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Marshall Fire victims in Louisville demand city council suspend new building codes

Rally at Louisville City Hall
Posted at 8:42 AM, Feb 28, 2022

LOUISVILLE, Colo. — More than 100 people rallied outside Louisville's City Hall Sunday afternoon to demand the city council suspends new building codes they say make rebuilding after the Marshall Fire more expensive.

"We are in a crisis. We are trying to stabilize our lives and come back, and these codes just make it more expensive," organizer Audrey DeBarros said.

She lost her home on West Mulberry Street to the devastating fire in December. She wants to start over, but she says new net-zero building codes that went into effect in November are getting in the way.

"To require citizens who have lost everything to be on the forefront of innovation when the private sector, you know, doesn't really know how to build to that yet is really not fair," DeBarros said.

Based on estimates from builders and HOAs, homeowners at the rally suspect the Zero Energy Residential Building Provisions will cost an additional $20,000-$100,000. The new codes include, for example, infrastructure for electric vehicle charging.

The matter has former Louisville mayor Chuck Sisk weighing in.

"Let's meet our residents, and let's find ways to take some of the uncertainty out of their lives, like suspending the building code," he said at the rally.

Louisville's current mayor, Ashley Stolzmann, was not in the audience, but two council members were.

"The point of a rally, I think, is to be heard, and we are here and we are listening" council member J. Caleb Dickinson said.

The two were often drowned out by the crowd, but they signaled support for suspending these new building requirements for Marshall Fire victims and allowing them to rebuild using 2018 codes.

"We’re gonna make the best decision or, at least, I'm going to cast the best vote that I can based on it," council member Chris Leh said.

The city council is expected to have a discussion about a meeting Tuesday, which begins at 6 p.m. Mayor Stolzmann did not respond to a request for comment.