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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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October 17, 2018     Feather River Bulletin
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October 17, 2018
 

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Feather River Bulletin Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 5A i Victoria Metcalf Assistant Editor vmetcalf@plumasnews.com No one seemed surprised when not one member of the public attended two hearings involving finalization of the State Responsibility Area Fire Safe Regulations before the. , Plumas County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 2 and 9. These agenda items were to meet California Environmental Quality Act compliance and determination requirements and waive the first reading of the ordinance. Supervisors voted to approve the new ordinance following the second public hearing Oct. 9. Plumas County Planning Director Randy Wilson and Assistant Director Becky Herrin were on hand at the first hearing to explain the ordinance amending certain county code sections regarding Title 8 building regulations and Title 9 planning and zoning. On the wall was a CalFire map indicating areas where regulations would apply to private lands identified as state responsibility areas. These areas are located within the Chester Public Utility District, the valley floor of Sierra Valley and the city of Portola, and parts of Quincy and East Quincy within the Quincy Fire Protection District. These specific areas are excluded from requirements of the ordinance because they are designated areas of local responsibility, Herrin told supervisors at the Oct. 2 meeting: This has been a lengthy process, Wilson told supervisors. Putting the plan together and attending meetings represents two years of Herrin's life she told supervisors Oct. 2. Board Chair Jeff Engel asked Herrin how many meetings she had attended. Herrin said she has attended seven or eight meetings in Sacramento as well as organizing required meetings and hearings locally. Fire safe regulations The ordinance covers minimum fire safety standards in relationship to defensible space as required under Section 4290 of the Public Resources Code required by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protectionin the state. The statute is also required for Title 14 of the Natural Resources Division of the California Code of Regulations. The Board of forestry adopted amendments in March 2015 toward fire safe developments in the state. They were approved later that same year and became effective Jan. 1, 2016. "Therefore, Plumas County has been operating under the state statutes rather than the previously adopted local county codes " according to information from Plumas County Planning. to county supervisors According to Herrin, there approving the ordinance. This are several exceptions from the was to ensure that the regulations in the new ordinance complied with the ordinance. These include state's regulations, Herrin methods for reducing the added. 30-foot side and rear yard County supervisors gave setbacks on parcels over one that tentative approval July 18, acre in size; methods to 2017. The ordinance was then address setbacks on parcels sent to the state. The Resource less than one acre that are not Protection Committee of the located within structural fire Board Of Forestry then protection districts; and reviewed it in December and methods to address new recommended minor changes. additions to existing structures Those were incorporated into located on developed parcels, the local document, according Once the Board of to Herrin. : Supervisors approved the new "The ordinance's purpose is ordinance, it was sent to the to protect natural resources Board of Forestry and Fire and public health and safety," Protection for fmal Herrin explained. certification. It is exempt from CEQA "The county's cost in under Section 15061(b)(3) enacting the ordinance and because there is no significant then later amending the effect on the environment, ordinance if not certified supervisors were told. would be substantial," Herrin Herrin explained that the explained. Plumas County Planning With that in mind, the Board Commission approved the Of Forestry was convinced to ordinance in a meeting held allow a tentative review prior Sept. 1, 2016. Since that time planning has published a public hearing notice and a summary of the proposed ordinance in local newspapers as required by law. "Ours is one of the few county ordinances that's been through the process," Herrin told supervisors in the Oct. 2 meeting. Most counties have a strong CalFire presence, she explained. Plumas County has an office and no fire station. "I thought we were done with this last year?" Supervisor Sherrie Thrall asked Herrin at the first public hearing Oct. 2. Herrin explained that the county saved a few thousand dollars by handling the ordinance the way it did. "They (Board Of Forestry) looked at everything with a fine-toothed comb," she explained. For more information on the ordinance, contact the Plumas County Planning Department at 283-7011. Today's home fires burn faster than ever. Knowing how to escape in time takes planning and practice. In a typical home fire, you might only have one to two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. The Plumas County Office of Emergency Services and Plumas County fire departments are teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to promote this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign: "Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere." The campaign is intended to educate the public about basic, but essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire. "Working in the fire service for many years, We know that people often make