LOUISVILLE, Colo. — The Louisville City Council approved an emergency zoning ordinance Tuesday that will allow developers to start drawing plans to rebuild the homes damaged by the Marshall Fire.
The intention of the order is to create "summary standards to reconcile any conflicting provisions or gaps that exist between adopted ordinances and development plans and the standards used for the original development of structures damaged or destroyed by the Marshall Fire."
The standards are meant to fix discrepancies in construction codes, such as housing designs, width and height standards, setbacks, material selections and perimeter design. The order also gives an adjustment board the ability to allow variances to houses and lots that do not fit the code.
Several discrepancies still exist for homeowners in Louisville as city council seeks to pave the way for residents to rebuild. Many homeowners impacted by the fires are concerned with energy codes that bind all new builds to strict energy efficiency regulations, including a new zero energy policy. Christian Dino, a Louisville architect and general contractor who lost his home in the fire, believes the city's Net Zero requirements could add up to $100,000 to a rebuild.
"I think my biggest concern right now is that the city has an agenda," said Dino."Seems as though the city is attempting to make costs higher for homeowners to where they can't afford to rebuild so that the city can purchase the blocks for their own affordable housing projects."
"The codes were built for a handful of homes, not for a catastrophic event," said Jerolyn Ochs, a resident of Louisville who lost her home in the fire. "I just really don't understand why it feels like it's becoming more of an uphill battle for the community."
Council will take up the energy codes in the coming weeks. Councilmember Chris Leh says the city council will consider a path forward.
"Know that we are considering the issues that have been raised around building codes very carefully, and we're going to continue to do that," he said. "There's a lot of uncertainty, and we're gonna try our best to get that uncertainty thoughtfully resolved where we can."