Supervisors approve proclamation of emergency Bush declares disaster area for county
Last updated 10/24/2007 at Noon
Residents and property owners whose homes and other structures were destroyed in the October 2007 fires will be exempt from plan check review and building permit fees when they rebuild. Two 5-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors votes allowed for the exemption. One vote added the off-docket item to the October 24 agenda, while the second unanimous vote adopted the resolution declaring the rebuilding of the structures damaged in the Harris, Witch, and Rice fires to be eligible for the permit fee waivers. The text of the resolution approves eligibility for "victims of fire incidents in the unincorporated area, including the Harris Witch, and Rice Canyon Fires, within the approved geographic boundaries". That language apparently makes victims of other fires, including the Poomacha fire which broke out after the request for off-docket consideration was prepared, eligible for the fee waivers. The permit fee waiver stems from the Gavilan Fire in Fallbrook which destroyed more than 40 homes in February 2002. On March 6, 2002, the supervisors amended the county's administrative code to waive plan check review and permit fees for rebuilding structures damaged by wildfires or other natural disasters. That waiver requires that the Board of Supervisors adopt a resolution identifying the geographic area affected which is eligible for the fee waiver. The first such application occurred in August 2002, when the supervisors declared the area devastated by the Pines Fire in the Julian area to be eligible for the fee waiver. The fee waiver applies only to legally built structures which were destroyed by the fires and located within the boundaries of the eligible geographic area. Since the geographic boundaries of the affected areas were unknown at the time the supervisors approved the resolution, the director of the county's Department of Planning and Land Use was authorized to finalize the map to be used to determine the exact boundaries for waiver eligibility. Because the Board of Supervisors does not have land use jurisdiction over incorporated cities, the waiver applies only to the rebuilding of structures in the county's unincorporated area.