choices in fire situations that jeopardize their safety or even cost them their lives," said Ed Ward of the Graeagle Fire Protection District Department and chair of the Plumas County Fire Chiefs Association. "Life-saving escape planning and practice saves lives." Ward says this year's "Look. Listen. Learn." campaign highlights three steps people can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire: - Look for places fire could start. - Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm. - Learn two ways out of every room. While NFPA and fire departments throughout Plumas County are focusing on home fires, these fire safety messages apply to virtually anywhere. "Situational awareness is a skill people need to use wherever they go," said Ward. "No matter where you are, look for available exits. If the alarm system sounds, take it seriously and exit the building immediately." NFPA statistics show that the number of U.S. home fires has Learn. been steadily declining over the past few decades. However, the death rate per 1,000 home fires that are reported to fire departments was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980. These numbers show that while significant progress has been made in teaching people how to prevent fires from happening, there's still much more work to be done to educate the public in how to protect themselves in the event of a fire. It is so critical, given the speed at which today's home fires grow and spread. People feel safest in their home, but it is also the place people are at greatest risk from fire. Four out of five U.S. fu'e deaths occur at home and this is why home escape planning and practice is so important. For more information about Fire Prevention Week and home escape planning, visit firepreventionweek.org. ire urn CalFire lifted residential District) website at burn restrictions Oct. 10 for http://myairdistrict.com/index. Plumas County. However, burn php/burning-info/burn-day-stat permits issued by U.S. Forest us/. Each day, burn day status Service offices are required must be checked before lighting. until CalFire declares the end of - Residential open burning is the fire season. Outdoor defined as a residential residential burning is never property consisting of a single allowed in Quincy and East or two family dwelling. Quincy. Non-residential open burning Within the Quincy Fire requires an Air Pollution Protection District, outside Permit (contact the Northern Quincy and East Quincy Sierra Air Quality Management (roughly the American Valley District at 832-0102 to determine and Thompson Valley), burning if a permit is needed). is allowed through Nov. 14. - Burning is only allowed on the AfteF that time, NO residential premises where the material open burning is allowed until originated. Material March 16, 2019, per NSAQMD transported to another site for District Rule 318 burning is NOT allowed. (myairdistrict.com/index.php/r - Burn only natural vegetation; ules/), no plywood, no OSB, no painted Note the following rules and or treated wood, no plastic, no recommendations for open paper or cardboard, no waste burning: oil, no clothing, no insulation, - Must be a permissive burn no carpet, no diapers, no day. Visit the Northern Sierra garbage, etc. Air Quality Management (Air - Burning shall be mitigated or ons extinguished when smoke drifts into nearby populated areas. Arrange burn piles loosely to allow air to move through the pile, creating little to no smoke. - Allow at least three weeks of drying time from the date of cutting to burning. Allow at least six weeks if the branch diameter is greater than 6 inches. - Recommended burn hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for best smoke dispersion. For tips on open burning, go to: myairdistrict.com/in dex.php/burning-info/tips-on-b urning/. Consider alternatives to burning: Chip it, mulch it, compost it or haul it' (to a . designated green waste disposal site or transfer station). Contact the Plumas County Fire Safe Council about the Community Chipping Program at 283-0829 pr visit plumasfiresafe.org. Yes on B Claim: Measure B ' lows family farms to farm. Many respected farms have been working in commerdal cannabis in Plumas for decades, staying mindful and working within local and state regulations" Measure B backers also daim that B prohibits cultivation in residential areas.This is also not true. B expressly permits cultivation in rural residential areas and in a// suburban areas. Fact Check: FALSE First, growers never legally worked in commercial cannabis in Plumas County. Since 1996, per Prop. 215, they worked in nonprofit medical cannabis collectives and cooperatives. Second, using wordplay to create visions of Plumas families farming on cannabis farms is not accurate. What IS accurate are "caregivers" supplying patients and then selling the vast majority of their crops to dispensaries out of county. Yes on B Claim: B "Respects the rights of neighbors" Fact Check: FALSE Does B respect the rights of neighbors by exempting "priority resident" growers fTom the county's special use permit process that ensures neighbors' rights to challenge land use? YES on B Claim: B "Requires strict regulatory oversight from over half a dozen state agendes" Fact Check: Technically l ue, praclJcally FALSE It's l ue that Measure B requires licensees to be subject to state and local regulation. However, the measure contradicts itself by exempting priority resident cultivators and other licensees from environmental oversight (CEOA). And the notion that Measure B growers will be monitored by state recjulatory agendes is far u ]. There aren't any water board SWAT teams watching anyone in Plumas. Same goes for other agencies. Under B, none of us could challenge a priority residents grow near our property. This is respect? Paid for by Cannabis Citizens Group PlumasGrow.com t