Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

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By an edhat reader

What's the Santa Barbara City permit process to rebuild a home on the same foundation that was destroyed by a wildfire? I'm curious if it's a lot of work or relatively seamless. Would love any feedback from other edhat readers and residents.

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tagdes Feb 05, 2018 09:21 AM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

Been quite awhile since any houses in the city have been burned in a wildfire, maybe Jesusita? I'd call the city and ask them what's required, that's what I did when I needed a permit and they seemed to be pretty up on what's needed.

Flicka Feb 05, 2018 09:46 AM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

I remember after the Painted Cave fire nice ranch type homes that burned were replaced with McMansions. Not an improvement in neighborhoods.

a-1517853453 Feb 05, 2018 09:57 AM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

The local chapter of the AIASB (American Institute of Architects) is planning a gathering of homeowners from the Tea Fire who have re-built with new Thomas Fire/Mudslide homeowners who have to re-build to discuss their experiences. Call or email the chapter if you want to be on the email list for the event which may turn into a series of conversation groups. The City Archives on Garden St will have your original house construction drawings, or the AIA Archives will have them if you are in the County. That will be a first step. The age of the original foundation and its condition will determine if it can be re-used, because in general new structures need to conform to current building code and energy code standards. You may need a topographic survey, a soils report, engineering, etc. depending on what you want to re-build. The City may loosen or waive some design review requirements, but I wouldn't count on it.

a-1517854364 Feb 05, 2018 10:12 AM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

OP here - it's in the Tea fire burn area and it would be a purchase of the land where the home used to be with plans to rebuild.

a-1517854441 Feb 05, 2018 10:14 AM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

Additional question - would the city permit a manufactured home on the land?

a-1517855996 Feb 05, 2018 10:39 AM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

You have very specific questions to your own property. I would advise you to hire an architect and talk to the City Planning and Development directly in such serious land-use matters.

Red Creek Feb 05, 2018 11:42 AM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

It's amazing how folks build get burnt, build get burnt, build get flooded along the beaches, in the steep mountain terrain and vegetation chocked canyon areas. Sounds like a lot of misery to live in hazardous terrain.

a-1517866973 Feb 05, 2018 01:42 PM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

You've already received good advice. Please allow me to add one additional caution (from a former wild fire fighter and builder friend). Many fires burn hot enough to damage the concrete foundations of homes. Slab floors (in particular) may look fine, but the heat can destroy the structural integrity. Make sure you get the remaining foundation checked before attempting to reuse it.

CivilEngineer Feb 05, 2018 04:10 PM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

My guess is they would not permit a manufactured home in the Tea Fire area. They have pretty strict rules about making sure your building has to fit the character of the neighborhood. I can't imagine that the permit process is painless or easy. That is not usually the goal of government except as it applies to them.

a-1517943594 Feb 06, 2018 10:59 AM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

In the aftermath of the Tea Fire, the City expedited architectural review and permit processing. But after several years they stopped doing that since most homeowners that lost homes in the fire that were going to be rebuilt had done so.

Channelfog Feb 06, 2018 05:30 AM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

First of all the Tea Fire area is not in SB City jurisdiction, it is Santa Barbara County Building Department that you will be dealing with and the Montecito Architectural Board of Review. As previously posted, there is nothing quick or easy about the process, though the County is easier than the City to deal with. It is entirely possible to build fire proof homes and landscaping but it costs much more money and precludes certain types of architecture such as an all wood home. Another feature I highly recommend would be a shelter in place room on the property that would be safe even if the house did burn to the ground as there exist situations when rapid evacuation is all but impossible. The Paint Fire moved from the back country to Hope Ranch at 60mph, killing one woman, and demonstrating that evacuating/outrunning a fire is not always possible. Building or living in Montecito these days is only for the very wealthy and I personally find it highly over rated as well as highly over priced. It was great and relatively affordable in the 70's and 80's, but those days are long gone.

a-1517943465 Feb 06, 2018 10:57 AM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

Fog,
I'm not sure what relevance the "Tea Fire" has to the current situation, but the "Tea Fire" was/is absolutely in the jurisdiction of the City of Santa Barbara. Most of the homes destroyed in that fire nine years ago were in the City limits.

a-1517945235 Feb 06, 2018 11:27 AM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

OP here, the land is in the Tea Fire burn area and is part of the City of Santa Barbara (unfortunately). I checked property lines.

420722 Feb 06, 2018 09:45 PM
Rebuilding in Fire Zone?

If you scroll down a few comments the OP tells us that the property he is talking about was burned in the tea fire.
Op, think about it, if it was seamless it would have been bought and rebuilt by now. Nobody has done anything with it nine years later which says a lot. Good luck though and congrats if you can turn it into your dream home with minimal stress ;)

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