Andy Talks: Marshall Fire, Change in New Building Codes

Boulder realtor Andy Burgess of Burgess Group | Compass discusses breaking news which will affect victims of the Marshall Fire.

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In an effort to reduce the cost for Marshall Fire victims tasked with rebuilding their homes, officials in Superior this week chose to allow certain residents the ability to opt out of newly adopted 2021 building codes that require net-zero energy efficiency.

Original Article On BizWest

Louisville is considering a similar move, and city officials directed staff on Tuesday to begin drafting an ordinance that would put in place such an opt-out program.

“The idea of building codes is that you have energy savings over time,” Superior mayor Clint Folsom said, but in some situations — a devastating fire, for example — people need immediate savings.

The potential for an opt-out option in Lafayette proved quite controversial during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Frustration built over the lack of consensus for cost estimates related to rebuilding to the standards set forth in the new code, which was adopted last October.

Projections presented by city staff ranged from a few thousand dollars to nearly $20,000. Residents took issue with the accuracy of these estimates.

“When you come out and tell us that it’s going to cost $20,000 when you rebuild, that’s so inaccurate that it’s insulting,” Louisville resident Marie McClure said during a public comment session. “We have a wide range of cost estimates, anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 per home.”

Other speakers pleaded with city officials to keep in place the environment sustainability standards set forth in the building code.

“We are in the midst of a climate crisis,” Susan Nedell said. “And if we, as relatively well off Louisville residents, can’t build back in a sustainable manner, who is left to show the way?”

Louisville leaders had their own reasons for opposing an opt-out option.

Councilwoman Maxine Most wondered whether such a program, for which Marshall Fire victims would be solely eligible, would be fair to a resident whose home may burn down tomorrow.

“I’m concerned about a precedent, and I’m concerned about having different classes within the community.”

Despite their concerns, the Louisville City Council voted unanimously to direct staff to bring forward an opt-out plan, which is expected to be presented this month.

In Superior, town leaders also voted to provide rebates on building permits and fees for Marshall Fire