Recently I had the misfortune of attending a Planning Commission meeting where they voted to support the subdivision of a lot that would include building a 5000+ square-foot home in a “high fire” area. One of the fire marshals spoke and mentioned how the city is overdue to undertake a comprehensive study in order to create a wildland fire plan. This is especially urgent work, in light of the Thomas Fire and the changing environmental conditions we have all witnessed in the last decade. I am hoping others would like to see the city put a moratorium on new homes in “high fire” areas until this new plan is created.
The Montecito Fire Department has just released a draft report, “A Retrospective Study of Montecito Fire Protection District’s Fire Protection District’s Wildlife Program during the 2017 Thomas Fire”, which points out many of the concerns we all share. This year, City Council approved the building of Accessory Dwelling Units in high fire areas of the city. While many may not agree with this decision, it does allow for those who presently live in these areas to build reasonable additional housing on their property. This should help with our housing crisis, but there is only so much new construction we want in high fire areas.
If enough people are concerned about these issues, perhaps the City Council will consider a moratorium until a comprehensive Wildland Fire Plan has been completed.