The City of Longmont allows home occupations in most residential zoning districts. A home occupation is an occupation or business activity which is an incidental accessory use of the dwelling unit. It is for the gainful employment of the residents who live there, but must not change the essential residential character or appearance of the dwelling unit.
A Sales and Use Tax license is required before a home occupation can begin operation. The license can be obtained between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the Sales Tax office which is located in the Civic Center Complex at 3rd Avenue and Kimbark Street. The fee for a Sales and Use Tax license is $25.00. You will be required to sign an acknowledgement of Home Occupation criteria at the time you obtain your Sales and Use Tax license. Please visit our Sales and Use Tax page for more information and links to all applicable forms.
If you would like specific information about the ordinance, or about particular types of businesses, please call Code Enforcement at (303) 651-8332.
Before starting a new business, or moving an existing business to a different location within the City of Longmont, business owners should check with Code Enforcement to make sure that they are locating in an area which is zoned for the type of business they wish to engage in. In order for a business to operate, it must have a Sales and Use Tax License. Business owners who wish to remodel should check with Building Inspection to apply for any necessary permits. Businesses currently licensed as commercially-based businesses that have relocated within Longmont City limits, must apply for a transfer of license. Sign permits and approvals are required for any new signs, signs that have been relocated with the business, or sign face changes. Home occupations relocating to another home in Longmont must file a new application for relocation.If you have further questions regarding the transfer of a business license, or how to obtain a Sales and Use Tax license, please contact the Accounting Office at (303) 651-8672. Code Enforcement and Building Inspection can be reached at (303) 651-8332 for zoning, sign, and building or remodeling questions.
Historic Preservation Tax Credits
- Yes, as long as you qualify for the credits each time you apply (i.e. you must spend at least $5,000). In fact, if you are intending to carry a project out over a few years, you should break it into separate "phases" of work so that each phase can be realistically accomplished within the required 24-month time frame.
How can I find out if my property is historically designated? If it is not, how can I get it designated?
There are three ways you can find out if your property is historically designated:
- Contact the Planning and Development Services Division at 303-651-8330;
- Email the Planning and Development Services Division; or
- Visit our Designated Landmarks webpage. If your property is a Designated Landmark, you are eligible for the State Income Tax Credit.
If your property is not listed as a Designated Landmark and is located between 4th and 9th Avenue and between Kimbark and Atwood Street, historic survey information exists regarding your home. Please use the following resources to see if your property has been surveyed:
- Contact the Planning and Development Services Division at 303-651-8330;
- Email the Planning and Development Services Division; or
- Visit our Eastside Historic Architectural Survey webpage.
- Once you have located your property and determined that it is eligible, please complete the Application for Historic Designation form and contact Karen Bryant, Historic Preservation Liaison at 303-651-8439 to discuss the next steps to designation.
If you are unable to locate your property with either of the above resources, please contact the Planning and Development Services Division staff, and they will work with you to determine if your property is eligible for designation.
I intend to do much of the labor myself in order to cut costs. Can I claim tax credit on some of my own labor or "sweat equity"?No. You simply cannot claim a credit unless you have receipts documenting the actual expenditure of the costs claimed. While your time is certainly valuable, you cannot use it as a basis for claiming any credit. If the cost of materials, however, exceed $5,000 you can claim a credit against those actual costs.
If a property is owned or leased by more than one taxpayer, can all involved taxpayers qualify for the tax credit? If so, how is the application made?Yes. Several taxpayers may qualify for credit for a single property as long as each taxpayer is a part owner or qualified tenant. These qualified taxpayers may jointly submit the required application and fees along with a list of all owners and qualified tenants intending to claim the tax credit (CRS 39-22-514). There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the total available tax credit shall be divided pro rata according to the number of such taxpayers. Such presumption shall be rebuttable only upon filing of a binding agreement with the reviewing entity which is signed by all of the taxpayers who qualify for the credit for the same property and which specifies the manner in which the amount of the tax credit is to be divided among such taxpayers (CRS 39-22-514). Multiple taxpayers should keep in mind that the total available credit is $50,000 per project, not per taxpayer.
