October 2023 Bite-Size Colorado Legislation News
Stay informed about the most recent developments in Colorado State Legislation! Keeping up-to-date with newly introduced laws is crucial, and HR Green is actively tracking the priorities of our state legislators to keep you in the loop. Here are our team’s insights on three topics that are making an immediate impact in Colorado.
SB23-166 Establishment Of A Wildfire Resiliency Code Board
(https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb23-166) This bill establishes a state-level board that will adopt Model Codes, Minimum Codes, and Standards.
All model codes and minimum standards that are adopted by the board will be required to be adopted beginning on July 1, 2025, and must be reviewed every three years after and updated or supplemented as the board determines may be necessary.
“GOVERNING BODY” MEANS:
- THE CITY COUNCIL, TOWN COUNCIL, BOARD OF TRUSTEES, OR OTHER GOVERNING BODY OF A CITY, TOWN, OR CITY AND COUNTY;
- THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF A FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT ORGANIZED PURSUANT TO PART 1 OF ARTICLE 1 OF TITLE 32;
- THE GOVERNING BODY OF AN IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT THAT PROVIDES FIRE PROTECTION SERVICES ORGANIZED PURSUANT TO PART 5 OF ARTICLE 20 OF TITLE 30; OR
- THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS WITH RESPECT TO THE AREA WITHIN A COUNTY THAT IS OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF A CITY OR TOWN AND OUTSIDE THE BOUNDARIES OF A FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT.
As stated in the bill, “A GOVERNING BODY WITH JURISDICTION IN AN AREA WITHIN THE WILDLAND-URBAN INTERFACE THAT HAS THE AUTHORITY TO ADOPT BUILDING CODES OR FIRE CODES SHALL ADOPT A CODE THAT MEETS OR EXCEEDS THE MINIMUM STANDARDS SET FORTH IN THE CODES WITHIN THREE MONTHS OF THE BOARD ADOPTING THE CODES IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 24-33.5-1236 (4)(b)(II)(D).”
HB23-1190 (https://www.leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb23-1190) was planned to be discussed in this newsletter but has since been vetoed by the governor.
Advantages of Engineering and Construction Manuals for a Governing Body
With the adoption of the wildfire resilience board, there will also be a requirement for codes and standards related to wildfire prevention and maintenance.
Engineering and Construction Codes and Standards may be directly adopted in a land development ordinance, city ordinance(s), or in a manual referred to by these ordinances. One advantage of adopting a manual is that updates may be made on an as needed basis as opposed to those governing bodies that have a specific timeline for their ordinances.
There are codes and standards in place to use as references including the Mile High Flood District Criteria and Manuals, Denver Water Regulations, CDOT construction and engineering documents, manuals, and details. Many regional authorities have codes and standards that may be adopted by a local government in place of developing their own.
Recent Development of Federal ADA PROWAG Rules Clarifications
Curb ramps and detectable warning surfaces are required where a pedestrian circulation path meets a vehicular way. This may require crossings in locations such as commercial and multifamily driveway entrances and trail crossings. On another note, elements such as accessible parking may not require truncated domes unless directly traveling into an active vehicular area.
‘In the final rule, the Board has defined “alteration” as “a change to or an addition of a pedestrian facility in an existing developed public right-of-way that affects or could affect pedestrian access, circulation, or usability” (R104.3). In so defining “alteration,” the Board has revised the requirements for added facilities, now allowing them to comply to the maximum extent feasible where existing physical constraints make compliance with applicable requirements technically infeasible (R202.3). The Board has also provided a definition for “developed” as “[c]ontaining buildings, pedestrian facilities, roadways, utilities, or elements” (R104.3). Taken together, the Board expects full compliance with the requirements for new construction on undeveloped land (i.e., greenfield), while any construction undertaken in an existing developed right-of-way is expected to comply to the maximum extent feasible where existing physical constraints make compliance with applicable requirements technically infeasible. The Board has concluded that these expectations for compliance are reasonable in light of existing infrastructure in developed rights-of-way, and the opportunity for full compliance in a new public right-of-way built on undeveloped land.’
Occasionally existing conditions such as physical constraints make full compliance with these guidelines “impracticable,” alterations must comply with the technical specifications of these guidelines. ‘In the final rule, the Board has replaced the term “impracticable” with “technically infeasible” and “extent practicable” with “maximum extent feasible,” which are the terms used in the 2004 ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines. See e.g., 36 CFR part 1191, App. B, 202.3 Exception 2.’ These changes are intended to help increase engineering judgement consistency.
In next month’s newsletter, we will discuss two more bills impacting local governments.
Note: The material contained in this newsletter is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent a legal opinion on any subject matter. We encourage you to review this summary and consult with your legal counsel to determine applicability to your particular situation.
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