BOULDER COUNTY, Colorado (CBS4)– Many people who lost their homes in the Marshall Fire are eager to begin the rebuilding process. But it may take longer than they had hoped.
“It will be an extremely complex affair for everyone,” said Alan Ferguson, looking at the twisting I-beams that once supported his house sitting in a burned basement. “We think we belong in the category of easy decisions to make.”
Ferguson and his wife Deborah Cave only finished building their home in the Panorama Park neighborhood three years ago. It had a stucco and stone exterior and a sprinkler system inside in addition to energy-saving technology like large solar panels. The fire was so hot, almost nothing is salvageable.
Having the wherewithal to get started and loving the design they had, they would love to make it easy for you.
“What we intend to do is build the exact same house that we had,” as soon as they get approval.
Ferguson says the county’s building department has been helpful and friendly so far. Its architect says the home’s design still meets current code.
“We will probably do things beyond what the county can ask for. For example, we will probably put a metal roof on our house.
The question remains, will they be able to speed up and start?
“We think there may be more skilled craftsmen available than there will be in six months or a year, a year and a half and you know that even things like materials may be more readily available soon. .”
With more than 1,000 homes lost, local leaders know housing needs to be replaced quickly. In 2013, after the floods, the county made life easier for people.
“We have a streamlined process in place with a one-stop shop and have a case manager to help them out,” said Michelle Krezek, chief of staff for Boulder County commissioners.
Although the matter will have to be voted on, she says she thinks that will likely happen in the case of the Marshall fire as well.
Many others are concerned about slow approval processes in affected cities and county.
“Yeah, I’m worried,” said Rob Lousberg, a multi-property owner.
Two of his houses burned down in the Sagamore neighborhood. He was especially concerned about people who had lost towns in the Old Upper Town around a place he owned that had survived.
“I don’t think they will be able to rebuild. Especially if Superior puts them through all the new regulations and stuff.
Old Town had older, smaller homes that did not meet current building codes in their design. Energy codes continue to be revised in the county, Krezek noted. The cities are the same.
“It’s getting more and more complicated,” Lousberg said. But higher standards increase rebuilding costs.
“They need something where these people can rebuild and have a reasonable home. You know they have to be able to live,” he said. “These people are 70 years old and they’re rebuilding with solar power and they’ll never get back, I’m not saying mean, before they’re dead, they’ll never get their money back.”
Some have limited incomes that may have allowed them to buy or build years ago, but if their home was paid off, Lousberg asked, how could they take out a loan?
Delays noted Krezek, are not always local government. Often it takes a long time to settle with the insurance companies to get the money to do this. So many questions that remain as communities try to move on while many remain in temporary accommodation, which can also be costly. Three weeks after the Marshall fire, much remains to be done.