- If you will be taking the federal credit and have received the necessary federal approvals, no additional application for state credit needs to be filed. You can simply claim a state credit on the basis of the approvals for the federal credit. However, the amount of the state credit allowed is limited to 10% of the total available federal credit (i.e. 10% of the 20% federal credit, or 2% of your rehabilitation costs). This credit is covered in a separate section of state law CRS 39-22-507.5.
If I take the tax credit and then decide that I must sell my property or break my lease within 5 years, what are the consequences?If you decide to sell your property within 5 years of completion of the project or if you are a tenant and terminate a long-term lease, you will have to refund to the state all or a portion of any credit used according to the following formula:
Within the first year: 100%
Within the second year: 80%
Within the third year: 60%
Within the fourth year: 40%
Within the fifth year: 20%
My property does not currently meet building codes - to bring it up to code may mean that certain historic features are sacrificed. Would the project still qualify?Yes. In fact this is a fairly common problem with historic properties. A project should never be denied because of the need to address legitimate code concerns. Contact Karen Bryant, Historic Preservation Commission Liaison, at 303-651-8439, or contact our Building Inspection Division at 303-651-8303 prior to submitting a Certificate of Appropriateness, they can assist you in reviewing your project.
Rehabilitation Costs = $45,000
Available credit = 20% of $45,000 = $9,000
1. Assume the taxpayer owes $1,700 in state income tax each year:
Taxpayer pays no state income taxes for 5 years:
Total tax savings = $1,700 x 5 years = $8,500
(note that taxpayer could not utilize all available tax credit)
2. Assume same project, but taxpayer owes $3,200 in state income tax each year:
Each year, taxpayer pays 50% of tax liability over $2,000:
$3,200 - $2,000 = $1,200
$1,200 x 50% = $600 per year is paid to the state
Total tax savings per year = $3,200 - $600 = $2,600SummaryTaxes PaidTaxes Saved
Year 1$600$2,600 Year 2$600$2,600 Year 3$600$2,600 Year 4$2,000$1,200 TOTALS$3,800$9,000
What if I have already begun the rehabilitation of my property - is it still possible to qualify for the tax credit?Yes. You can still apply for credit on the unfinished portion. However, you will not be able to claim any credit on costs incurred on the already completed work. Also, you cannot be doing work on that unfinished portion until you have received approval of your Application for Preliminary Approval (Part 1).
Possibly. The costs of new additions or enlargements do not qualify for the credit, so you certainly could not claim a credit on the cost of the addition. However, if you were also spending over $5,000 on rehabilitation work on the original historic building, and the project otherwise met the standards for approval, you could claim the credit on that portion of the project. The same holds true for landscaping, site improvements, and other "non-allowable costs." As long as the overall project meets with the approval of the reviewing entity, and as long as there are at least $5,000 in allowable costs, you can claim the credit on those allowable costs, but only on those allowable costs.
- A one-time extension of the 24-month time period can be granted by the reviewing entity "upon showing of good cause." However, you must provide a reasonable explanation of why the project could not be completed on schedule, and there is no guarantee that the extension will be granted. If it is likely that the project will take a full two years, and may run over, the project should be broken into two phases.
Licenses, Permits and Inspections
- A Certificate of Occupancy (also referred to as "CO") is required for use or occupancy of all buildings or structures. Upon completion of a new building, an addition to an existing building, or change of use of an existing building, final inspection approval will permit the owner of the building to receive an Occupancy Certificate. All projects need to receive final approval from the Building Inspection Division and other departments/divisions as required by type of project. When approvals are complete and all fees have been paid, the person or firm to whom the building permit was issued may receive a Certificate of Occupancy upon request at the Building Inspection Office. For further information, please contact the Building Inspection Division at (303) 651-8332.
