Hinsdale County Construction Planning Guidelines 2017

Hinsdale County Building Department Construction Planning Guidelines as of 1-1-2017

  • Zoning:  What zoning district are you in?  How does it affect your project?  Will you be required to obtain a special or conditional use permit?  What subdivision covenants must you consider?
  • Historical District:  Is your building site within the Historical District?  Review by the Town Historical Preservation Commission is required.  Applications are available at the Town Hall, 230 North Bluff Street.
  • Setbacks:  What is required within the specific zoning area or subdivision for distances from property lines, wells, OWTS, propane tanks, etc.?
  • Floodplain:  Is the proposed building site within a floodplain?  Do you need to apply for a floodplain development permit?  Will you need an engineered foundation, building plan or sewage disposal system? Applications are available at the County Administration offices, 311 North Henson Street.
  • Water & Sanitation District:  Is your property within the water and sanitation district or is it within 400 feet of district water or sewer lines?  Have you paid your tap fees and installed a water meter?  If you are in a subdivision, does it have its own water system or sewage disposal system?  If you are outside the water and sanitation district, how will you obtain potable water and treat wastewater?
  • Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS):  Do you need to apply for an OWTS permit?  Will the soil at the proposed building site support an OWTS?  If you have a commercial operation, will you have to meet state OWTS requirements?  Will you need to have an engineered system because of being located in a floodplain, wetland, high water table, highly compacted or rocky soil, etc.?  Applications are available at the County Administration Office, 311 North Henson Street.
  • Water System:  If you are not in the water and sanitation district or a subdivision with such systems, how will you obtain potable water?  Obtain well permit information from the State of Colorado.  Will a community water system under state regulations be required?
  • Drainage:  Does building site allow proper drainage away from structures?  Are there any possible flash flood washes that may affect the building?
  • Geologic Hazards, Avalanche Zones, Steep Slopes, etc.:  Are there natural hazards associated with your building site?  Specially engineered buildings may be required.
  • Soil Conditions:  Will conditions at the proposed site support a structure?  Is the site on bedrock, wetlands, mine tailings or waste rock?  Will you have to blast or bring in structural fill?
  • Subdivision Regulations (if applicable):  Does the HOA require architectural review?  Are there covenants that must be considered?
  • Road Cut Permit:  Does your driveway access a County Road?  Does utility installation require excavation along or across a County Road?  Obtain a Road Cut Permit.  Applications are available at the County Administration Office, 311 North Henson Street.
  • Building Permit Application:  Applications are available online or from the County Administration Office, 311 North Henson Street.  Please see Hinsdale County document ‘Building Permit Guidelines’.  Plan review may take up to 30 days.  Please plan accordingly.
  • Use Tax:  Use Tax Declaration is available online or from the County Administration Office, 311 North Henson Street.  Please see Hinsdale County document ‘Building Permit Guidelines’.
  • Additional Considerations:  Please see ‘Building Permit Guidelines’.
    • 2012 IRC/IBC
    • 2009 IFC
    • Foundation frost protection
    • Snowload
    • Insulation requirements
    • State demolition permit
    • See Building Official for additional design criteria
  • State Plumbing Permits:  All plumbing installations must meet state code requirements and be inspected and approved by a State of Colorado plumbing inspector.  All permitting is coordinated through the Colorado State Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).
  • State Electrical Permits:  All electrical installations must meet state code requirements and be inspected and approved by a State of Colorado electrical inspector.  All permitting is coordinated through the Colorado State Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).
  • Minimum Required Inspections:  Please see ‘Building Permit Guidelines’.
    • Preliminary/Site
    • Foundation
    • Framing
    • Roof
    • Mechanical
    • Plumbing & Electrical (by State of Colorado)
    • Insulation
    • Drywall/Fire Separation
    • Drainage
    • Final Inspection
  • Certificate of Occupancy (CO):  You cannot utilize your structure or move into your residence until all necessary inspections have been completed and you have been issued a CO.

Hinsdale County Building Department
311 North Henson Street
P.O. Box 277
Lake City, CO  81235



Ute Ulay Mill & Town Site

The Ute and Ulay mines were some of the best known silver and lead producers in Colorado.  Between 1874 and 1903, the mines were responsible for $12 million worth of minerals, which today would amount to more than $280 million in value.  Located in Hinsdale County, the mines were largely responsible for the development of Lake City.  The booming mining-based economy attracted thousands of people to the area and the mines continued to remain in production on and off through the 1980’s.

Thanks to LKA Gold, the ten-acre site has been donated to Hinsdale County and the environmental stabilization work completed with the assistance of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Colorado Department of Public Health & the Environment (CDPHE), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  The site consits of 18 structures including residential cabins, a blacksmith shop, a boarding house a red-cedar water tank, and assayer’s office.  Over the past twenty years, the structures have continued to degrade during adverse weather and many are unstable.  Due to the unsafe nature of the site, the public is currently not allowed near the buildings.  A Historic Structures Assessment will need to be completed to determine each structure’s needs in order to stabilize the buildings for future reuse.

The Ute and Ulay mines, mill complex and surrounding Henson town site are rare examples of a more complete mining coummunity with large amount of historic fabric remaining.  The site’s location along the Alpine Loop Backcountry Scenic and Historic Byway increases its opprotunity for eduation and a heritage tourism desination.

