Building slope limit is a taking |

Building slope limit is a taking

Building slope limit is a taking

In my mind the county took some property rights without compensation when they adopted the fire safe plan for the Lake Vera-Round Mountain area. The 20-percent slope limitation for building sites is way out of line. The current restriction at 30 percent was also arbitrary and very limiting for property owners in the Nevada County foothills.

Slopes of 30 percent or more are very common in our area and I believe most people would not recognize that fact until they have to deal with the current rules for lot development. We got a lesson in rocket science when we were told that fire goes faster uphill and the steeper the hill the faster and hotter a fire will burn. You could see the sparkle in the eyes of some supervisors when they learned they could limit new development on slopes over 20 percent.

When I was a volunteer with the fire department it seemed to me that a significant percent of the structure fire calls were controlled by the home owner before the department arrived. This tells me we may be forgetting that people can be an asset in emergency situations. Perhaps the fire departments could be inviting interested citizens to sit in on some of the fire department training sessions. Rather than evacuating homeowners, especially in areas with ample escape areas such as the lake and golf course in Lake Wildwood and causing huge traffic jams, a knowledgeable ordinary citizen could be standing guard over his own property. Simple steps taken in the early stages of a fire can eliminate significant amounts of damage.

Why not allow property owners the right to make their own choices when it comes to fire danger? Government has taken the right to choose away from those folks in the plan area. Unfortunately the new rule did not create a different topography or eliminate fires in the area. When a fire gets going, it will burn with or without homes, it will burn uphill or downhill, it will burn on flat slopes and steep slopes, and will definitely burn faster and hotter on a steep uphill slope.

Richard Eacobacci

Nevada City

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