On October 23, 2013, the Board of County Commissioners adopted interim Land Use Code regulations for rebuilding homes in the aftermath of the flooding and extreme rain events that struck the Front Range in September 2013. The purpose of interim regulations is to allow for the rebuilding of destroyed or severely damaged structures in a safe manner through a Hazard Mitigation Review process. The regulations allow flexibility for damaged structures to be rebuilt in different locations if significantly better from a risk hazard standpoint while retaining the County’s Floodplain Development regulations. Hazard Mitigation Review is outlined in Article 19-300 of the Boulder County Land Use Code.
Hazard Mitigation Review applies to rebuilding or restoring structures damaged or destroyed by the 2013 Flood, whether by flooding, debris flows, mudslides, slope instability, drainage channel shifts, area drainage system impairments or failures, soil saturation, or related hazards. Hazard Mitigation Review shall also apply to any work for which a county grading permit for earthwork between 50-500 cubic yards, and/or a floodplain development permit is required to repair or restore property damaged by the 2013 Extreme Rain and Flood Event and its associated natural forces.
View DC-13-0003: Front Range Flood and Extreme Rain Text Amendments to Article 19 of Land Use Code and DC-14-0004: Amendments to Boulder County Recovery and Rebuilding Regulations for more information on the Land Use Code regulations concerning flood rebuilding.
HMR Recovery Goals
- Rebuild resilient and sustainable communities through wise decisions.
- Work with the community in ongoing efforts and gain understanding of community needs.
- Assess the safety of the proposed restoration/construction, and avoid and mitigate the predicted and actual hazards.
- Educate owners concerning risks and assist in evaluating reasonable redevelopment plans and associated hazard mitigation measures with respect to future events.
Hazard Mitigation Review will help the property owner evaluate and understand the hazards on individual properties that have occurred as a result of the extreme rain event. It is designed to allow safer, more resilient redevelopment which takes into account the predicted hazards (such as floodplains) and the actual hazards (for example, where the floodplain mapping did not coincide with the flooding that occurred in September).
HMR applications are to be processed as quickly as practicable. Factors that may lengthen the time it takes to process an HMR include properties that are on (or below) steep slopes which may require geotechnical evaluation, properties adjacent to creeks that have changed course, and properties that require compliance with the floodplain regulations.
You may need to hire a technical consultant depending on the characteristics of your property. For example, if your house is on a steep slope, you may need to hire a geotechnical engineer to determine how to safely redevelop or whether it is safe to do so.
HMR Application Requirements
- Structure must be legally existing floor area.
- Article 4-400 floodplain regulations apply if in Floodplain Overlay District.
- Exemptions: Flood Recovery, Restoration and Repair Permits, Temporary Emergency Permits), Building Permits for restoration of utilities or infrastructure, Building Permits for small agricultural accessory structures such as loafing sheds or ditch head gates determined by the Land Use Director to have no potential to pose a hazard. These excluded Building Permits may be issued for a temporary period at owner’s risk.
- The application fee is $260, which includes a site visit by Land Use staff.
If you are the owner of a destroyed or severely damaged structure in unincorporated Boulder County and wish to rebuild, please contact the Flood Rebuilding & Permit Information Center at 303-441-1705 or firstname.lastname@example.org to begin the Hazard Mitigation Review process.