The purpose of the HS-O Hillside Overlay is to ensure that development still retain their unique characteristics, while conserving the aesthetic qualities and safeguarding the natural features of the city. Developing within the HS-O Hillside Overlay requires careful attention to slopes, grading, building height and vegetation preservation through innovative and environmentally sensitive design techniques. The current Hillside Ordinance was approved in 1996 and defines hillside terminology and outlines development requirements through the City of Colorado Springs’s Unified Development Code (UDC) Section 7.2.610. The Hillside Design Manual is a companion to the Ordinance and provides guidance on how to develop within the Hillside Overlay.
Review Criteria and Development Standards
Development within a HS-O Hillside Overlay is subject to additional review requirements and criteria. No building or structure may be erected, reconstructed, or structurally altered on land within the HS-O Hillside Overlay nor can any land be subdivided, graded, vegetation removed, or the property otherwise disturbed unless the developer/property owner first obtains approval from the City through development review and permit approvals to ensure meeting all hillside requirements.
The following guidelines should be considered when building within the HS-O Hillside Overlay and are further outlined in the Hillside Design Manual and UDC Section 7.2.610. It is highly recommended to do a Pre-Application Meeting with a Planner to best understand all requirements prior to a permit or application submittal.
- Has terrain disturbance been minimized, and cut/fill been limited to no more than five feet?
- Have slopes > 25% been avoided?
- Have existing vegetation been preserved?
- Has consideration been made for proposed structure location in relation to preservation easements, if any, and fire mitigation requirements?
- Have visual impacts been mitigated?
Site Plans and Development Plans
The predominant development type in hillside areas is single-family detached housing. For any new single-family home, attached residential addition or detached structure within the HS-O Hillside Overlay, a Hillside Site Plan is required at time of building permit to Regional Building Department. All site plan requirements are outlined on the Hillside Site Plan Checklist.
- Hillside Site Plan Checklist
- FAQ-What is required for a residential building permit within HS-O Hillside Overlay?
- Example of Hillside Site Plan
A Hillside Development Plan is required prior to a building permit for any unplatted property or new subdivision within the HS-O Hillside Overlay. The Hillside Development Plan includes a Land Suitability Analysis to further determine buildable areas as well as other supporting documents such as a preliminary grading plan and utility plan. For more information on development plan requirements, please review UDC Section 7.2.610 and submit a Pre-Application Meeting request.
The HS-O Hillside Overlay prohibits the out-right removal of existing vegetation unless first reviewed by City Planning AND Wildfire Mitigation Department. Property owners are responsible for maintenance of existing vegetation to include trimming and removal of dead or dying branches; however, clearcutting or removal of mature pines or scrub oak is not permitted without City Planning coordination and any preservation easements are not to be disturbed. For mitigation and maintenance recommendations of existing vegetation, free onsite consultations are offered through the Fire Department.
Geologic Hazard Requirements
Any new single-family home, detached structure or attached residential addition within the HS-O Hillside Overlay, requires a lot-specific geologic hazard report or waiver. These are submitted and reviewed separately from the permit or entitlement review. For more information regarding the geologic review process and requirements, please visit the City Engineering website or contact them directly at Development.Review@coloradosprings.gov
Hillside Inspections occur prior to a building permit approval to ensure the limit of disturbance boundary, appropriate erosion control measures and preservation easements are marked and in place. Inspections continue to occur at random throughout the construction process to ensure compliance with the approved Hillside Site Plan and again at time of CO.
Certificate of Occupancy
An Improvement Location Certificate (ILC) prepared by a Licensed Surveyor may be required at time of CO request for any building permit within the HS-O Hillside Overlay. Please allow up to five business days for CO review to ensure what was built is in accordance with the approved Hillside Site Plan building permit and Hillside inspection to occur.
Fire Vegetation Mitigation Inspections
- Wildfire Risk Reduction Requirements Within Wildland Urban Interface
- Electronic Review System (ProjectDox)
- (719) 385-5178
Regional Building Department
- (719) 327-2880