As many as five of the nine Conejo Road homes burned down during the Tea Fire might be rebuildable, despite a city ordinance dating from the late 1980s restricting reconstruction in the area as a result of a shale soil formation there being dangerously prone to mudslides.

Initially, Santa Barbara planners indicated that the ordinance would bar the construction of any of the nine homes burned down in that mudslide area. By shifting the location of the homes as they sit on their lots, the reconstructed homes could be moved an acceptably safe distance from the mudslide zone. Divine intervention by the City Council might be required for that to occur, however, to waive existing set-back requirements.

That still leaves at least four homes – and their owners – that have no hope of getting the permits necessary to rebuild. The City Council is expected to consider these issues in the weeks to come.


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