- The City of Longmont requires all persons or firms to hold a Contractor license to build, construct, alter, repair, add to, demolish or move any building or structure or supervise any work for which a license is required. The purpose for this is to assure that the persons responsible for construction work are qualified to perform such services and possess insurance.
The categories for licenses in Longmont are Class A, B, and C, General Contractors; Class D specialty contractors; and Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical contractors. A test is required for all Class A, B, C and Mechanical licenses. Plumbing and Electrical contractors are required to be licensed by state law as a prerequisite to local registration. Class D specialty licenses must have appropriate experience in the trade they wish to obtain a Class D license for. No test is required for a Class D license.
To obtain a license, a Contractors License application and Sales and Use Tax form need to be filled out along with payment of the applicable fees. A responsible party or qualified individual is named and a certificate of insurance provided. Every contractor licensed by the City must maintain general liability insurance of not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit (CSL), $1,000,000 general aggregate and $1,000,000 products completed aggregate for Class D contractor licenses, and $1,000,000 CSL, $2,000,000 general aggregate and $2,000,000 products completed aggregate for all other licenses. The City of Longmont must be listed as a certificate holder. Every contractor must show proof of Worker's Compensation Insurance when required by the Worker's Compensation Act of Colorado. Per this legislation, you must carry Worker's Compensation Insurance if you have employees in your business. Once licensed, to remain active, each year contractors must complete a self study guide. Licenses may be put on inactive status if no work is planned in the upcoming year. For further information please contact the Building Inspection Division at (303) 651-8332, or stop by our office in the Development Services Center at 385 Kimbark St., in Longmont. Our office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday.
Planning and Development Services
- The City considers annexation requests for property outside the current municipal limits if certain eligibility requirements are satisfied, based on State of Colorado statutes and City ordinances. At least one-sixth of the perimeter of the area proposed to be annexed must be contiguous with the existing City limits.
In general, the property must be within the Planning Area and comply with the Envision Longmont Plan.
Property owners who wish to annex their land to the City must submit an annexation petition. These forms and other related applications are available at the Development Services Center or by visiting our website.
All annexation requests are first referred to City Council. The Council will assess the annexation and determine if the application can proceed through the formal review process. If Council authorizes staff to process the annexation, a concept plan must accompany an annexation. Zoning of the property occurs at the time of annexation. Annexations require public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council. Final approval of an annexation and annexation agreement is a discretionary act by the City Council.
Further information can be obtained by contacting the Planning and Development Services Department located in the Development Services Center at 385 Kimbark St., through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (303) 651-8330.
- Envision Longmont guides the City of Longmont's actions concerning its future growth and development. It provides a framework for the City to use in evaluating key issues facing the City. For more information about Envision Longmont, please call (303) 651-8330 or visit our website
The City may rebate certain building permit fees for two types of projects: economic development projects and affordable housing projects. For economic development projects, the City rebates some of its building permit fees when new jobs are provided from new or expanded industrial development. This demonstrates the City's support for creating new jobs in Longmont. The City also offers a Personal Property Tax rebate for new and expanding businesses if more than 10 new jobs are created with an average salary 5% above the Boulder County average salary. Additional information can be obtained by calling (303) 651-8330.
For affordable housing projects, the City of Longmont has several programs designed to encourage the development of affordable housing. One of these is the Housing Initiatives Program also known as the Fee Rebate Program. If certain criteria are met, the City of Longmont will rebate certain building permit fees for housing units that will be affordable, through purchase price to households at or below 80 percent of the area median income or through rent to households at or below 60 percent of the area median income. Criteria include income limitations, preference to public housing residents, extended low income use.
Up to 75 percent of the specific building permit fees may be rebated for the construction of affordable owner housing units and up to 50 percent for affordable rental housing units. Incentives are given to units that are affordable to even lower income households, that meet certain design criteria and/or that will reach certain special populations such as the physically disabled, the elderly, families currently in emergency or transitional housing, agricultural workers.
