Town Board Meeting: February 28, 2022

Town Board Meeting: February 28, 20225 min read

Hi neighbors! In Monday night’s Town Board Meeting, we heard a presentation on planning the Wildland Urban Interface, heard an update from SAFEbuilt on building plans and inspection services, approved a rebate of building permit fees and use taxes for residential properties impacted by the Marshall Fire, and adopted the 2021 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code, while allowing an opt-out for those rebuilding from the Marshall Fire. Ready to find out more on what happened? As usual, you may read this post in written form, subscribe to the Laura for Superior podcast, or scroll to the bottom for a video recap.

Disclaimer: While I do my best to represent an honest and accurate portrayal of meetings and events, the following should be considered an editorial that represents one person’s interpretation. At the request of my fellow Board members, I am not attributing any points to them. For the most unbiased and complete information, I encourage residents to watch the meeting video and draw their own conclusions – visit the town website at SuperiorColorado.gov for the official meeting video and meeting minutes.

Item 2D – Marshall Fire Update and Discussion

We heard a presentation from Molly Mowery and Kelly Johnston on planning the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) to learn tactics to mitigate occurrences of future fires. You can view the full report here.

We also heard public comment from ACES member Michelle Gazarik with a public service announcement that a team from CU Boulder is offering free soil sampling / testing for residents who are concerned that ash and other debris may be in their gardens. You may visit this site for more info and to sign up.

Item 3 – Consent Agenda

Next, our Board unanimously passed the entire consent agenda – including meeting minutes, the annual three-mile plan, additional funding of $8K to support the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport Community Noise Roundtable, and a service agreement of up to $350K with McDonald Farms for the removal of ash at Terminal Reservoir (this is what will ultimately clean up our water rather than the temporary reservoir bypass currently in place).

Item 4 – Update from SAFEbuilt on Building Plan Review and Inspection Services

We have contracted with SAFEbuilt to provide building plan reviews and inspections; we heard an update from Eric Penley, director of operations, on the pipeline of permits. There are currently 930 applications in the system year to date. Of that, 54 are permits for demolition, of which 8 have been issued, 15 are with Public Works for inspection, and 31 that are awaiting more information before they can be issued. SAFEbuilt hopes to issue another 15 demo permits in the next two weeks.

Item 5 – Rebate of Building Permit Fees and Town Use Taxes for Residential Properties Impacted by the 2021 Marshall Fire

Next, we considered an ordinance that would provide a full rebate of building permit fees and town use taxes for residents who have lost their homes in the fire. Our ordinance was structured to provide the rebate only to those who owned their properties at the time of the fire (i.e., those who buy a plot of land would not receive the rebate). Assuming that 10% of impacted properties are sold, and therefore not eligible for the rebate, this rebate would cost the town about $7.1M.

The full Board was in support of this ordinance, though there was some debate over whether the ordinance should be valid for two years or one. We ultimately passed it as valid for 730 days, so that those residents seeking to rebuild will have certainty that this rebate program will be open for two years without needing to worry about a potential new Board direction after November’s election.

Item 6 – Adoption of the 2021 Edition of the International Energy Conservation Code by Reference

Finally, we moved to consideration of updating our building codes. Back in December, before the fire, we considered adopting the 2021 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), but deferred to get more information on a few items. Now, there are a lot of concerns that updating our building codes will put financial strain on people who have lost their homes and are already uninsured to rebuild. The estimates we received indicated that the incremental cost of these updates would be about $5K-9K per home; however, XCel Energy offered a $7500 incentive for homeowners if and only if the town as a whole adopted the 2021 IECC. If we chose not to adopt the 2021 IECC, even those who rebuilt their home adhering to the 2021 code updates would not be able to receive the credit.

At our February 14 meeting, we held our first post-fire discussion on this topic, and directed staff to add amendments allowing properties destroyed in the Marshall Fire to opt-out of rebuilding to these new code standards (so they could instead construct to the current 2018 IECC standards). By adding the opt-out provision, those who rebuild to the 2021 code will still be eligible for the $7500 incentive from Xcel, which is now expected to cover the incremental cost increase between the 2018 IECC and 2021 IECC standards. More details on the one-time incentives for those impacted by the Marshall Fire can be found here. I thought this was a great compromise to ensure that those who want the incentive can get it, but those who are really struggling with cost have another option.

I want to encourage those rebuilding to take advantage of the XCel rebates and try to adhere to the 2021 IECC. In the last two weeks, Town Staff worked with Local Governments for Sustainability to calculate the annual emissions reduction per home by adhering to the 2021 IECC standards vs 2018, and found an additional annual reduction of 1.14 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per home. Furthermore, the cost to retrofit these improvements is typically significantly more than the cost to implement them as part of a new build.

Wrap Up

Thank you so much for taking the time to read / listen to this recap – I hope it is helpful! Our Board is always open to hearing your comments, questions, and concerns – you may always email your feedback to townboard@superiorcolorado.gov, or to me specifically at lauras@superiorcolorado.gov. As a reminder, any messages sent to a government email are part of the public record and will have your name attached; if you feel the need to write in anonymously, you may always comment at the bottom of my blog post recaps.

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