Homeowner faced with tough decision after his house was isolated by flood waters in Lefthand Canyon

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. - Eight months after the epic Colorado floods, a homeowner in Lefthand Canyon says the rebuilding process has been complicated -- especially since his home was isolated by flood waters.

Huy Lam lived at the mouth of Lefthand Canyon for 14 years. Prior to September's flood, the creek ran about 20 feet behind his home. After the flood, the creek redirected itself in front of his home, literally hitting just feet below his doorstep.

Views of the home during the flood show it completely isolated by water. Last month, the Natural Resources Conservation Service moved the creek to its original spot behind Lam's home.

"It’s been eight months now since we’ve been out of our house, and at this point we still don’t know the timeline for getting back in nor the path for how we’re going to get back in," Lam said.

The progress has been slow, but Monday Lam met with the county to get a better understanding of what needs to be done to his property before his family can move back in.

"Right now there’s at least two options. One of them will be to elevate our house up ...The downside is that cost about $50,000 ...The other option would be to not elevate the house, save that $50,000 and to do some flood mitigation. But there’s a risk of potentially the floodplain being re-mapped and changing and that could dramatically drive up our insurance rates," Lam said.

Lam said it's a gamble either way and it is something he and his wife will talk over in the days to come. However, he knows either way they will move back in.

"We love where we live. Our children were born here, and we always imagined this would be where they lived their entire childhood," he said. "Pre-flood it had always been a highlight of living here. Our kids would play in there 12 months out of the year..We’d play ice hockey on the back when it froze over. In the summer we’d have swim parties."

Lam has worked with dozens of agencies, including NRCS, FEMA, his homeowners/flood insurance and the various departments within Boulder County.

"You really need to be flexible and work with the situation as it is and it’s evolving day to day."

Lam hopes by the one-year anniversary of the flood they will have a move-in date set. His ultimate goal is to be home by Christmas.

For unincorporated Boulder County, there are currently 54 homes that have started the application process with the hopes to rebuild; 26 have been approved. Approximately 300 permits have been issued to homes for minor damage; 10 homes are being removed and 60 homeowners have expressed interest in buyout options.

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