Once the Fee Rebate is approved, an Agreement is entered into between the City and the developer or owner guaranteeing the information provided to the City is correct and all requirements will be completed for the fee reductions being provided. The Agreement is recorded as a lien against the property. Annual reporting to the city will also be required to ensure rent compliance is being achieved. If you would like to request an application or get additional information about the Affordable Housing Fee Waiver Program, call the Community Development Block Grant Office at (303) 774-4339.
In 1971 the City of Longmont established a Landmark Designation Commission, now known as the Historic Preservation Commission, to designate structures of historical and architectural importance which provide significant physical linkages to our community's past.
Since 1971, over 120 structures have been designated as local landmarks. In addition, nine of Longmont's local landmarks and two residential areas have been recognized as National Register Historic Districts. The City's commitment to a program of historic preservation and recognition has provided Longmont citizens with a deeper understanding of their community's rich and significant architectural, historical and cultural heritage.
Visit our Historic Preservation section of the website to learn more.
- The Longmont Recreation Center? In current conditions, the *best* way to reach the Museum/Rec Center from the downtown or central Longmont area would be to ride on one of the recommended W/E bike lanes (indicated on the City of Longmont bicycle map) to Martin Street Continue South-bound on Martin Street past Ken Pratt Blvd to access the greenway just South of Ken Pratt/round-about. The entrance to the greenway is on the right (not signed yet).
- The LOBO trail? The above directions will continue to the LOBO trail.
- The St Vrain greenway? The St. Vrain greenway is still split in two, though detours can be found. Currently the greenway extends from Airport Road just north of Rodgers Road to Main Street. From Main Street, to proceed eastbound, go over the bridge (northbound) and under the bridge (eastbound), continuing northbound on Main Street to Boston Avenue, proceeding eastbound to Martin Street.Westbound from Martin Street, continue northbound to First Avenue; proceed westbound on First Avenue, under the overpass, turning northbound on S. Pratt and onto the St. Vrain greenway at Delaware Avenue.
- Up the hill? The grade is less on the East side of Main Street. Try biking up Martin Street or Emery Street. On the West side of town, Gay Street or Bowen Street are less of a grade than some of the others.
The Planning and Zoning Commission meets the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, located at 350 Kimbark St. in the Civic Center Complex. The Planning and Zoning Commission consists of seven members and three alternate members appointed by the City Council. The Planning and Zoning Commission makes recommendations to the City Council on development projects such as annexations, zonings, rezonings, vacation of easements, land use amendments, and code amendments.
The Planning and Zoning Commission makes final decisions on preliminary plats, preliminary development plans, height exceptions, and conditional use site plans. Decisions on these matters may be appealed to City Council. A copy of the Planning and Zoning Commission's monthly meeting packet is available for review on our website or in the Longmont Public Library. Further information can also be obtained by visiting the Development Services Center located at 385 Kimbark St, through email at email@example.com or by calling (303) 651-8330.
The Planning and Development Services Department is responsible for managing the overall growth and physical development of the City. In addition to preparing long range plans for the City's future growth, the Department also manages development applications, historical preservation needs, transportation planning, building permits and inspections and code enforcement.
The Department provides staff support to the City Council, Planning and Zoning Commission, Board Of Adjustment and Appeals, Historic Preservation Commission, Master Board of Appeals, and the Transportation Advisory Board.
The Planning and Development Services Department offices are located at 385 Kimbark St. Please call use at (303) 651-8330 for more information or visit our website.
- The Planning and Development Services Department has a number of publications and maps available for purchase. The maps provided focus on Longmont's growth and development. They are the comprehensive land use, zoning, primary greenways, bikeways, historic districts, neighborhood planning areas, airport influence zone, three-tier planning system and the Longmont Downtown Development Authority. Publications are available in a hard copy format or on our website.
