The city of Cripple Creek has reluctantly accepted sterner rules regarding flood damage prevention, at the request of the state’s water conservation board.
These new regulations have outlined a new flood hazard map for the area, compiled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and tougher standards for building certain structures in flood plains.
And although city leaders recently passed a new ordinance, they didn’t do so without hurling a few verbal bombs at the feds and flood regulators. “We are backed into a corner,” blasted veteran Councilman Terry Wahrer, a long-time resident of the area. “I have been up here for more than 30 years, and have never seen a flood event yet (in Cripple Creek).”
Wahrer and other council members noted that the city was basically being handed an ultimatum: Accept the new rules or residents couldn’t obtain flood insurance. They didn’t get any arguments from city attorney Lee Phillips, who advised the council to swallow the flood control medicine and move on.
Their comments, made at a recent meeting, followed a brief report by Jamie Prochno, a representative of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. She told the council that most of the new standards aren’t that unusual and deal with rules that may impact new construction in areas in and around flood plains.
For example, the construction of home basements or bottom-level floors in certain parts of the district could be impacted significantly under the rules. New permits may also require the elevation of homes or manufactured units in flood prone areas. The new regulations also encompass ways to reduce flood risks, identify critical facilities and evaluate other hazards. In addition, the ordinance outlines how variances can be obtained from the regulations for those seeking permits.
In her report, Prochno demonstrated how the fed and state rules fluctuate.
“It is not earth shattering,” said City Administrator Ray DuBois, who said the changes aren’t that different from the town’s previous flood control regulations.
Nevertheless, most council members interpreted the new rules as a way for the feds to exert more control over the community. Admitting they had no choice, the council passed the new flood damage ordinance and associated rules unanimously.