Nevada County’s Firestorm Katrina |

Nevada County’s Firestorm Katrina

When the Board of Supervisors adopted County Ordinance 2236, “Second Dwelling Units,” May 22 (coming into force, June 21), the county dropped the ball.

The ordinance fails to provide meaningful guidance for evaluating second unit proposals, with an eye to evacuation from wildfire. Gone is the pilot program’s prohibition against second units in the county’s five ‘restricted areas,’ which are ‘very high’ severity fire hazard zones.

Wildfire is Nevada County’s brewing Hurricane Katrina. When it comes, fire-defense alone may not be enough. Yet, authorities lack practical evacuation plans and rehearsal, the resources to give adequate warning and relevant planning guidelines for evaluating project proposals to assess roads’ capacities to handle both exiting residents and entering emergency crews. How will authorities activate, control and guide a meaningful, organized mass evacuation from wildfire?

Relaxing standards for second units, without considering mass evacuation from wildfire, is simply irresponsible. As the county’s road capacity becomes increasingly burdened by ill-considered, cumulative residential density, officials lay the groundwork for catastrophe instead of public safety. The county needs to incorporate mass fire evacuation planning and capability into fire safety preparations and evaluations of all development.

This aspect of traffic circulation demands action, now, before the firestorm.

Gary Emanuel

President, Citizens

Concerned About Traffic

Grass Valley

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