ABSTRACT

FEMA Mitigation Best Practices: Adhering to Floodplain Management Practices Saves Business   [open pdf - 40KB]

"As a local business owner in Estes Park watched flood waters inundate nearby homes and businesses in September, he was grateful he followed the advice of the local floodplain manager and the director of community development - to elevate and to add at least one and a half to two feet of freeboard. Freeboard is the amount of watertight surface between a given water level and the lowest possible entry point during flooding. 'I listened to them,' said Bret Freedman, broker/owner of Estes Valley 8z Real Estate. 'All of that stuff was new to me and it sounded very expensive. I didn't really want to do it. But my wife Jan said, 'You either have to put your trust in this town or get out.' So I listened to her.' Will Birchfield, floodplain manager in Estes Park, said, 'I recall Bret was pretty upset at the time. The town has no freeboard requirements,' said Birchfield. 'However, we do recommend that structures be built to exceed our base flood elevation of 7,548.6 feet above sea level by at least one and a half feet.' Freedman's wife Jan designed the building. He took the plans to a local builder who informed him that building the kind of structure that he had always dreamed of owning was going to be a challenge because of its proposed proximity to the Big Thompson River. Freedman met with an engineer to determine what needed to be done to fulfill the construction requirements. An elevation certificate was secured that documents the building's elevation."

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