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  • Floodplain Map
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Critical Facilities and Lodging Facilities Ordinance

Critical Facilities and Lodging Facilities Ordinance

City Council approved the Critical Facilities and Lodging Facilities Ordinance to ensure community safety, protect vulnerable populations, and maintain essential services during and after a major flood. The ordinance went into effect on March 1, 2014.

See the Emergency Management Plan Guidelines and Emergency Evacuation Plan Template to help your facility prepare.

Critical Facilities

  • At-risk populations such as schools, day cares and senior care facilities;
  • Essential services such as fire and police stations, and water and wastewater treatment facilities; and
  • Hazardous materials facilities.

Lodging Facilities

  • Hotels;
  • Bed and breakfasts; and
  • Dormitories.

Two New Requirements

Based on community and advisory board input, the ordinance includes the following two requirements for critical facilities and lodging facilities that are located in floodplains.

1. Flood Protection Measures for Critical Facilities in the 500-year Floodplain

The following requirements apply to approximately 40 critical facilities in Boulder.

Facility Type Flood Protection Method Compliance Triggers
  • At-risk populations
  • Essential services
Floodproof or elevate the structure. New uses, new buildings, additions, substantial improvements 1
or substantial modifications 2 .
  • Hazardous materials
Floodproof, elevate or contain hazardous materials 3 . New uses, new buildings, additions, substantial improvements 1 , substantial modifications 2 , or within 10 years.
  1. "Substantial improvements" are improvements that equal or exceed 50 percent of the building's value.
  2. "Substantial modifications" are expansions that equal or exceed 50 percent of the building's floor area.
  3. "Contain hazardous materials" means securing hazardous materials in a manner that will prevent their release during a flood.

2. Emergency Plans for Critical and Lodging Facilities in the 100-year and 500-year Floodplains

The following requirements apply to approximately 80 critical facilities and lodging facilities (31 public facilities).

Facility Type Emergency Plan Compliance Triggers
  • At-risk populations
  • Essential services
  • Hazardous materials
  • Lodging
Either an evacuation plan or a shelter-in-place plan that has been approved by an appropriate professional to ensure the plan meets safety requirements. New uses, development requiring a floodplain permit, or compliance within five years of the ordinance's adoption date.

Ordinance Background

City staff developed the Critical Facilities and Lodging Facilities Ordinance to help reduce flood risks to people, property and the environment. Past floods have demonstrated that flooding of critical facilities can disrupt essential services, increase costs and delay economic recovery. If critical facility and lodging facility occupants are unprepared and unaware of the best ways to respond to a flood, there is an increased safety risk and potential for loss of life.

Mobile Populations
In 2011, a draft version of the ordinance included emergency plan requirements for "mobile populations" facilities such as restaurants and theaters. These requirements were removed and the approved ordinance does not include an emergency plan requirement for all "mobile populations" facilities. The only "mobile populations" still included in the ordinance are lodging facilities.

Floodplain Regulations
The City of Boulder periodically reviews and updates its existing floodplain regulations to reflect evolving community needs. The city's "Comprehensive Flood and Stormwater Master Plan" recommends the development of flood protection measures for critical facilities located in city's floodplains, consistent with federal guidance.

Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan
The city's "Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan" calls for an ordinance to regulate new construction and improvements to critical facilities in the city's floodplains to help protect these facilities from potential flood losses and damages that could render them unusable during an emergency.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System
The NFIP Community Rating System provides guidance to help local governments determine which critical facilities should be protected from flood damage. Using these federal guidelines, the city developed and presented three management strategies to the community for feedback. Based on the community and advisory board input received, city staff recommended requirements for critical facilities and lodging facilities located in the 500- and 100-year floodplains.