Colorado Preservation, Inc. (CPI) was founded in 1984 to promote historic preservation by providing information, education, training, expertise, and advocacy to Colorado communities and individuals. DPI engages leaders with local governments and non-profit organizations and assists historic property owners, educators, and interest citizens to develop successful preservation projects and programs.  CPI administers Colorado’s Most Endangered Places Program (EPP), present the annual Saving Places Conference, hosts the Dana Crawford & State Honor Awards recognizing excellence in historic preservation, and maintains an active presence in the state legislatrue.  CPI also provides services in grant and preservation program management, and undertaikes projects that serve as models for pereservation statewide.

(Taken from Colorado’s Most Endangered Places Issue No. 18 2015)

Spruce Beetle in Hinsdale County

Below is a link to a Quick Guide produced by the Colorado State Forest Service to promote knowledge transfer with regard to the Spruce Beetle in the Colorado’s spruce forest ecosystem..

Spruce Beetle Quick Guide

Safety in the Colorado Mountains

Hinsdale County Search and Rescue is a unit of the Hinsdale County Sheriff’s Office.  It is an all-volunteer organization, trained and equipped for search and rescue on mountainous terrain or in extreme weather.  HCSAR provides extensive training for its members and researches mountain rescue equipment and techniques.  The organization’s diverse membership includes climbers, engineers, healthcare providers, and other professionals.  HCSAR is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization.

Colorado Mountain Hazards

Because of Colorado’s highly variable climate and terrain, backcountry users need to educate themselves before venturing out.  Weather can change rapidly.  Check the forecast and keep an eye on the sky to anticipate changing conditions.

Lightning:  Lightning can strike anywhere but tends to hit high places.  In Colorado, summer afternoon thunderstorms are common.

Dramatic Temperature Drops:  Snowfall happens – even in summer!

Precipitation:  If you get wet, it’s difficult to stay warm.

High Water:  Water levels in Colorado streams and rivers can rise quickly.  High water from flash floods or snowmelt is possible.

Heat/Sun:  Keep well hydrated; avoid sunburn, even on cloudy days.  The sun’s radiation is intesified at higher altitudes.

Terrain:  Hazards caused by cliffs, loose and rocky slopes, steep snowfield, avalanche-prone slopes or ice require special skills or avoidance altogether.

Wildlife and Plants:  Colorado is home to bears, mountain lions, snakes, bees, mosquitoes, ticks, and other wildlife.  Know how to identify and avoid plants such as poison ivy, cactus, and thistle.

High Altitude:  Substantial increases in altitude over a short time may pose a serious risk.  Affects of alcohol and caffeine are magnified at high altitude, and can lead to more rapid dehydration and impaired judgement.

Human Responses:  Consequences of these hazards might include:  hypothermia, frostbite, altitude sickness, dehydration, sunburn, rashes, snow-blindness, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.  Proper training is essential to prevent, recognize, and treat these conditions.

Have a Safe Trip

Before you go:

  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
  • Be prepared.  Bring appropriate equipment.
  • Gather information on the attractions and hazards you may encounter.
  • Check the weather report, but don’t depend on it.

While you are out:

  • Travel within your ability and knowledge.
  • Use good judgement when choosing a route or deciding when to turn back.
  • Be responsible for your own safety and the safety of others.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected.  Consider making contingency plans in case of emergency.

If you run into problems:

  • Stop – Think – Evaluate Options- Make a Plan.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  A rescue will be more effective if requested early.
  • If lost or stranded, stay in a safe place where you can hear rescuers calling and make yourself visible.  Attempt to contact rescuers.
  • Be aware that it could take some time for rescuers to reach you.

Children in the Outdoors

Take responsibility for children under your care.  Until they learn to recognize and avoid hazards, children are especially at risk:

  • Prepare them with the proper equipment.
  • Teach children about local animals and hazards.
  • Discuss what to do in case of separation or other emergency.
  • Take advantage of available resources to teach children outdoor safety.
  • Be sure they are eating and drinking enough.

Take time to teach your children outdoor safety.  It could be the most valuable education they get.

Hiker’s Card (CORSAR)

What is the CORSAR card?

CORSAR stands for Colorado Outdoors Recreation Search and Rescue.  Fees collected go to the CO Search and Rescue Fund for search and rescue missions, training, and equipment.  (A portion of hunting and fishing licenses and OHV/snowmobile registrations also go to the fund.)

Where can I get one?

Cards are available for $3 at the Visitor’s Center, Sheriff’s Office , and some local businesses.

Why should I get one?

To support SAR in Colorado.  Also, if you have to be rescued, you may be liable for mission expenses.  If you hold a CORSAR card, CO hunting or fishing license, or other participating registration, most, if not all of your rescue expense may be covered by the Fund.  (Medical helicopter evacuations are NOT covered by the CORSAR fund.)

Use Your Head! It’s one of your best tools.

Items to Consider

Consider taking a few “essential” items with you:

  • Water
  • Extra Food
  • Extra Clothing
  • Waterproof Clothing
  • Map, Compass, GPS
  • Sunglasses and Sunscreen
  • Flashlight (spare batteries & bulb)
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Matches, Lighter, Firestarter (in waterproof container)
  • Knife
  • Whistle
  • Cell Phone (battery fully charged)

Cell phones may help you summon emergency help quickly.  However, battery life is limited and coverage is unreliable in the mountains.  Consider turning your cell phone off unless needed.

Serving Hinsdale County and beyond…for further information, to make donations, or to volunteer, please contact:

Hinsdale County Search and Rescue
P.O. Box 324
Lake City, CO  81235
(This information was taken from the Hinsdale County Search and Rescue, Lake City, Colorado pamphlet, 2/25/2010 version)



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