Code Enforcement

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Common Concerns

My neighbor...
is doing construction work without a permit.
The building department has an overview document regarding general permit requirements. However, unless you are putting up a detached storage shed that is less than 120 square feet, shorter than 10 feet at the peak of the roof, and does not have any electrical, plumbing, or mechanical systems, assume you need a permit. Replacing exterior windows and doors, furnaces, installing a wood stove, and demolishing a structure are just a few of the items that require a permit. Common items that do not require permitting include non-structural patios/sidewalks, decks less than 30" above grade, replacement of floor covering, and painting/papering or similar interior/exterior work. If you commence work requiring a permit before obtaining one, you will be subject to paying four times the normal permit fee.

is moving dirt, or building a berm.

The Engineering Department requires a grading permit any time dirt is moved -- unless you have an exemption. This includes building a landscape berm. Common exemptions for grading permits include utility excavations, mining activity, cemeteries, agricultural roads, or grading that will not impact adjoining properties. Even if you qualify for an exemption, it is best to contact Engineering before starting work.

does not have a wildlife resistant ("bear proof") trash can.

Eagle County Ordinance 07-001 requires most residents and businesses in unincorporated areas (excluding El Jebel/Basalt and Eagle areas) to have approved wildlife resistant ("bear proof") trash containers. Fines can be as high as $500 for repeat offenders, with waivers if a can is purchased within the specified time frame. Wildlife resistant containers must be certified by the Living with Wildlife Foundation as bear resistant. Homemade modifications do not satisfy the ordinance. Locally, compliant cans are available through your trash provider and at the Vail Valley Ace Hardware.

has an illegal apartment (accessory dwelling unit).

Most residential lots in unincorporated Eagle County are zoned for one dwelling unit. If you have a full second kitchen in your home, and you do not live in a resource zone district or otherwise have county approval, chances are you have an illegal second dwelling, or accessory dwelling unit. If illegal dwelling units are discovered, code enforcement will require that the second kitchen be removed. In addition, any building work that took place without permits must be inspected and approved through the permitting process.

is accumulating junk or garbage.

Eagle County does not have an ordinance prohibiting the accumulation of junk or rubbish. Code enforcement often works informally with landowners to have properties cleaned up voluntarily, however. In addition, the operation of a junkyard, landfill, or the presence of a condition that rises to the level of a public health nuisance, may result in formal enforcement action.

is noisy.

The noise standards in the Eagle County Land Use Regulations apply only to industrial and commercial activity. Residential noise issues can be addressed through civil action under state statute and via homeowner associations. The state statute exempts certain entities and activities, including schools, snow plowing, and public safety efforts.

has too many people living in their home.
The land use regulations state that up to 4 unrelated individuals may occupy a dwelling unit, or 1 person per 300 square feet of living area. For concerns regarding the number of people occupying a dwelling, code enforcement generally seeks to mitigate the impacts (parking, trash, etc.) first, because of the difficulty involved in proving the number of people that occupy a home.


Submit a complaint online here or you may file a complaint about a possible code violation in person, in writing, by phone 970-328-3554 or email Please provide us with specific information, such as:
  • location of the property and property owner
  • nature of complaint
  • length of time you have observed the situation
We will investigate alleged violations that are reported anonymously, but having your name and phone number will assist us with follow-up and ensure that we have all the information we need to resolve the matter. Code enforcement investigates complaints regarding zoning, building, and environmental issues in unincorporated Eagle County. If your concern is within an incorporated town, follow the appropriate link to Avon, Basalt, Gypsum, Eagle, Minturn, Red Cliff or Vail.

Email to report violations to Eagle County's Smoking Ordinance in unincorporated areas.

Code enforcement also works with other outside agencies including:
Army Corps of Engineers: For 404 (discharge to water and wetland) compliance.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: For hazardous materials spill notifications; the Water Quality Control Division as it pertains to Storm Water Management Plans required to control erosion from all construction sites that disturbs one or more acres of ground; as well as the Air Pollution Control Division as it relates to open burning, dust, and odors from the various sources within Eagle County.

Colorado Attorney General's Office: For reporting and prosecution of environmental crimes.


The code enforcement process typically begins in response to a complaint of an individual or by observation of a code violation by county staff (e.g. building inspector).

Top priority is given to possible code violations that pose a serious risk to health and safety. Criminal prosecution or civil injunction are more likely remedies when major and immediate health and safety threats are evident. Examples include raw sewage on the ground, etc. Other cases are pursued in the order in which they are received.

Cooperation in the form of voluntary compliance within a reasonable time period is the preferred course of action. However, official notice of violation, court procedures, as well as civil and criminal remedies are available when the violator is not responsive.

Upon verification of a violation by authorized building official or code enforcement officer, a request for voluntary compliance is made using any or all of the following methods: in person, by telephone, or in writing. If the violation is not voluntarily corrected, a written notice is sent to the alleged violator by certified mail, return receipt requested. The notification states the violation(s) and states that the violator shall correct the violation within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the notification. If not corrected within ten (10) calendar days, the county attorney may request the sheriff to issue a summons and complaint against the violator pursuant to Colorado law.

If the violation is a life safety issue governed by the International Building Code, the International Mechanical Code, the International Plumbing Code or the National Electrical Code, an authorized building official will immediately be notified and a stop work order will be posted at the job site to stop construction activity instantly. If the complaint involves a safety issue with an existing building, a building official is notified to verify that a violation does exist and the code enforcement process is initiated.


Code enforcement receives an average of 250-300 complaints per year. Cases are broken down by category, including building, food borne illness, miscellaneous, and zoning. Approximately 50 percent of our cases are resolved through voluntary compliance (i.e. no formal notice of violation).
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