Residential Building Regulations Update

Adopted residential building code amendments are now in effect and applications may be submitted for residential building permits. The updated Land Use Code includes current regulations. 

Project History

The history, growth, and diversity of Aspen’s built environment are what have formed our unique mountain-town charm, character, and appeal. As our community changes, the City of Aspen works to accommodate evolving needs and address key challenges that arise, including preserving our history, environment, safety, peace, and general wellbeing. 

In December 2021, Aspen City Council instituted a moratorium on the issuance of the residential building permits that are required for certain demolition, alteration, and/or construction processes. 

This pause granted Council, staff, and the community space to fully consider the impacts of development, including stressors put on the built environment such as: 

  • Pace and scale of residential development.
  • Affordable housing development and mitigation.
  • Development procedures within the Land Use Code including demolition.
  • Construction and environmental impacts of development.
  • Development impacts on utilities and waste.

After an extensive community engagement process, Aspen City Council approved new residential building regulations outlined in Ordinances No. 13 & 14, Series 2022, in a meeting on June 30, 2022. The residential permit moratorium ended on August 8, 2022. 

The main areas that have changed through the moratorium will be updated on Municode in the coming weeks:

  • Updated definitions related to floor area. 
  • Updated calculations and measurements methodology for energy efficiency and fire protection and for determining required affordable housing mitigation.
  • Clarification of the process for measuring demolition and implementation of heightened redevelopment standards.  
  • Creation of demolition allotment for single-family and duplex units.
  • Updates to the Housing Mitigation Fee-in-Lieu. 
  • Updates to FTE generation rates for single and multi-family development. 
  • Expanded affordable housing development opportunities.

Updates to the Land Use Code are expected to be released on our website in mid-August. In the meantime, please refer to Ordinance 13, Series 2022, and Ordinance 14, Series 2022, for the current language.

Adopted Code Amendments 

Valid residential building permits are now subject to the following regulations in Ordinance 13 & 14, Series 2022:

  • Demolition and Redevelopment Standardsincluding the use of the Growth Management Quota System (GMQS) to limit the number of and provide criteria for the approval of single-family and duplex residential demolition and redevelopment. Demolition Pre-Applications are now being accepted. 
  • Affordable Housing Mitigation for Residential Development, the adopted changes result in the inclusion of sub-grade areas and garages in what building area counts toward the calculation of affordable housing mitigation. When demolition is proposed, the property will no longer receive credit for the existing floor area. Additionally, the policy change includes improvements to the Affordable Housing Deferral Agreement in providing more predictability for local residents who choose to defer mitigation requirements.
  • Affordable Housing, Development Review, including creating an administrative review path for 100% deed-restricted, affordable housing projects that are fully compliant with the requirements of the Land Use Code
  • Additional Affordable Housing Opportunities, including removing unnecessary obstacles in the development of affordable housing across most of Aspen’s zone districts, and in a few specific situations, providing opportunities for increased density of affordable housing development within the existing dimensional limitations of the underlying zone districts
  • Affordable Housing Fee-in-Lieu, including an annual increase of 8.5% based on the national construction cost index published by the Engineering News Record.
  • Other Code Changes: Several chapters of the Land Use Code have been amended in support of the policy changes described above. 

Project Timeline 

  • December 2021 - Aspen City Council approved Ordinance No. 27, Series 2021, a temporary moratorium on the acceptance of any new land use application seeking a development order or notice of approval; on the acceptance of certain building permit applications for all residential uses in all zone districts within Aspen city limits.
  • March 2022 - Ordinance No. 27, Series 2021, was lifted on March 11, 2022, Aspen City Council approved Ordinance 6, Series 2022, on March 15, 2022, reinstating a temporary moratorium on the acceptance of new residential land use applications and on certain residential building applications.
  • May 2022 - The temporary moratorium on residential building was extended on May 3, 2022, through Ordinance No. 8, Series 2022. The moratorium on the issuance of certain residential building permits will expire on August 8, 2022. 
  • June 2022Ordinance No. 13, Series 2022, and Ordinance No.14, Series 2022 were approved by Aspen City Council memorializing code amendments based on community and stakeholder feedback.
  • August 2022 – The moratorium on the issuance of residential building permits was lifted.

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  1. Ben Anderson


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