Docket Z-17-0002 Zoning Map Amendments to the Floodplain Overlay District based on CHAMP Phase II Floodplain Mapping

Boulder County Land Use Code map amendments in Docket Z-17-0002 amended the County’s Floodplain Overlay District with revised floodplain mapping developed through the Colorado Hazard Mapping Program (CHAMP) and related studies. View Resolution 2018-78, approving Land Use Docket Z-17-0002. The Map Amendments in Exhibit A are approved for incorporation into the Floodplain Overlay District of the Boulder County Zoning Map, effective August 1, 2018 for all stream reaches excluding lower Boulder Creek floodway, and effective October 1, 2018 for lower Boulder Creek floodway.

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Past Public Meetings and Hearings

Board of County Commissioners Public Hearing – July 24, 2018

The Board of County Commissioners reviewed the proposed comprehensive zoning map amendments to the Floodplain Overlay District (“FO District”), specifically the Boulder County Floodplain and Floodway, based upon a second phase of draft floodplain mapping from the Colorado Hazard Mapping Program (“CHAMP”), Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”), and other best available information. A motion was made to approve the amendments, and was approved by a vote of 2-0.
Documents:

Planning Commission Public Hearing – June 20, 2018

A Planning Commission Public Hearing was held on June 20, 2018, on proposed zoning map amendments to the Floodplain Overlay District (“FO District”), specifically the Boulder County Floodplain and Floodway, based upon a second phase of draft floodplain mapping revisions and revised analyses from the Colorado Hazard Mapping Program (“CHAMP”), Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”), and other best available information. Public testimony was taken.
Staff Planners: Varda Blum and Erin S. Cooper
Action: Planning Commission approved by a vote of 8-0.
Documents:

Planning Commission Study Session – May 16, 2018

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Background

The September 2013 flood significantly changed creek size, shape, and location and altered 100-year floodplains in areas throughout Boulder County and other areas of the state. In response, the State of Colorado has taken steps towards bolstering long-term planning and resiliency efforts by approving funds through Senate Bill 15-245 for CHAMP, which is managed by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (“CWCB”). CHAMP is updating local hazard information including producing new regulatory floodplain maps for the most affected waterways. Most of the current effective regulatory floodplain maps for Boulder County were produced in the 1980’s. In addition to the changes to waterways caused by the 2013 Flood, many land use changes have occurred since the 1980’s, the available information and technology has increased in accuracy, and CWCB modeling standards for delineation of the floodway have become more conservative. Ultimately, the new floodplain maps produced by CWCB/CHAMP will go through FEMA’s extensive review and adoption process to be adopted by FEMA as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (“FIRMs”).

Comprehensive zoning map amendments to the Floodplain Overlay District, specifically the local Boulder County Floodplain and Floodway, to adopt draft mapping from CHAMP Phase I were undertaken in 2017 (Docket Z-17-0001). These map amendments were accomplished through the process set forth in the floodplain regulations adopted by the Board of County Commissioners under Dockets DC-15-0004 and DC-17-0001 and included technical review, public notification, and hearings before the Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners.

The amended Floodplain Overlay District extents and data produced by Docket Z-17-0001 (CHAMP Phase I local adoption) have already allowed more accurate reflection of real-world conditions post-Flood. Property owners are using updated information regarding flood risks and taking proactive measures to protect people and property before the next significant flood event. The Phase I map amendments are also allowing for more accurate regulatory decisions.

Staff intends to pursue additional comprehensive zoning map amendments, based upon the second phase (“Phase II”) of CHAMP draft floodplain remapping, through Docket Z-17-0002 and completion of associated technical review, public notification, and hearings. Both Phase I and II processes have also included extensive community outreach.

Incorporation of CHAMP Phase II draft mapping into the Floodplain Overlay District will supplement the already adopted Phase I mapping with the second of the two major phases of post-Flood best available floodplain information. Local adoption of the updated maps in the Phase I and II reaches as compared to the alternative of waiting at least three, and likely closer to five years, for FEMA to adopt the maps as FIRMs, have allowed and will continue to allow County staff to better protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of and visitors to Boulder County. For more information about the current remapping project, visit the Floodplain Remapping home page.

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