NewsMarshall Fire


Rebuilding after the Marshall Fire: Property owners face higher costs, law changes

Many homeowners have moved on after the devastating fire
Posted: 8:05 AM, Dec 30, 2022
Updated: 2022-12-30 10:12:33-05
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BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — After the Marshall Fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes in Boulder County, many homeowners expressed the desire to rebuild and return to their same neighborhoods. But the reality is that roughly two-thirds of homes destroyed were underinsured, and the costs to rebuild are far greater than what many families can afford.

Seventy-two lots that burned in the Marshall Fire are currently listed for sale. Boulder County Realtor Kelly Moye said there are many factors contributing to the difficulties rebuilding homes on those lots.

“Interest rates have definitely affected their ability to pay and afford to rebuild, but I also think there’s a little bit of ‘we’ve moved on,’” Moye said.

Moye believes it could take several years for the vacant lots to sell.

New building requirements have also added to the costs of rebuilding. In June, Boulder County passed rules requiring fire resistant construction materials to be used for roofs, attic venting, decking and fencing. The goal is to create a 3-foot, non-combustible zone around homes.

But another rule change passed by Boulder County may help some homeowners rebuild on their lots. In August, the County passed an amendment to the land use code to allow accessory dwelling units to be placed on lots where homes are being reconstructed. ADU’s can be up to 900 square feet.

Boulder County building code changes allows for ADU's

The director of Boulder County’s community planning and permitting department said the hope is that people can live in the ADU’s while they rebuild, then use them as a rental income property or another use down the road.

“Folks we've talked to have talked about aging in place and either having caretakers move into the accessory dwelling or they move in the accessory dwelling and someone else moves into the larger house,” Case said.

Case said two homeowners have applied for ADU’s since August, but others have expressed interest. Applications will be expedited for Marshall Fire victims.