Further information and costs quotes can be obtained by contacting the Development Services Center at 385 Kimbark St, through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (303) 651-8330.
A public hearing is that time during a City Council, Planning & Zoning Commission or Historic Preservation Commission meeting in which interested individuals may address the Council or Commission on specific agenda items for that meeting.
Agendas are posted prior to the meeting on the City of Longmont website, at the Civic Center and are typically advertised in the Daily Times Call newspaper. In addition, a public hearing on a specific land use development application is advertised by a public hearing sign posted on the property where the development is proposed.
Residents are encouraged to make use of the public hearing and share their thoughts and opinions with the Council or Commission. Citizens are requested to keep any one individual's comment time limited. This limit, generally three minutes for the City Council and five minutes for commissions, helps provide equal time for all interested parties who want to speak and also encourages efficient meetings.
If you received notice of a public hearing for a land development application or see a public hearing sign on a property and have questions, please call the Longmont Planning and Development Services Department at (303) 651-8330. If you wish to submit written comments about a public hearing, you may fax them the the Planning and Development Services Department at (303) 651-8696 or mail them to Planning & Development Services, 385 Kimbark Street, Longmont, CO 80501. You may also email comments to email@example.com.
- Please visit the City of Longmont Rules of the Road webpage for helpful tips for bicyclists.
- The City has made great progress in fixing the damage caused by the 2013 flood. The reality is that it was really devastated and the “fix” is more complex than just replacing the concrete greenway. There are several phases of the Resilient St. Vrain project. Updates can be found here. The good news is that it’s underway; some parts are already funded, and some parts already improved/fixed. The long term fix should last for our lifetimes, even in the event of another 500 year flood. Updates to the greenway/bike paths can be found here: Resilient St. Vrain
Transportation planning for the City of Longmont is managed by the Planning and Development Services Department. Staff reviews development proposals, leads planning for multi-modal transportation, transit and represents the City Longmont on regional transportation committees. Multi-modal transportation planning is a continual process and is applied to both the current day, in working to improve the current transportation system, and the long-term planning objectives for the City.
The City's involvement in regional transportation groups, including the Boulder County Consortium of Cities, the Regional Transportation District and the Denver Regional Council of Governments, assures that Longmont's interests are heard in the regional planning process.
Addition information on transportation planning for the City of Longmont can be accessed by going to our website or by calling the City's transportation planner at (303) 651-8335.
- As the painted bicycle lanes approach an intersection, some remain a solid line and some turn to dashed lines. Dashed lines indicate that cyclists have options. Solid lines suggest that bicyclists continue straight.
- The LOBO trail is a multi use path that continues from southwest Longmont to the City of Boulder. Terrain is concrete and/or crusher fines, and, weather permitting can accommodate all types of bicycles/tires. County trail maps (with the LOBO trail) are available at the Development Services Center, 385 Kimbark Street, Longmont.
- The Pratt Street bridge that spans the St. Vrain greenway will be closed during renovation of that bridge, beginning in February 2018.
- Always best to wear technical (synthetic) layers next to skin. Avoid cotton, as when cotton gets wet, it generally stays wet -not so bad when it’s hot, but very bad when it’s cold out. Best to dress in layers, with particular focus on your digits: fingers and toes will get cold before other parts. Hand or feet warmers can work wonders! When biking, being slight cold for the first mile is normal; while you’re exercising/moving your body, any wind chill could negate that body warm up. Experiment with layers: it’s as important to not overdress as it is to not underdress. Overdressing will cause you to overheat!
- Please call (303) 651-8304 for information on how to obtain a copy of a plat.
Always ride your bike in the SAME direction that traffic is going. Being predictable on a bike is being safe.
Please visit the City of Longmont Rules of the Road webpage for more helpful tips for bicyclists.
