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Properties in Colorado Springs all have a base zone that regulates the types of uses and development within the zone districts. Some properties also have a zoning overlay, which means they are subject not only to the standards of their base zone but also to the standards of the overlay zone. The City of Colorado Springs currently employs six overlay zone districts; a brief description of each follows. More detail can be found in Chapter 7, Article 3, Section 5 of the City Code.

Streamside Overlay

The Streamside Overlay is applied to areas of the City that are characterized by intermittent and perennial streams. These streams provide significant wildlife habitat, riparian vegetation, water quality protection, flood protection, open space, and multi-use trail opportunities. Areas within the Streamside Overlay are more environmentally sensitive than other areas within the City. Thus, development practices should comply with the Streamside Design Guidelines. The Guidelines explain the eleven review criteria related to developing within the Streamside, including identification and protection of significant natural features, wildlife preservation, stream bank stabilization, and riparian buffers.

Hillside Overlay

Developing in a Hillside Overlay zone requires compliance with hillside-specific criteria. The Hillside Overlay zone is applied to areas with significant natural features that include ridgelines, bluffs, rock outcroppings, vegetation, natural drainage ways, wildlife habitat, geologic conditions, and slopes. The Hillside Development Design Manual provides information on how to minimize terrain disturbance, incorporate natural features and vegetation into the design, mitigate and enhance visual impacts and opportunities, and use architectural features to conform to hillside characteristics.

Historic Preservation Overlay

Certain areas within the City have been identified as historic resources and have been zoned with the Historic Preservation Overlay zone. The purpose of the Overlay is to designate, preserve and protect areas that reflect the City’s historic heritage.  Any building within the Historic Preservation Overlay zone is subject to additional review by the Colorado Springs Historic Preservation Board.

Planned Provisional Overlay

The Planned Provisional overlay is sometimes referred to as “Conditions of Record.” The overlay is used to establish special procedures and/or development standards when the base zone district will not adequately address the unique situations or relationships between new and existing areas.

High Rise Overlay

The High Rise Overlay allows for the construction of high-rise buildings in accordance with special height, floor area, and bulk limitations. These areas are usually located near the downtown area.

Airport Overlay

The Airport Overlay is used to comply with Federal Aviation Administration rules and regulations; to protect public health, safety, and welfare; and to provide for the free and unobstructed passage of all aircraft through all airspace above communities served by airports.

There is a defined area around the Colorado Springs Airport shown in the Hillside and Airport Overlay Map. This area is further classified into zones which include Accident Potential Subzones 1 & 2, the Aircraft Navigation Subzone, the Airport Noise Subzone, and the Runway Protection Zone. Uses and height restrictions apply in certain subzones. For more information, contact the Land Use Review Division.

Design Flexibility Overlay

The Design Flexibility Overlay provides maximum design flexibility while ensuring that the overall character of the development is consistent with the base zone and harmonious with the surrounding area. The overlay is designed to work only with the R-Estate, R1-9000, and R1- 6000 zone districts. For more information about the residential zone districts, see Property Zoning. Additional information on development standards can be found in Section 7.3.104.C of the City Code.