Trinidad Colorado

Planning Division

Georgi Ann Clark
Planning Administrator
719-846-9843 extension 120,

To view the 2017 Trinidad Comprehensive Plan click here 2 7 17 Trinidad Comprehensive Plan_Adoption.pdf

Zoning Information
To find out the zoning of a property, please contact the Planning Department. You can view the rules and regulations of Trinidad's Eleven Zone Districts here. COMING SOON

Subdivision Ordinance
Can be viewed here  COMING SOON

Historic District Ordinance
Can be viewed here. COMING SOON

Current Commission Public Notice/Agenda
See the public notices posted in City Hall or Carnegie Public Library.

Requesting Staff Reports or Past Planning Commission Agendas or Minutes?
Please contact the Planning Department.

Off-Street Parking, Signage, etc.
Parking regulations can be viewed here. COMING SOON
Sign regulations can be viewed here. COMING SOON

Basic Planning Definitions
Can be viewed here. COMING SOON

Land Use Application Process Chart
Can be viewed here. COMING SOON

Sidewalk Cafe License Application Package
Can be viewed here. COMING SOON

Requesting a zone change? Wondering if you can annex your property into the City? Looking at subdividing? Need a variance, a conditional use permit, etc.?

A pre-application meeting with staff is needed. Please contact the Planning Department to schedule a meeting.

View the Land Use Application Process Chart to get an idea of how an application submitted to the Planning Department is processed and what hearings are involved.

Not sure what application you might need? Click here for a glossary of basic terms.

Planning Commission & City Council Schedule / Timeline

Applications are due 20 business days prior to the Planning Commission meeting and are to be submitted to the Planning Department. The Planning Commission meets the second Tuesday monthly at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. City Council meetings occur the first and third Tuesdays monthly at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall. Applicants or someone authorized to represent them are expected to attend these meetings.

Glossary of Planning Terms

(Note: These definitions differ and are apart from terms defined with in the Trinidad Municipal Code. Rather, the following are generic descriptions to provide you a general idea of commonly-used language when beginning a Planning-related project.)

Comprehensive Plan:

The long-range plan intended to guide the growth & development of Trinidad. It is created by community input and professional planning analysis to determine goals and objectives which are developed to guide the community. The Plan studies constraints and opportunities in relation to environmental factors, land use, recreation, economic development, etc. A Comprehensive Plan should be updated every five years or so to capture the latest community sentiments and to uphold the directions prescribed in previous Comprehensive Plans. Adoption of a Comprehensive Plan can lead to policy and Municipal Code changes in order to meet the objectives of this Plan. Click here for Trinidad's Comprehensive Plan. In the summer of 2007, development of a new Comprehensive Plan will begin.

Conditional Use:

A use that, because of its special requirements or characteristics, is not a use permitted by right in a particular zoning district, but may be allowed only after review by the Planning, Zoning & Variance Commission in a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) application. The granting of the CUP may require that certain site-specific conditions are met to mitigate potential nuisances and to make the use compatible with nearby uses. Unless otherwise approved by the Commission, CUPs run with the land, with the following conditions: Any conditional use which is not established within one year of its approval, discontinued for at least one year, or replaced by another use of land shall expire. Additionally, if the conditional use is transferred to a new owner, the new owner must submit a letter to the Planning Director agreeing to the current CUP terms and conditions before a business license may be issued.


An easement gives the right of a person, government agency, or public utility company to use public or private land--owned by another--for a specific purpose. An easement is established through plating or in the form of another recorded document.

Grandfathered (Non-Conforming) Status:

The technical name for grandfathered is legal non-conformance. A property has legal non-conformance when its structures or uses were allowed at one time, but the rules and regulations in that zoning district have changed to a degree that the dimensions of the structure in relation to the lot, the lot dimensions itself, or the property's use would no longer be permitted if the property were to be developed in the present day. (If the property was developed or used in such a way that was never permitted by past rules and regulations, it is not grandfathered. In fact, it has "illegal non-conformance".) A property or use upon the property does not have legal non-conformance indefinitely. There are certain events that can cause a site to lose its non-conforming status, such as a certain degree of destruction, abandonment, or expansion. The purpose of this is to accommodate the property owner while eventually achieving the intent of the new rules and regulations of the respective zoning district. Refer to Chapter 14 Section 14-104 of the Trinidad Municipal Code for the specifics.

