Town attorney James Brown presented a detailed letter and his opinion on the Town of Crawford adopting a floodplain ordinance and resolutions provided by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Brown spoke to the trustees at the April 3 council meeting.
Brown reviewed FEMA regulations. He wrote to the council that the town "would be representing to FEMA that it 'will enact, as necessary, and maintain in force in those areas having flood, mudslide (i.e. mudflows), or flood-related erosion hazards, adequate land use and control measures with enforcement provisions consistent with the criteria set forth in Section 60.3 of the National Flood Insurance Program Regulations.'"
Those regulations would require the town to establish a permit policy for all new development and construction in town. That would include placement of mobile homes.
The Town of Crawford does not have a building code, subdivision regulations, land use or zoning regulations.
Brown said the town would need to review all proposed development to make sure that "all necessary permits have been received from other governmental agencies." As an example, he noted section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
All permit applications would have to be reviewed by the town to determine if the new building site, subdivision proposal or mobile home park would be reasonably safe from flooding or mudslides. Section 60.3 (3) of the National Flood Insurance Program Regulations has "specific requirements for the design and construction of improvements."
Brown wrote, the reviews are to assure that new development is "consistent with the need to minimize flood damage within the flood-prone area." Also, utility services must be "located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage."
Within flood-prone areas, new and replacement water supply and sewer systems are "to be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of flood waters into systems."
The attorney noted that FEMA can impose additional requirements at a later date concerning special flood hazards.
Brown was concerned that the town "may not be well-equipped to administer and enforce such regulations." He suggested that staff would have to have specialized training and knowledge in construction and engineering of land improvements.
The trustees discussed hiring a building inspector on a case by case basis. The permit fees would cover the cost of the building inspector.
Brown said the ordinance would have the Board of Trustees as the administrator of the regulation.
The trustees are looking at the floodplain ordinance so residents can, if they choose, purchase flood insurance. Last year there were several flash floods with resulting mudslides in Crawford.
Standard homeowners insurance won't cover damage from floods. The U.S. Congress in 1968 established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help property owners — residential and commercial — to financially protect themselves from floods and hurricanes. Property owners can only purchase flood insurance if their community participates in the program. According to the NFIP website, that means the Town of Crawford must agree "to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding."
The proposed Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance states its purposes as to protect human life and health; minimize expenditure of public money for costly flood control projects; minimize the need for rescue and relief efforts associated with flooding; minimize prolonged business interruptions; minimize damage to critical facilities, infrastructure and public facilities; maintain a stable tax base by providing for the sound use and development of flood-prone areas in such a manner as to minimize future flood blight areas; and insure that potential buyers are notified that property is located in a flood hazard area.
The proposed ordinance lists the methods of reducing flood losses as the restriction or prohibition of uses that are dangerous to health, safety or property in times of floods, or cause excessive increases in flood heights or velocities; require that uses vulnerable to floods, including facilities which serve such uses, be protected against flood damage at the time of initial construction; control the alteration of natural floodplains, stream channels and natural protective barriers which are involved in the accommodation of flood waters; control filling, grading, dredging and other development which may increase flood damage; and prevent or regulate the construction of flood barriers which will unnaturally divert flood waters or which may increase flood hazards to other lands.
The trustees expressed concerns about the potential for a catastrophic event on "C" Hill which would send destructive mudslides into the town.
The Crawford Town Council will vote on May 1 whether to approve the floodplain ordinance and resolutions.blog comments powered by Disqus