I received a call on Thursday, Feb. 28th from a Gentleman who two weeks earlier had been told his property did not have an adequate water pressure and flow to meet the standard of 1250 gallons a minute for 2 hours. The Gentleman met with the Fire Department representative a second time on Thursday and learned that things have changed. It is apparent that the representative had gotten the word that the Fire Department was going back to the Statewide standard of 500 Gallons a minute for 1 hour as “They knew that a larger tank was coming for the area.”
I heard from another applicant that the Fire Department was going to “work with him” on the use of the existing 15 foot wide accessway, rather than the 20 foot requirement for new normal construction.
Now is the time to get your Fire Rebuild application in. The City just hired 6 new plan checkers to process your applications and turn them around in record time. They are hoping to get your permit to you within 6 months of your first contact with them vs 18 months if everything goes perfectly in normal times. Start the process even if you think you may not rebuild. If you decide to sell, your lot will be more valuable with a permit in process. The City and the County have educated their staffs to understand that this is not business as usual. They will do everything they can to say “Yes”. If you get a “No”, ask to speak with a Supervisor. This new attitude will not last. Fire Rebuild programs always have a “Sunset clause”. If you wait too long you will regret it.
The existing area which still has a problem is the La Chusa Highlands/Lower Encinal area. The main pipes in the area are too small to flow even the new 500 GPM standard. We need a full court press to have Waterworks District 29 pull permits to replace the pipes identified in the March 2016 Draft EIR. The replacement Water Tank has been redesigned by the La Chusa Homeowner’s group to eliminate the necessity of obtaining any additional easement area for the larger tank. These new plans are being forwarded to Supervisor Kuehl’s office Monday for their approval.
I am hopeful that we will be able to get the Malibu City Council to agree to allow all governmental agency water system improvements to skip the Planning Commission hearing and go directly to the City Council. Our codes cover Residential and Commercial structures, but we don’t have any applicable rules for the construction of Water Tanks. When the Planning Commission heard the Lower Busch Tank project in 2016, the Commission refused to pass it because they didn’t want a bathroom for the use of Water district employees and suggested that the employees should stop work and drive down to Zuma Beach to use those restrooms. The project was never permitted.
I went down to Supervisor Kuehl’s Community Listening Session on March 3rd at King Gillette Ranch at the corner of Mulholland and Malibu Canyon. Sheila did a great job of making sure that every Department Head that had anything to do with the Woolsey Fire and its recovery was there. The Fire was less than optimal, but they are adamant that they will win the Recovery. If you didn’t get down there to voice your account of what went wrong, its still not to late to submit Pictures, Video, or written accounts to their website at http://lacounty.gov/lacountyrecovers