Different standards work for different areas | TheUnion.com

Different standards work for different areas

There has been much fuss over the new fire plan in the Lake Vera area. A recent editorial in The Union stated: “The slope standard for Lake Vera and Round Mountain is just another example of the county making things more confusing and difficult for the property owner. A uniform, countywide standard that everyone can understand might be preferable to establishing different standards for different areas. Those are the kind of discrepancies that drive property owners batty.”

We disagree. Different standards for different areas is the essence of good county planning. One size does not fit all. Most developers and property owners welcome these discrepancies. For example, not all parcels should be zoned Forest 80 (one dwelling on 80 acres.) Zoning differences are necessitated by local conditions.

Why has the CDF advised a local restriction in the Lake Vera area? The main problems are density and circulation.

Density: Eighty-two percent of the parcels in our neighborhood are out of compliance with the existing zoning laws. For example, there is one half-acre parcel in an area zoned a 20-acre minimum.

Circulation: In a letter to the Planning Department regarding the Lake Vera Area, Hank Weston, Ranger, unit chief of Nevada County at the time, said “This area… is currently served by an inadequate road and circulation system and increasing the intensity of development will only aggravate an already dangerous situation. If a major fire were to burn through the area, the ability to safely evacuate the current residents or allow safe and rapid access of fire suppression forces would be almost impossible.”

For these reasons, the California Department of Forestry advises the Lake Vera standard as a reasonable precaution to reduce fire danger. It applies only to building sites and only to new parcel subdivisions. The purpose is to allow fire equipment access to new home sites as it is difficult if not impossible to defend a home from the downhill side on steep slopes.

Bob and Celeste Blackman

Nevada City

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