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The Telluride and Mountain Village Architectural Design Process

Architectural design standards in our destination vary greatly, from the objective of historic preservation in Telluride as a National Historic Landmark to the recently updated guidelines in Mountain Village to allow for more contemporary homes. The standards are in place to keep the character and look of each jurisdiction in line with its master development plan. The Architectural design guidelines also are good for overall property values. If you are thinking about building a house or modifying a property, here is what you need to know:

How it works in the Town of Telluride:

  • The Planning and Zoning Commission or P&Z has the authority to grant approvals concerning uses permitted on review, zoning variances, conceptual, preliminary and final planned unit developments, preliminary and final subdivisions. It is directed to initiate amendments to the Land Use Code for Town Council review. It is also directed to make, adopt, and recommend Master Plans to the Town Council.
  • The Historic Architectural Review Commission or HARC is directed to issue Certificates of Appropriateness prior to the issuance of permits pertaining to the erection, demolition, moving, renovation, restoration, addition to, or alteration of any structure or sign. It also recommends designation of structures, significant landmark interiors and areas of outstanding historic and architectural significance; proposes preservation standard and policies, and maintains inventories of historically and/or architecturally significant structures and areas.
  • HARC gives out annual awards, the “Preservation Award” for projects that keep have outstanding commitment to preservations and compatible building techniques.
  • Both Commissions have 7 members that are appointed by Town Council and they meet at least monthly.
  • If building or modifying a property in the Town of Telluride, be prepared to for these strict guidelines. A local architect with intimate knowledge.
  • There are currently 26 lots listed for sale in Telluride

How it works in the Town of Mountain Village:

  • Two-step process: the first step involves getting sketch approval, the second step is to get final approval, both steps are required to be publicly noticed. This process takes 10 weeks.
  • Mountain Village recently revised their guidelines to include more modern design, here are the changes:
    •  The Code was bolstered to emphasize the Board’s principal duty of ensuring the implementation of the Town Design Theme and applicants must be responsive to the Board’s direction.
    • Substituted references to “solid, heavy” and “thick” bases as a design requirement for a building design that appears “grounded” to the site to withstand alpine forces of wind, snow and heavy rain. The list of materials that support this design was expanded that could make up the base, but stone remains as the principal base material.
    • Eliminated the requirements that a gable roof shall be the primary form, and the roof pitch must be a minimum of 6:12 and a maximum of 12:12. Added the requirement that roof design shall be made up of multiple forms that emphasize sloped planes, varied ridgelines and vertical offsets.
    • Increased the list of appropriate roof materials to include black or gray standing seam materials that are not reflective. Provided for the general approval of certain synthetic materials after they have been proven to meet stated standards of durability, high strength and high quality design.
    • Eliminated the requirements that individual windows could not be larger than 40 square feet and only 20% of the north elevation shall be glass. Instead, the new regulations require window use and placement be responsive to energy requirements, be an integral part of the design of the structure and be sensitive to adjoining properties. The standard that no more than 40% of the exterior of a structure be glass remains.
  • There are currently 82 lots listed for sale in Mountain Village

Please contact me for additional information and discussion on our design review guidelines and if you’re interested in buying property to build a home. To stay informed, also Like my Facebook page at Telluride Real Estate News. 

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