Dear HOA Representatives,
Jefferson County Planning & Zoning is beginning the process of revising regulations related to Wildfire. 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 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 is requesting comments from a broad variety of stakeholders including Fire Districts, Foresters, Citizens, Homeowner’s Associations, Water & Sanitation Districts, Adjacent Counties, and other County Divisions and Departments. In general, the proposal includes:
Adding proof of fire protection to all building permit applications;
Expanding the types of Building Permits that would require Defensible Space; and
Requiring Defensible Space for the land along the edge of the road as travelled where adjacent to public roads.
Links to the proposed regulation changes are below:
Please submit any comments on these regulations by Wednesday, November 3 to PZRegRev@co.jefferson.co.us.
Please remember these are revisions that staff thinks are widely acceptable and could be readily accomplished. A second phase will address issues that may be more complex.
Wildfire Hazard Regulation Update Team
Heather Gutherless, AICP
Planning and Zoning Division