County Postpones Ban On Wood Shake Roofs In Fire Zones Until 2016

(January 14)  The county board of supervisors this week postponed for two years the deadline for the owners of  homes in high danger fire area of the county to replace their wood shake roofs with fire resistant materials.
In October 2008, the county board of supervisors adopted an ordinance altering the San Bernardino County Code, requiring the replacement, by July 1, 2014, of wood shake shingle roofs on structures within what the county defined as its Fire Safety Overlay area, that is, a portion of the county wherein the fire danger is particularly high. This includes most of the county within the San Bernardino Mountains and the Angeles National Forest.
Upon adoption of the ordinance, the board directed staff to research grant opportunities that would assist  property owners in offsetting roof replacement costs. On January 24, 2012, the board approved acceptance of a grant award from the California Emergency Management Agency in the amount of $233,983 under the Federal Emergency Management Agency 2008 Legislative Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program. Those funds were designated for the planning phase of a planned undertaking to identify structures eligible for assistance under the Federal Emergency Management Agency program.  At that time, the effort   called for completion of the construction phase of the program, under which eligible property owners receive funds for roof replacement, by July 1, 2014. The compliance deadline in the county’s ordinance was established on that basis.
Funding for the construction phase of the program grant was approved by the state on July 25, 2013 and accepted by the board on August 20, 2013. Because of a delay in the distribution of the construction phase funds, the grant now has a completion deadline of June 27, 2016.
According to San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig,  “In light of this change, staff recommends that the county code be amended to establish July 1, 2016 as the date for compliance with the wood shake shingle roof replacement requirement. This will ensure affected property owners ample time to take advantage of the opportunity for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 2008 Legislative Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program to offset the cost of roof replacement prior to the county’s enforcement of this new legal requirement.”
Hartwig added, “The proposed amendment will also allow historic structures, defined as those registered in the California Register of Historical Resources or other state or federal government register, to be exempted from the roof replacement requirement. This exemption will help preserve the historic integrity of communities affected.”

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