Stormwater: Accentuation of Assets and Mitigation of Liabilities | Spotlight on the Estes valley

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Stormwater runoff does not respect property lines


For the City of Estes Park, water is both an asset and a liability.






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When not properly managed, stormwater can damage drains, roads, structures and more.


The clean, fresh, tasty and plentiful water that the City provides to citizens is an essential asset for everyone who lives, works or visits here. If the water went away, they and the city would probably go too.

Water from rain or snow that the soil, trees and plants do not absorb is known as storm water. This water is also the responsibility of the City. Careful management of it can prevent damage to the environment which could subsequently endanger city dwellers.

The city administrators and I take full care of the water we drink and the water that runs down the hill, across the road and into a ditch. A brief look at the policies and practices of the City clearly shows this.

City policies require that each land use change request include all possible stormwater effects on properties downstream at historical flow. A mitigation plan for these effects must be part of a proposal.

Planning for potential storm water incidents is an established practice of the City. The City’s Stormwater Master Plan (PGS) is one example. Updated in July 2019, SMP proposes projects to contain 0.1%

probable flood flows near river channels; and reduction of new floodplain boundaries to pre-2013 conditions. The projects have a total estimated cost of $ 62 million. The SMP also includes proposed solutions for 350 neighborhood flood problems, at an estimated total cost of $ 17 million.

Other plans address the unique challenge of stormwater accumulating in large drainage basins that endanger developed areas of the city. They aim to reduce the impact of watersheds on floodplains and reduce the cost of flood insurance for property owners. To undertake this kind of planning, the City would need additional funds and staff.

Another practice is to carry out feasibility studies. For example, a study conducted in 2018 questioned landowners on the feasibility of the city creating a stormwater service. The study reported that 63% of respondents believe there are storm water issues, 70% believe the city and county of Larimer should face the risk of flooding, and 71% support the use of the funds. of sales tax to cover the costs of doing so.

Another key practice is the intentional way in which former mayors and administrators and current administrators and mayors remain focused on stormwater issues from quarter to quarter. For example, two years ago my predecessor Todd Jirsa and the administrators at the time filed a storm water utility claim pending the outcome of two grant applications – one for $ 25 million – by the city ​​public works department. Neither request received funding. So, this fall, the stormwater issue, including the possibility of creating a utility, will be considered by the current set of directors and myself.

When we are considering storm water issues, please plan to share any written comments with us about them. Best of all, as in-person Trustee meetings resume August 13, please plan to join us at Town Hall when storm water is the order of the day to help us accentuate assets and mitigate the liabilities.

I look forward to seeing you there.


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