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DC-15-0004: Amendments to floodplain regulations and related provisions

DC-15-0004: Amendments to floodplain regulations and related provisions

On September 17, 2015, the Board of County Commissioners authorized staff to pursue text amendments to the Boulder County Land Use Code in Docket DC-15-0004: Proposed Boulder County Land Use Code Amendments to the County’s floodplain regulations, codified in Articles 4-400 et seq., and related provision of the Code in Article 3 (Processes), Article 4 (Zoning), and Article 18 (Definitions).

Background

The September 2013 Flood Event significantly changed the real-world floodplain areas throughout the county. Under current Land Use Code regulations, both the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) must approve changes to the boundaries of the Floodplain Overlay District; the result is that it takes a long time to update the regulatory maps and studies the county staff are using to reflect the county’s real-world floodplain areas. While the County Engineer currently has the authority to regulate in the floodplain based on best available data that has not been approved by FEMA and the CWCB, provisions do not currently exist in the Code for a public process to keep citizens informed about the existence of best available data that may affect them. This can result in confusion for residents about the data by which they are being regulated.

The Floodplain Management, in collaboration with the Land Use, are proposing revisions to the Floodplain Overlay District provisions of the Code to allow more accurate reflection of real-world conditions post-Flood and to more effectively and efficiently incorporate best available data into our regulatory scheme. This will allow county staff to better protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of and visitors to Boulder County and afford residents an opportunity to be part of the process of incorporating best available data and to have certainty about the regulations and associated mapping that affects property in the unincorporated parts of county.

Staff would also like to explore changes to or elimination of Article 4-408, which addresses nonconforming uses and structures within the Floodplain Overlay District, to bring floodplain regulations into conformance with the general nonconforming uses and structures language of Articles 4-1000 to 4-1003, in order to create a more transparent, comprehensible regulatory scheme for staff and the public alike. Similarly, staff would like to explore changes to Article 4-409, which addresses appeals and variances to decisions made by the County Engineer based upon or made in the administration or enforcement of the floodplain regulations, to bring floodplain appeals and variances into conformance with the general appeals and variance language of Article 4-1201.

Finally, staff will explore updates to related provisions in the code in order to best protect the health, safety, and welfare of Boulder County residents. No changes to the floodplain maps which define the floodplain overlay district will occur as part of this regulatory update. The proposed updates only affect unincorporated Boulder County.

Past Public Meeting and Hearing Information

Board of County Commissioners Public Hearing and Public Meeting

On September 1, 2016, the Board of County Commissioners took public comment and voted to table adoption of proposed amendments to the Boulder County Land Use Code floodplain regulations, which include updates to Land Use Code Article 4-400 and related provisions which govern the Floodplain Overlay District.

BOCC Action: The Commissioners provided additional time for public review and comment.

On September 28, 2016, the docket was heard at a Board of County Commissioners hearing. No changes to the floodplain maps which define the floodplain overlay district occurred as part of this regulatory update. The updates only affect unincorporated areas of Boulder County, and are effective October 17, 2016.

BOCC Action: On September 28, 2016, the Board of County Commissioners voted 3-0 to adopt amendments to the Boulder County Land Use Code floodplain regulations.

Documents:

On September 1, 2016, the Board of County Commissioners held a public hearing regarding Docket DC-15-0004: Proposed Text Amendments to floodplain regulations and related provisions. Public testimony was taken.

BOCC Action: The Commissioners voted to table adoption of the proposed amendments to provide additional time for public review and comment.

Documents: Staff report to Board of County Commissioners for September 1, 2016

Planning Commission Public Hearing

On August 17, 2016, a public hearing was held by the Planning Commission regarding DC-15-0004: Proposed text amendments to floodplain regulations and related provisions. Public testimony was taken.

PC Action: A motion to approve and recommend approval to the Board of County Commissioners was approved 6-0.

Documents: Staff report to Planning Commission for August 17, 2016

Public Meeting

On June 26, 2016, Boulder County area watershed coalitions and Boulder County staff held a question and answer session on the proposed amendments to the floodplain regulations.

Public Meeting

On July 14, 2016, the Boulder County-area watershed coalitions and Boulder County staff held a question and answer session for the public to explain recent proposed amendments to the Boulder County floodplain regulations.

Planning Commission Public Hearing

On June 15, 2016, a public hearing was held by the Planning Commission regarding DC-15-0004: Proposed text amendments to floodplain regulations and related provisions. Public Testimony was taken.

PC Action: A motion was approved to continue the hearing to the August Planning Commission meeting.

Documents:

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