San Miguel County Announces New Floodplain Regulations
by Watch Staff
Aug 14, 2013 | 1741 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Insurance Premiums Slated to Increase

TELLURIDE – Starting October, major changes to the national floodplain insurance program will impact the owners of residential and commercial properties in Telluride and San Miguel County.  As a result of federal changes and directives from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), San Miguel County is making changes to its Floodplain Rules and Regulations.

Many will face higher flood insurance premiums and additional costs when the Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012 goes into effect Oct. 1.

“…property owners in Telluride and other parts of San Miguel County can expect to see their flood insurance premiums rise between six and 25 percent annually,” said local insurance agent Kevin Kell. “How much your individual premium increases depends on your flood zone, the age of your structure, and the information obtained on the Elevation Certificate.”

Because of the changes to federal and state laws, Colorado communities are faced with higher floodplain management standards intended to reduce risks to people and property in the event of flooding. Those communities that fail to adopt and implement the new standards will face severe penalties, including possible suspension from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and state sanctions.

The San Miguel County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved changes to the Floodplain Regulations in the Land use Code at their meeting Aug. 7. The county must update and adopt the changes to Land Use Code Appendix A-Floodplain Regulations to reflect the changes required by the Colorado Water Conservation Board by Jan. 14, 2014.

County staff recommends removal of the Floodplain Development regulations from the Appendix section of the land Use Code, and incorporation of the regulations into the LUC as a new Section 58, Floodplain Regulations. Modifications to the CWCB’s model ordinance include:

•  Removing the commissioners as entity reviewing the Floodplain applications and adding the designation of a Floodplain Administrator to administer and enforce these regulations;

• The county does not have a Board of Adjustment that would review variances and appeals of Floodplain Permit approvals or denials so staff has removed the Section Variance and Appeals section. Administrative Review appeals will be referred to the the commissioners. Application review appeals will be directed to the courts;

• There is an established an Administrative Review process by the Floodplain Administrator for allowed uses, a two-step review process for bridges over certain waterways, and a one-step commissioner special use permit process for all uses not listed under the two-step review process;

• The submission requirements have been added to the body of the regulations rather than as an attachment to the permit form;

• A major change is a new section addressing Critical Facilities which has been added pursuant to newly-adopted regulations by the CWCB;

• The county has combined the Floodway, Flood Fringe and Flood Prone District allowed uses, uses by Special Review and Prohibited Uses together rather than listing each district separately, to reduce repetition of language;

• New definitions have been added from the Model Ordinance.


More information, including the text of the LUC amendment and supporting materials, can be found on the County’s web site For additional information on the impacts of changes to the NFIP, please contact your insurance agent.

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