Proposed Federal Emergency Management Agency


The County received notice from the US Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding proposed changes to the County's flood insurance rate maps (FIRM). The proposed changes include revisions to the base flood elevation (BFEs) boundaries, or 100-year flood plain, on the Clear Creek, Fall River, Soda Creek, and Chicago Creek stream systems. The Board of County Commissioners wants to inform potentially affected property owners of the revisions proposed by FEMA. See a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) map of FEMA's proposed revisions at Flood Hazard Comparison.

Revisions to the Flood Damage Prevention Regulations, Article 12 of the Guidelines and Regulations for Matters of State Interest (1041 Regulations)


Clear Creek County first adopted Flood Damage Prevention Regulations on June 12, 1989. The adoption of these regulations benefits the County by allowing participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Participation in the NFIP allows our citizens to purchase flood insurance which is extremely beneficial to those residents whose own homes or property located within or close to the 100 year floodplain (“[T]he area of land susceptible to being inundated as a result of the occurrence of a one-hundred-year flood”). In the event of a flood, insurance can help property owners recover from resulting property damage and/or loss.

The original maps adopted by the County with the flood regulations are dated March 11, 1980. Those maps roughly depicted floodplain areas within the major watercourses of the County. No exact studies were conducted by FEMA to determine the actual location(s) of the elevations of the 100 year flood within the County’s water course.

Following several studies conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the County adopted revised floodplain regulations and maps in 2012. Since 2012, FEMA has conducted additional studies for the Clear Creek, Fall River, Soda Creek, and Chicago Creek watercourses. The new studies have resulted in additional changes to the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for the said streams. In January 2018, the County notified all property owners affected by the revised and/or newly created 100 floodplain boundaries to inform them of the proposed changes and the appeal process. No appeals were received.

The amended maps are available on our webpage

In addition to adopting the revised FIRM maps, the County must also amend our floodplain regulations to meet the minimum standards set forth by the NFIP. The draft regulations outline the proposed changes. Additions are red and deletions are indicated by strikethrough. Language revisions proposed in the new regulations include the addition of definitions for Base Flood and New Construction, and a modification to the definition of a Structure to be consistent with the definitions provided in the state model ordinance provided by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The vertical datum defined in Mean Sea Level was changed from the previously used National Geodetic Vertical Datum to the North American Vertical Datum which is used in the new Flood Insurance Study and FIRMs. As well as the updates to the definitions, descriptions for two different types of Floodplain Development Permits were added to the regulations to allow for reduced permitting fees for proposed projects in the regulatory floodplain that do not require the same amount of staff time to administer as is typically required for Floodplain Development Permits that encroach into detailed study areas, floodways, or otherwise significantly impact the existing floodplain conditions. The new regulations also designate the County Engineer as the Floodplain Administrator rather than the Planning Director. Other changes include the requirement to elevate utility equipment to one foot above the Base Flood Elevation, provisions requiring anchoring of manufactured homes, and elaboration on the requirements for residential versus nonresidential construction on sites removed from the floodplain by the issuance of a FEMA Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill which are taken directly from the state model ordinance.

The amended regulations are available on our webpage

Public Hearings

The Clear Creek County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the 20th day of November, 2019 at 6:30 pm to consider the proposed revisions before recommending approval, approval with conditions, or denial to the Board of County Commissioners. The location of the public hearing is the Idaho Springs City Hall, 1711 Miner Street, Idaho Springs, CO 80452, where and when all parties may appear and be heard.

Prior to final action, the Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the 10th day of December, at 11:30 am, to consider the proposed revisions. The location of the public hearing is the Commissioners' Hearing Room in the Clear Creek County Courthouse, 405 Argentine Street, Georgetown CO, 80444, where and when all parties may appear and be heard.

The revised maps and regulations meeting the minimum standards of the NFIP must be adopted by the County by December 20, 2019 in order to avoid possible suspension from the National Flood Insurance Program. Suspension from the program means that new flood insurance policies cannot be sold and existing policies cannot be renewed.

Staff Recommendation

The Site Development and Planning Departments recommend approval of the revised draft regulations and maps so that the County can continue to participate in the National Flood Protection Program and to try to limit the impacts of flooding.

We welcome you to call our office at 303.679.2469 or email us to seek additional information regarding the revisions. Maps depicting the proposed revisions are available for review in our office located at the County Annex Building at 1111 Rose Street in Georgetown.