Supervisor Kuehl’s Homeowner Recovery and Relief Motion Passes BOS

Our thanks to Supervisor Kuehl whose motion was passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, December 11th.

The Woolsey Fire was the largest fire in modern history within Los Angeles County. Many of those impacted by the fire have begun the process of rebuilding their homes and others will be embarking upon that process, a process that includes County review and approval. The County Zoning Code, including the Santa Monica Mountains North Area Community Standards District (CSD), and the Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program, allow rebuilding with only an administrative permit after a natural disaster like this fire.  But some barriers to rebuilding may exist.  For example, County development review and application fees, even for by-right projects, would add to the already heavy losses faced by those residents displaced by the fire, and may present a barrier to some who seek to rebuild.
Also, when an existing residence is destroyed or damaged by fire, the County Code currently allows use of mobile homes as a temporary residence on the same lot as the destroyed home, but that does not include the use of recreational vehicles (RVs).  However, when proper standards are met regarding water, sewage and electricity, RVs may be a viable temporary housing option for displaced residents.  Another barrier for some will be the presence of oak trees near homes that, when originally built, were not within the oak tree’s protected zone, but due to the growth of the oak are now within that protected zone. 
I, THEREFORE, MOVE that the Board of Supervisors waive all County planning application and review fees when residents displaced by the fires seek to rebuild their homes, businesses and/or allowable structures, so long as the rebuilt structures are within the parameters of rebuilding allowed after a disaster under both the North Area CSD and the Santa Monica Mountains Local Implementation Program for the coastal area.  These fees include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. In the Santa Monica Mountains North Area, for Zoning Conformance Review and for temporary housing approvals; and
2. In the Santa Monica Mountains Coastal Zone, for applications for the disaster rebuild exemption and the repair and maintenance exemption, for Administrative Coastal Development Permits related to structures destroyed by fire, and for Emergency Coastal Development Permits, including those for removal of dead, but still standing, protected trees.
I FURTHER MOVE that the Board of Supervisors direct County Counsel, in consultation with the Department of Regional Planning (Regional Planning) to prepare an urgency ordinance that accomplishes the following:
1. Allows the use of RVs on fire-destroyed sites in the Santa Monica Mountains North Area for displaced residents, subject to minimum standards related to electrical connections, water, and sewage, while homes are being rebuilt, for up to one year and allowing for a one-year extension by the Director of Regional Planning;
2. Allows without requiring an oak tree permit, the rebuilding of legally-established structures in the North Area that, if rebuilt at the same location and size, would now be within the protected zone of an oak tree, so long as the home is rebuilt in the same location and is the same size as the destroyed structure, subject to maintenance and protection of the oak tree or planting of oak trees at the required amount pursuant to the County’s oak tree ordinance, if the tree is damaged or dies due to reconstruction; and
3. Allows temporary housing (including RVs) on sites in the Santa Monica Mountains North Area where workforce housing was destroyed and is being rebuilt.