Planned Unit Development (PUD):

A zone district established especially and uniquely for a particular development. It allows for a mix of uses, densities, and lot dimensions that would otherwise be prohibited or would otherwise be too cumbersome if the rigidity of the rules and regulations of a standard zone district were followed.

Rebuild Letter:

Some mortgage companies & insurance agencies require a rebuild letter. This is a letter provided by the City stating that the property can be reconstructed in the event of destruction or disrepair. However, if the property has non-conforming status, and is no longer in compliance with the current rules and regulations of the Zoning Code, another step is involved before the City can issue this letter. If the property has legal non-conforming status, a rebuild letter can only be issued once the non-conforming issues are addressed, and if approved, through a variance (or rezone) process.

Right-of-Way (ROW):

A publicly dedicated area of land over which people and goods have the right to pass or travel. Rights-of-way are the areas within subdivisions that guarantee access to tracts within and adjacent to an area. In some cases, a right-of-way might have been platted but not developed. Therefore, even though there may not be any physical improvement denoting the right-of-way, it is still an area that can be developed for roadway, or planned for other infrastructure in the future. Often public right-of-way includes the roadway, on-street parking strips, landscaping strips, and sidewalks. A private property boundary is determined from the edge of the right-of-way, not the roadway, as the right-of-way is likely wider than the roadway itself.


The distance that a structure is set back from the property boundary. Different zone districts have different setback requirements; and this is largely to ensure that structures will have fire protection, access to light and air, and the ability to be maintained and repaired without encroaching onto another's property. Also, uniformity and compatibility within a neighborhood is achieved by following the setback requirements.

Site Plan:

A detailed plan, to scale, depicting how a site will be developed. It shows existing and proposed conditions. It typically includes illustrations and drawings of such site features, including building elevations, building locations, parking and refuse areas, and landscaping. Often a site plan is looked at to determine where structures sit in relationship to each other and the property lines.

Subdivision / Plat:

A subdivision is required when a tract of land is planned to be divided into smaller parcels or lots for the purposes of development or sale. This is to ensure that each parcel of land to be developed has sufficient size, shape, utilities, and access to function for its intended purpose (Malcolm M. Murray, Esq. Colorado Land Planning and Development Law, Sixth Edition). A plat is a document, that once approved and recorded, provides the legal verification of such a subdivision and serves as the map of the subdivision. A plat replaces a "meets & bounds" description of a piece of property.


The process in which public right-of-way is abandoned and conveyed to private property owners. A vacate goes through City Council consideration, and if approved, is done by City ordinance. The City must first determine whether a vacate request would result in denying an adjacent property owner sufficient access to his or her property, or if the subject right of way has a future use for roadway, or other infrastructure expansion.


A variance is an exception to the rules and regulations of the Zoning Code when specific and special circumstances unique to the property, necessitate the need to examine the property differently in how it relates to the rules and regulations of the Zoning Code. There might be a request for a variance in height, setbacks, roof pitch, lot-size, etc. Variances are a quasi-judicial issue considered by the Planning Commission. There cannot be a variance for use. A change in use is requested by applying for a zone change, which is considered by the City Council.


Different areas within the City that are designated for particular types of use, such as residential, commercial, or industrial. The area's designation, or "zoning," determines what can be built there, the allowed density, the size of buildings, the allowed uses, etc. Each zone district has a list of rules and regulations that prescribe uses by right, conditional uses, and area regulations designating the setbacks, lot dimensions, etc..

"Re-zoning" means to change the zoning to allow a different type of use than was previously designated for a given area. A zone change "runs with the land", as is adopted into law by City ordinance upon City Council approval. The designation only goes away if another re-zone is approved, or if the original zoning is found to be invalid.

Need Another Definition?

Visit the Zoning Code, or contact the Planning Department.