Code Violation Examples & Information
What is a Violation?
Below are some examples of the types of problems that the Code Compliance Division can address.
Trash and Debris: Any accumulation of garbage, trash, appliances, old furniture, or scrap material must be removed from the property. Trash containers should be stored in areas away from the front yard or driveway, like inside a garage or shed, behind a fence or alongside the back of a house. Note: City trash container storage concerns are addressed by Environmental Services staff.
Vehicles: Cars and trucks that are not licensed or are not in running condition must be parked in an enclosed garage. Large commercial vehicles and construction equipment may not be parked in residential areas without a valid permit. There are specific criteria that must be met before a permit can be issued. Contact the Code Compliance team directly for further information.
Parking in Yards: You may park your cars, campers, trucks, boats, or RVs in your driveway if they are in running condition and have valid license plates. They may not be parked on the lawn or on a dirt area.
RVs, Trailers and Motor Homes: RVs, trailers and motor homes may only be parked on the street when actively loading or unloading the vehicle. However, four three-day permits are available at no charge per calendar year. Permits are available at the Building Inspection Counter located in the City Development Building, 9500 Civic Center Drive (facing Sam's Club). A copy of the registration for the recreational vehicle, motor home or trailer is required at the time of application.
Home Operated Businesses: Some businesses that do not generate customer traffic, noise, or require storage of material outside the home may be allowed to operate from a residence. City Code Sections 18-167 and 18-901 define home occupations and outline the provisions of the code. Home occupations may require a City Sales and Use Tax Business License. Please contact the Sales Tax Division at 303-538-7400 for additional information. To learn how to establish a home operated business contact the Economic Development Department at 303-538-7605 or
Fences: Fences along City streets must be maintained so that they do not lean or have more than one missing picket. Most back and side yard fences may not be more than six feet tall. Front yard fences may not be more than four feet tall. A fence exceeding 30 inches requires a permit. Properties that have swimming pools, spas, or hot tubs are subject to regulation on the type of fencing and must have self-closing and self-latching gates to prevent accidents.
Garage Sales: Four garage sales per year, each lasting no more than three consecutive calendar days, are allowed and no permit is required. Signs advertising the sale may be placed at the location of the sale. There are requirements for sign placement in the public rights-of-way, and additional information is available on the Temporary Signs page.
Weeds: Weeds cannot exceed eight inches in height anywhere on a lot.
Signs: Signs are allowed to be displayed along public streets (in the public rights-of-way) provided they meet specific criteria.
Snow and Ice: Within 24 hours of the last accumulation, residents must remove the snow and/or ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property.
Street and Sidewalk Obstructions: Streets and sidewalks are designed to allow people, pets and vehicles to travel safely. Do not block the street or sidewalk with basketball hoops, soccer or hockey goals, landscaping materials, overgrown bushes, or other items.
Graffiti: Graffiti must be removed within ten days of notification from the City. Homeowners, condo owners and Homeowners Associations (HOA) can request to have the City remove the graffiti for you. In order to participate in this program, the homeowner or HOA Board president must sign a City of Thornton consent and waiver form and submit it to Code Compliance. Forms can be found on this page.
Landscaping: Areas of a lot not occupied by other structures or driveways must be landscaped. The City offers a variety of resources and tips pertaining to landscaping.
Household Residents & Multiple Families Living in a Home: Families or unrelated individuals can live together in a single house. There should be no more than four individuals unrelated to the head of the household by blood, marriage, or adoption. This definition does not apply to a group home, bed and breakfast, motel, hotel, dormitory, boardinghouse, or rooming house.
Thornton Graffiti Removal Program
Property owners are eligible to take advantage of the City of Thornton's free graffiti removal program. *If you see someone tagging graffiti call Thornton Police at 9-1-1.
The City Code allows the city to remove graffiti from specific property with the written permission of the property owner. The city will remove graffiti on buildings, houses, fences, walls, and signs that are accessible by the city's equipment. The graffiti removal program operates Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To participate in the city's Graffiti Removal program, the property owner must complete and sign the waiver and consent form, which can be found under Graffiti Removal links on this page. This waiver allows a city staff or its contractor to step onto the property to remove the graffiti.
Responding to a Code Violation Notice
What to do if you receive a notice: Follow the instructions given on the notice to correct the violation by the required date. If you do not understand the violation or have questions, call the officer whose name and phone number is provided on the notice.
Requesting additional time: If you cannot correct the violation by the date required on your notice, you must contact the issuing officer before that date. The officer will review your case to determine if there are any options for assistance or a possible extension. Extensions are not guaranteed but may be granted when need can be demonstrated.
If you choose not to comply:
A Notice of Hearing to Show Cause may be issued. If you receive this you will be issued a date and time to appear for a hearing to discuss your case. The Hearing Officer will determine if there is a violation and establish a new compliance date after which abatement action may occur.
An Abatement may be scheduled. Abatement means that the City will take action to correct a violation, such as towing a vehicle, mowing a lawn, taking down a fence, or picking up trash and junk. Abatement action may occur immediately or may be the result of an order issued by the Associate Judge. In all cases of abatement, the violator will be charged for the cost of the work performed by the City and/or contractor, administrative fees and any applicable hearing costs. The City allows 30 days to pay for the abatement or a lien may be filed against your property.
A summons to appear in Municipal Court may be issued. Once this occurs, it is up to the Judge to determine the outcome of the case, which may include fines, restitution if applicable, and costs associated with the court process. If you receive a summons and have questions, call the Municipal Court at 720-977-5400 or contact the officer that issued you the summons.