Regulation Updates

Regulation Amendments

Wildfire Regulation Revisions

On January 18, 2022, the Board of County Commissioners adopted proposed regulations updates regarding Wildfire (Case No. 21-128592AM). The changes are effective immediately. 

The adopted regulation changes with red-marks are below:
Section 2 – General Provisions and Regulations
Section 11 – Board of Adjustment
Section 39 – Wildfire Hazard Overlay District

The changes impact how Building Permits are processed in unincorporated portions of the County. First, proof of fire protection will be required for all new building permits. Second, any building permits for any new structure (including detached garages), the replacement of an existing structure, or any addition to a structure, above 6400 feet in elevation will require a defensible space permit. 

Please note that these changes were a part of Phase I of the Wildfire Regulation updates. The County is continuing to evaluate our regulations related to wildfire for further updates in Phase II, which is currently underway. See the Background section for more details.

Background

The County originally adopted the Wildfire Hazard Overlay District in 1976 and revisions have occurred several times to reflect best practices of the time. The current regulations apply to properties generally at or above 6400 feet in elevation. They require Defensible Space and Access Standards be met at the time of a building permit for a new dwelling, replacement of an existing dwelling, or additional space of 400 square feet or more to an existing dwelling. In 2019, the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) convened a Wildfire Risk Reduction Task Force to ensure a thoughtful, collaborative approach to address the challenges facing all. The Task Force presented their recommendations to the BCC on November 11, 2020. One of the Task Force recommendations was to strengthen county regulations and enforcement on defensible space.

Planning & Zoning is dividing updates to our regulations regarding wildfire into two phases. In Phase I, staff is proposing changes that may resonate with a broad segment of citizens and property owners in the County and can be readily accomplished. In Phase II, staff will tackle larger issues, such as updating the Wildfire Overlay Zone District map to be more consistent with the recommendations in the Jefferson County Community Wildfire Protection Plan, currently being updated by Jefferson County’s Emergency Management Division. 

In October 2021, Planning and Zoning staff created Phase I changes to both Section 39 – Wildfire Hazard Overlay District and Section 2 – General Provisions and Regulations. Staff requested comments from a broad variety of stakeholders including Fire Districts, Foresters, Citizens, Homeowner’s Associations, Water & Sanitation Districts, Adjacent Cities and Counties, and other County Divisions and Departments. After the comment period staff revised the Regulations and scheduled hearings.

Questions? Email us here.

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Previous Changes to the Regulations