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Marshall Fire victims concerned Louisville's green building code could prevent rebuilds

Marshall Fire victims concerned green building code could prevent rebuilds
Posted at 6:31 PM, Feb 15, 2022

LOUISVILLE, Colo. — Sifting through the little that is left of his Coal Creek home, Chris Fuller is looking at the bigger picture.

"I'm kind of girding myself for the battle ahead," said Fuller, who is under-insured and worried the city's new Net Zero green building codes might price him out. "It is going to be placing, I think, a financial burden that may make the difference in whether some of us can afford to rebuild."

Tuesday night, Louisville City Council approved an emergency rebuilding ordinance, and Net Zero is the next debate.

"I believe that nobody should have to choose between an affordable home and an energy-efficient home," said councilmember Kyle Brown.

Brown says the city is working with Xcel and other partners to defray some of the costs of the new codes that went into effect late last year.

In a public letter, Colorado Governor Jared Polis promised he would support legislation to fund a "sustainable and resilient recovery for your community and others in the future."

At this point, no funding has been guaranteed, and Brown says he feels the urgency to have answers.

"People are already having to make decisions about whether they can stay or whether they need to find another place," Brown said. "We want to keep them in Louisville."

Meanwhile, Christian Dino, a Louisville architect and general contractor who lost his home in the fire, believes the city's Net Zero requirements could add up to $100,000 to a rebuild.

"I think my biggest concern right now is that the city has an agenda," said Dino."Seems as though the city is attempting to make costs higher for homeowners to where they can't afford to rebuild so that the city can purchase the blocks for their own affordable housing projects."

Dino, Fuller and other neighbors are pushing to return the building codes to 2018 standards for fire victims who are still sifting through their options.

"For those of us who are having to rebuild, not because we chose to but because we have to, I think that's a practical thing to do," said Fuller.