Boulder County Comprehensive Plan Natural Hazards Element Update – BCCP-19-0002
2013 Flood damage

Boulder County Comprehensive Plan Natural Hazards Element Update - BCCP-19-0002


The Boulder County Comprehensive Plan (BCCP) is the county’s primary policy document to guide land use and related decision making in unincorporated Boulder County. The BCCP includes a chapter (“element”) focusing on county policies related to natural hazards. The existing Natural Hazards element was created in 1995. The element defines natural hazards as “those natural events which may result in a threat to human life, or which endanger the works of man.” Land use policies and regulations attempt to avoid or reduce risk by appropriately considering where people live and keep their belongings, as well as where to locate critical infrastructure.

In order to minimize the future loss of life, property, and resource damage in the county resulting from natural disasters and hazards, the element’s goals and policies aim to:

  1. avoid the placement of people and structures where these natural events occur, and;
  2. mitigate existing areas at risk.

The element focuses on the types of natural hazards identified as being of greatest concern in Boulder County when the element was developed, including: geologic hazards, flooding, wildfires, radiation, seismic activity, and extreme weather conditions.

Scientific data (e.g., event frequency and severity) and techniques (e.g., risk assessment methodologies) are now significantly more sophisticated than when the existing element was created. In addition, the county has experienced several natural disasters (e.g., wildfires and the 2013 Flood) in the past 25 years. The updated Natural Hazards element will reflect this, as well as incorporate best practices in public safety planning.

County staff will align the BCCP Naturals Hazards element update with the county’s 5-year Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan (MHMP) update, led by the Boulder Office of Emergency Management. Public input gathered during the initial phases of the MHMP update process, as well as other research for the MHMP, will inform the BCCP update. Coordinated public outreach activities through the end of 2019 will allow county residents to learn about and provide input for both planning processes.

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