Stormwater Master Plan

Update 05.22.19

The Estes Park Town Board and Larimer County Board of Commissioners met during a joint meeting on May 15 to discuss the proposed Estes Valley Stormwater Management Program and the associated utility. Town Public Works Director Greg Muhonen presented results from the public outreach effort and also displayed the draft floodplain map under consideration by FEMA. The meeting included time for public comment resulting in nine individuals speaking who expressed either their support or opposition of this program.

Following public comment, the two boards discussed this proposed program with emphasis on the anticipated floodplain map and associated flood insurance, hydrology study, and a potential grant to fund three essential projects identified in the draft Stormwater Master Plan. The application is due July 15. If awarded, funds would support widening the Big Thompson River channel between the US Hwy 36 Bridge to the Riverside Bridge and a multi-use path along the south river bank. Water recreational opportunities could be explored. It also includes replacement of the Riverside Bridge and the Rockwell Bridge.

The Boards decided to postpone implementing any stormwater user fees until three preliminary steps are completed. First, they expressed interest in completing the grant project and then conducting a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) to assess how much this work would reduce the floodplain for the adjacent portions of downtown Estes Park. The Count Commissioners offered a letter of support for the Town's application.

Second, concerns were expressed about the result of the 2016 hydrology study. The Town Board asked staff to bring this topic back for further discussion at a study session. This is tentatively scheduled for June 11, 2019.

Third, they indicated sales tax could be considered in the future and possibly in 2024 when the current 1A sales tax sunsets. The County Commissioners deferred to the Town Board. Additional evaluation and discussion will be needed on this item.

This study session was recorded and can be viewed at

Update 04.30.19

Following are the results of the two public outreach efforts implemented for the proposed Stormwater Utility. Thanks go out to our property owners for taking the time to share individual preferences on this important topic. Attached below are links to five documents. The first two reported the results from approximately 200 responses to Questionnaire #1 in June/July 2018. Social media, outreach meetings, and press releases were used to invite participation in the questionnaire. The remaining three documents summarize the 900 responses to the March/April Questionnaire #2. The outreach efforts included social media, individual meetings, press releases, and over 8,500 direct mailed invitations to participate. There are thousands of very diverse comments to review. Excerpts can be extracted to support the full spectrum of options for this program. In an effort to provide a short overview of the results of Questionnaire #2, following are observations of the majority sentiments shared by responding property owners:

  1. 63% agree stormwater drainage problems exist.
  2. 70% agree the Town and County should act to address flooding risk.
  3. 52% indicate a user fee of some amount should be part of the program funding solution. Of those, 48% feel the user fees should be zero or less than 5% of the program costs.
  4. 71% suggest a sales tax should be used to fund 40% to 100% of the program costs.
  5. 53% feel grants should pick up more than 20% of the program cost. Of those, 95% feel grants should provide more than 5% of the program revenue. [Note: additional local match funds (typically 20%-50%) are required in order to receive grant funding]
  6. 71% feel the proposed stormwater management fees are too high.
  7. 71% favor funding some type of stormwater utility. Of those, 30% say get started now and 29% say to take a different approach (most prefer we not move forward).

Public Works staff from the Town and the County will meet with the Town Board of Trustees and Board of County Commissioners at a joint meeting May 15 to hear public comments and decide if further action (creation of stormwater ordinance and an Intergovernmental Agreement) should be taken. The creation of a stormwater utility and implementation of any user fees or sales tax will NOT occur at this meeting. Additional future meetings and decisions are required to accomplish these actions.

Data Summary Thru July, 2018

Stormwater Questionnaire #1 Comments

Stormwater Questionnaire #2 Comments

Stormwater Questionnaire #2 Data Results

Stormwater Questionnaire #2 Communication Log

Estes Valley Stormwater Management Utility Resources

Stormwater Frequently Asked Questions

Proposed Stormwater Fee Spreadsheet - Includes $28 million in grant funding (to search for your information, please use 'Ctrl + F' and enter your search criteria)

Proposed Stormwater Fee Spreadsheet - Does not include $28 million in grants (to search for your information, please use 'Ctrl + F' and enter your search criteria)

Stormwater Management Program Overview Letter

Joint Town Board & Larimer County Commissioners Study Session - February 19, 2019

Presentation Material for Joint Study Session - February 19, 2019

Estes Valley Stormwater Management Project Resources

Stormwater Master Plan

Master Plan Executive Summary

Stormwater Utility Feasibility Study

Comparison Map of Floodplain and Stormwater Improvements

Nonstructural Flood Mitigation Assessment (Silver Jacket Program)

Floodplain Maps

Estes Valley Development Code Area Map

Stormwater Management Project Public Outreach Presentation - Updated and revised 6/11/18 based on public feedback received in the June public outreach meetings

Stormwater Master Plan Project

The Town of Estes Park's stormwater master plan will identify problem drainage areas and lay out a path for the Town to complete future drainage improvement projects. This plan is a significant first step toward a safer and more sustainable Estes Park. It has been a critical need for Estes Park for many years, and this was never more evident than during the 2013 flood. Many of Estes Park’s existing drainage channels, inlets, culverts and ponds were inadequate to convey the flows that resulted from that rainfall event. The Town suffered significant damage from which it is taking years to recover.