 of the Larimer County Land Use Code.   Signs Information Handout.pdf

courthouse-offices

Contact Code Compliance

200 W. Oak Street, Suite 3100
Fort Collins, CO 80521
(970) 498-7683 or (970) 498-7700
Hours: 8am - 4:30pm, Monday - Friday
Department Directory