Homeowners angry over lost home rebuilding due to CZU compound fire due to Santa Cruz County rules – CBS San Francisco
SANTA Cruz (CBSSF) – Dozens of homeowners whose homes were destroyed in wildfires in Czechoslovakia accused Santa Cruz County officials of making rebuilding nearly impossible Tuesday when the Board of Supervisors heard updates on the situation.
The fact that we spent a year and didn’t start working isn’t shocking. Jessica Brady, a Boulder Creek resident, says the fact that we weren’t even close to breaking ground or having our permits approved and that we’re stuck in limbo.
Brady says her family and other homeowners struggled with the routine and exhausting demands for more than a year after the devastating fire. A charred redwood grove stands guard on an empty plot of land where Brady’s home once stood.
“We definitely feel punished because our house burned down which is clearly something we don’t control,” she said.
Dozens of homeowners gathered at the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors meeting to express their frustration with the rebuilding process.
The county commissioned a geological study of the burning area and found an increased risk of landslides and mudslides. County supervisors were considering a policy in which study results would be recorded at the address of reconstructed fire victims’ homes.
“My house was built in 1939 and has survived several natural disasters,” says Tracy Walker, whose home was destroyed in the fire.
Walker says the policy, which does not apply to homes that survived the fire, is unfair and will affect the ability of fire victims to obtain insurance and sell their homes in the future.
“It’s ridiculous. They promised they would help us in every way they could. They were going to do everything they could. They were going to simplify the process. But nothing was simplified,” she said.
County supervisors say they are doing everything they can to help homeowners rebuild but they can’t ignore the known risks. However, they agreed to go back to the drawing board to see if they couldn’t come up with a better and fairer policy.
“It is our duty to help people go home as quickly as possible. We have brought in an offshore licensing company. We are trying to simplify the process,” says Supervisor Ryan Connerty.