Planning, Zoning and Building

Planning and Zoning
The Town of Grand Lake administers the oversight for planning and zoning activities within the municipal boundaries.  In January 2006, the Town of Grand Lake adopted the Comprehensive Land Use (Master) Plan to guide future development of Grand Lake. 
To view the Town of Grand Lake Zoning Map, click here.
 Please note: color variations of individual user computers and website browsers may vary.  If you are unable to determine your Zoning District, pleasr contact Grand Lake Town Hall for verification.
2006 Comprehensive Land Use (Master) Plan

Town of Grand Lake Wayfinding Masterplan

Town of Grand Lake Grand Avenue Streetscape Masterplan

Improving Trail Connections - Trail Routes between Grand Lake and Arapho National Forest

Town Building Department
The Town of Grand Lake contracts building services (permit review, issuance and project approval) with the Grand County Building Department. 

How it works:
  1. Submit a complete Building Permit Application to Town Hall.
  2. The Town reviews the application for compliance with Town Regulations.
  3. The Town forwards the application to the Grand County Building Department.
  4. The Grand County Building Department reviews the application for compliance with the applicable Building Code.
  5. The Grand County Building Department will notify the application contact when the permit has been approved.
  6. Approved building permits are available for pickup at the Grand County Building Department.  Payment is made directly to Grand County.
Town Planning and Zoning Inspections typically include:
Pre-Site Inspection
Setback Inspection
Final Inspection 
For Town inspections, please contact Town Hall and allow up to 24 hours for inspection. 

Building Code Inspections (concrete, framing, drywall, roofing, etc.) are administered by the Grand County Building Department.  Please contact them directly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need a building permit for my project? 

A: Most construction projects, particularly work that is fixed/permanent or above grade (1 ft or higher), will require a building permit. Non fixed (I.E. portable) or on-grade work typically does NOT require a building permit. Below are some examples of work exempt from building permits:
  • Detached accessory structures less than 120 sq. ft. 
  • Decks NOT exceeding 200 sq. ft. 
  • Sidewalks and Driveways (May require Right-of-Way permit)
  • Retaining walls under 4 ft/Fences under 6ft
  • Painting, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops, papering, tiling, and similar finish work.
Please contact Grand Lake Town Hall to confirm whether your project requires a building permit. 970-627-3435.

Q: What documents are required for a building permit application?

A: The first step is to pick up a building permit application at Town Hall or download the application material from the Applications and Form section of this website. Generally, an application will include: 
  • Building Permit Main Form 
  • General Contractor Verification Form 
  • Grand Lake Department Consent Form 
  • Use Tax Agreement (Signature) Form 
  • Use Tax Calculation Form 

Supplemental forms may be required (depending on the project). These will include:

  • Original Height Verification Form 
  • Affordable Housing Fee Calculation Form 
  • Army Corp of Engineers Disclaimer Form 
  • Letter of Consent by HOA (if a residential project) 
  • Plant Investment Fee (Water Tap) Form 

In addition to these forms, an applicant will need to provide a site plan and construction drawings (4 copies total - 1 for the Town and 3 for the County). Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Town Planner ( or by calling 970-627-3435) to discuss your project. 

Q: How long will the building permit process take? 

A: The Town of Grand Lake contracts for building services with Grand County Department of Building and Sanitation.  The Town will review your plan normally within a week's time (maybe longer during peak building seasons - spring and summer) and forward the application to Grand County. The Town is responsible for reviewing compliance with municipal regulations. Please contact Grand County to inquire about latest wait-list times for review at their end. 970-725-3255.

Q: How much will my permit cost?

A:The Town charges a use tax fee based on the total cost of the project including labor and materials. An affordable housing fee may also be applied to your project (equal to $1.00 for every sq. ft of primary structure and $0.25 per sq. ft. of every accessory structure). Grand County will request the payment of these fees, as well as a processing fee, upon issuing a building permit. 

Q: How close can I build to my property line?

A: Grand Lake has setback regulations specific to each Zone District. Compliance to these setbacks depends on the type of structure(s) being built. Examples of the most common zone districts can be found below.

District  Front  Side  Rear
Single Family Residential - High Density  25' 10' 10'
Commercial Zone  0' 0' 0'
Commercial Transitional Zone  5' 5' 20'

For all other districts, please review our zoning regulations by clicking here and navigating to chapter 12-2: Zoning Regulations 

Additionally, if you own two adjacent lots and wish to build over the center lot line, you may do so upon completing a lot line agreement form. This agreement states that the two lots cannot be sold separately unless the structure (house), and/or any other encroachments, over the two lots is/are removed and all current zoning regulations are met. This agreement will be recorded with Grand County. A recording fee of is required and the applicant will be responsible for the fee. For a copy of the lot line agreement email us at

Q: Does the Town require licenses for contractors? 
A: Yes; all contractors on the job must obtain a business license with the Town prior to a building permit application acceptance. If subcontractors have not yet been chosen/secured at the time of application, the applicant will be requested to initial the appropriate line on the contractor verification form and furnish their name prior to issuance of a permit by Grand County. Additionally, all general contractors are required to be licensed if working in the Town. 
Q: What if I don't have an address assigned to my property? 

A: All properties require a physical address for contact and easy access by utility companies and public service providers. The Town Planner assigns addresses to properties using a specified numbering system. You should receive a notice in the mail verifying your new address assignment and will be responsible for contacting the proper entities with this information. Contact the Town Planner if you have not yet received an address for your property. 
Q: Does my project require an architect or engineer's stamp?

A: It depends on the scale of work being proposed. Most commercial projects require an architect or engineer's stamp to add certainty that the structural and design elements meet certain industry standards for safety. Small commercial remodeling such as door, carpet, or window replacement will likely not require a stamp. New residential construction that includes a full floor-plan will require an architect or engineer's stamp, but small additions or remodeling such as stairs, patios, minor cabinet work, or appliances will not. Again, contact the Town Planner to verify requirements based on your specific project. 
I want to build a boathouse on the lake; do I need approval from the Town?

Yes, in Grand Lake, construction of boathouses and covered boat docks is a special use case and requires a public hearing before issuance of a Building Permit. The public hearing will be held before the Planning Commission and such factors as size, lake bed disturbance, surrounding property owners' concerns and other relevant factors will be considered. A nonrefundable fee is required.
Uncovered boat docks do not require a public hearing before the Planning Commission if the boat dock meets the requirements of the Zoning Regulations. A building permit is required.
Property that is within the Town and which borders Shadow Mountain Lake will be required to comply with the regulations of the United States Forest Service for the construction and installation of boathouses, covered and uncovered boat docks. For additional information refer to our Zoning Regulations.