Fire safety and the General Plan

To the Editor:

Our Supervisors are about to pass a 20-year general plan now rather than waiting for input from two newly elected Supervisors. The general plan is already many years overdue. What is the urgency to pass it now?

The general plan has targeted significant areas for high density housing. Developers are happy; it’s money in their pockets. It’s also jobs. But, most jobs will go to construction companies and workers from outside our county.

Many people have objected to this plan. We need more parks for our kids. Areas designated for high density housing have insufficient roads and water. Our county lacks the money to fix this. Our supervisors have ignored almost all comments. They plan to pass the general plan without significant changes.

For me, one issue rises above the usual objections, fire safety. The areas designated for new development, and especially those designated for high density housing, border on forest lands. The general plan has no provision for fire breaks, no provision for a water supply that would allow fire trucks to protect multiple homes during a wildfire, and no provision for new or wider roads that will allow for safe evacuation in the event of a Paradise, CA fire storm.

We should delay and revise our general plan to include fire safety provisions for the entire county. We should designate new fire breaks to protect new and existing housing. We should designate water resources necessary to protect homes from wildfires. Finally, we should include a comprehensive evacuation plan and sufficient roads to support a quick evacuation.

Our county has the worst fire danger in California. We will not grow and prosper unless people feel safe. Let’s take another year, create a comprehensive fire safety plan, and integrate it into our general plan.

Marvin Keshner