COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - What started as an effort by two Colorado Springs councilmen to help landslide victims has developed into a proposed ordinance to regulate construction in landslide zones.
Don Knight and Tom Strand first explored the possibility of an ordinance two years ago after a rainy spring 2015 produced landslides that destroyed or threatened dozens of homes.
The ordinance was approved by the City Council in its first reading this week.
Peter Wysocki, the city's director of planning and development, said the ordinance would require builders of single-family homes to submit a geologic-hazards report before construction begins.
The requirement generally affects homes west of Interstate 25 and isolated areas east of the highway.
"A homebuilder or property owner must hire a geologist to do the study and submit it to the city Planning Department and city engineers," he said. "A report can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 depending on the size of the project."
Wysocki said each report showing landslide risk or other hazards will be reviewed by the Colorado Geological Survey, which will make recommendations on whether construction should be allowed.
"The city, however, will have the final decision," he said.
The ordinance, however, does not call for construction moratoriums or require that homebuyers be given a report by a seller, real estate agent or developer -- two variables considered by Knight and Strand.
"We can do only so much as far as regulating development," Wysocki said. "The city is not part of private real estate transactions."
Wysocki advised prospective homebuyers to ask questions and learn as much as possible in advance.