Permits & Licenses
The City's Planning and Building department as well as the Public Works department review plans and issue permits for construction projects and land uses. The permitting process includes permit application, plan review, contractor approval and inspections. Licenses are issued by different departments in the city, depending on the type of license needed.
Permit Fees - Depending on the permit, fees may be required.
Building Permits - Cortez has adopted international codes that require building permits for specific work within the city including - but not limited to - Manufactured Homes, New Residential, New Commercial, Residential Remodel, Commercial Remodel, Commercial Addition, Residential Addition, Accessory Structures, Fences, Decks, Re-roofs, and Changes of Occupancy (see the FAQ's below or visit the City's Planning and Building page for more information).
- Building permit information
- Building permit application in Word format
- Building permit online application
Burn Permit - Burn permits are issued through the Planning and Building department located at 123 Roger Smith Ave., Monday - Friday, 8 am - 4:30 pm. There is no fee for burn permits. For more information, call (970) 564-4016.
Sign Permit - A sign permit must be obtained before erecting, constructing, reconstructing, altering, painting, repainting, or changing the use of any sign in the City. Business or property owners within the central business and commercial highway districts may request designation for a historic sign. See section 5.6 of the city code for details about signs.
Right of Way Permit - A right-of-way construction permit must be obtained from the City Engineer prior to any construction, excavation, or staging materials within any public right-of-way except for services provided by the City of Cortez Public Works employees.
Grading Permit - A grading permit must be obtained from the City Engineer to control clearing, excavation, grading, and earthwork construction, including placement of fill or embankments with the City of Cortez.
Pawnbrokers License - Any corporation, partnership, or individual wishing to operate a pawn brokering establishment within the city shall be licensed and bonded.
Arborist License - Any person or firm engaging in the business or occupation of cutting, trimming, pruning, treating, or removing trees for compensation within the city must first apply for and procure an arborist / tree pruner's license.
Plumbers / Gas Fitter Licenses - International code requires plumbers and gas fitters to be licensed and insured.
Liquor License - In order to do business with liquor within the city or to hold a special event with liquor, one must obtain a license. Visit the City Clerk page for more information.
Retail and Medical Marijuana License - In order to do business with marijuana within the city, one must obtain a license. Visit the City Clerk page for more information.
Sales Tax License- All businesses within the City of Cortez are required to obtain a sales tax license. However, a few businesses within the City are required to obtain specific, additional licenses (shown above).
Transient Merchant License - In order to conduct business as a transient merchant in the City you must first obtain a license in compliance with the provisions of the city code.
Events- Want to host an event in Cortez? Visit the Events page for more information.
- How much are permit fees?
- When do I need a building permit?
*For all new structures, regardless of size or purpose *For all manufactured home installations, regardless if on private property or in a park *For replacement of sewer, gas, or water lines *For re-roofing your building *For most plumbing, mechanical alterations/extensions *For any work within city Right of Ways (alleys, streets, etc.) *For new fences, sheds, carports, garages, additions, etc. (There are some exceptions- Please call our offices for information) If in doubt, please call our office (970) 565-3402.
- Guidance on Contemporaneous Review of Electrical and Plumbing Licenses
Please refer to the factsheet from the Colorado Chapter of the International Code Council for guidance on the procedure for contemporaneous reviews of electrical and plumbing licenses.
- What permits are required to build a new house?
The city requires the purchase of a building permit that covers building, structural, mechanical, and plumbing. The state of CO covers the electrical portion of your project. In most cases you will have to purchase your building permit, right of way permit, and a water tap. Please note that the Cortez Sanitation District usually requires a fee for sewer connection. The Sanitation District’s number is 970-565-3962 for information.
- Is there any work that is exempt from building permit requirements?
Yes. Normal house repairs and replacement of cabinetry, windows, doors, and other items that do not require structural alterations and does not alter plumbing or mechanical elements do not require a permit.
- Do I need any permits from any other agencies?
Usually. For normal residential and commercial projects, Cortez permits and inspects for all phases of the project except for electrical. A state electrical permit is required through the Colorado Department of Regulatory Compliance. For more information on electrical permits, please visit their webpage at: https://.dora.colorado.gov
- Manufactured Home Installation
City of Cortez Manufactured Home Installation Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Do I need a permit to install a manufactured home within the city limits of Cortez? Answer: Yes. If the home will be placed in a manufactured home park (mobile home park), the fee is $175.00. The city will perform all inspections except for the electrical hook up. A licensed electrical contractor must obtain a state electrical permit and perform all electrical hook-ups.
Question: Who is responsible to buy the permit? Answer: The park owner or park manager is responsible to purchase the permit. Only they know if your proposed sized home will meet the size limitations within their park.
Question: What if the home will be placed on my own lot? Answer: You will still need a permit. However, not all lots in town are zoned for manufactured homes. Also, the fees for placing a home on private land are significantly different. Contact the Cortez Planning & Building Department at 970-565-3402 for more information.
Question: Can I move in as soon as my home is brought into the park? Answer: No. For your safety, all inspections must first be performed and approved prior to moving in. Part of the set up includes code compliant steps for each exterior door. Many steps are not approved for use. Check with either your manufactured home installer, or you may call the Cortez Planning and Building Department at 970-565-3402 for more information.
Question: My home is an older manufactured home. Does that make any difference? Answer: Yes. Only 1976 or newer HUD approved manufactured homes are allowed within the city limits of Cortez. Homes built prior to 1976 were constructed without any national safety standards, and many were deemed unsafe.
Question: I’ve heard that I can install my own manufactured home: is this correct? Answer: In most instances no; only Colorado State Licensed manufactured home installers are allowed to install your home. Installing manufactured homes in Colorado takes specialized training and tools, therefore most homeowners are unable to comply with state law.
Question: How long does it take to get a permit? Answer: Usually permits can be obtained no later than the day after the park owner/manager applies for them.
Question: Where can I go to find a licensed installer? Answer: You may search for licensed installers by visiting the Colorado Department of Local Affairs website: https://dola.colorado.gov/doh_codes/installers.jsf or you can call CDLA at 303-864-7810.
Here is the current (4/15/2022) list of installers in our area:
CJ's MOBILE HOME SERVICE 970-560-2282
WE DO IT ALL 505-592-3833
- What buidling codes does the city use?
The 2015 Family of International Building Codes - Note: The City of Cortez has amended the 2015 IRC, deleting section 313 requiring sprinkler systems for residential applications---Also, the city uses the 2009 version for energy efficiency.
- Do I have to hire a contractor to, or can I do the work myself?
If you are a homeowner, you can obtain permits and work on your own house provided you are also the occupant of that house. If you own commercial property, or if the building is a rental or you are building or remodeling a house for resale, you must use the services of a state licensed plumber and electrician. All other work may be performed by the owner.
- Does the city require demolition permits?
Yes. Demolition permits are required for any structure being demolished. Upon permit issuance, YOU MUST notify all utility companies of the demolition. Demolition projects require that the lot be graded smooth so that it will not become a nuisance.
- Will I have to hire an architect or engineer to draw plans for my project?
It depends. Most one story single family homes will not need a design professional. For commercial projects, yes. Generally speaking, any new commercial structures will require a design professional.