When a sidewalk is not present, safe practice is to walk facing the traffic. When there is a sidewalk, it makes the most sense to utilize the side that will most efficiently reach your destination to avoid any jaywalking or mid/block crossings.
Please visit the City of Longmont Rules of the Road web page for more helpful tips for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Bicyclists should ride as far to the right as is practical and safe. Oftentimes, there is debris, glass, ice, or gutters with parallel divots on the right, in the bike lane. In Longmont, roads that have excessive debris include roads with high construction traffic, such as Martin Street, Boston Avenue, Main Street, etc.
The City of Longmont zoning regulations and zoning map specifies where residential, commercial and industrial uses are allowed in various zoning districts within the City. The zoning regulations include a list of uses that are permitted or require conditional approval from the City within each zoning district. The zoning regulations specify requirements for building and structure setbacks and height, residential density, parking and other aspects of land uses within the City.
The zoning regulations also describes the procedure for applying for land use approvals. If you have questions about zoning districts and the uses allowed within zoning districts, or zoning requirements and procedures, please call the City of Longmont Planning and Development Services Department at (303) 651-8330. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website.
Short Term Rentals
Yes, inspections are required as part of the application process and once a year as part of the annual renewal.
- Accessory dwelling units can be rented as short term rentals only when the owner is present in the principal dwelling. Accessory dwellings cannot be used for short term rentals if individual rooms are rented in the principal dwelling.
If you are a Longmont resident, you can have a maximum of one investment dwelling operating as a short term rental; however, the entire dwelling can only be rented to one group at a time. Individual rooms can only be rented if the owner, agent, or property manager resides and is present while the rooms are rented. Non-Longmont residents are not allowed to operate short term rentals within the City.
- Step 1: Apply for a Sales and Use Tax License. Call the Sales Tax Office at (303) 651-8672 or visit our Sales and Use Tax page for information about how to get a Sales and Use Tax license.
- Step 2: Apply for a Short Term Rental permit online or in person at the Development Services Center (385 Kimbark Street).
- Step 3: Your application will be reviewed by City staff, and you will be notified if the application is approved, denied, or if additional information is needed. Once approved, you must pay a $100 fee and arrange for an inspection of the dwelling. Code Enforcement will meet you for an inspection of the unit and determine if the unit meets building code and land use requirements for short term rentals.
- A permit costs $100, and each annual renewal costs an additional $100. The sales and use tax license has a one-time processing fee of $25.
Permits must be renewed annually. You can renew online in person at the Development Services Center (385 Kimbark Street).
If your property is in an area zoned Residential Rural (R-RU) or Residential Single Family (R-SF) and there is already a short term rental operating on your side of the street on your block, you will need conditional use approval.
If you would like to find out if conditional use approval will be required for your property to become a short term rental, call (303) 651-8357 or send an email to email@example.com. Otherwise, City staff will evaluate the location and notify you of any additional requirements when you submit an application for a short term rental permit.
- There is no limit on the total number of short term rentals operating in the City; however, in areas zoned Residential Rural (R-RU) or Residential Single Family (R-SF), only one short term rental can operate on each side of the street per block without conditional use approval.
It is a violation of the Longmont Municipal Code to operate a short term rental without a permit, which can result in fines of up to $500 per day and/or a summons to court being issued.
Operators of short term rentals pay lodgers tax. For information on this tax, contact the Sales Tax Office at (303) 651-8672 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Short term rentals are allowed in all areas of the City except those zoned Non-residential Primary Employment (N-PE) and Public (N-PF). The space to be used must be a legal dwelling unit.
Click here to see a zoning map for the City of Longmont.
- You can apply online or in person at the Development Services Center (385 Kimbark Street).
- Only someone with at least 50% ownership of the dwelling to be used for a short term rental or a representative of such person can apply for a permit.
The permit allows the City of Longmont to verify that the short term rental does not pose safety risks for guests and that it does not violate any provisions of the Land Development Code.