Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Corralitas Red Car Property: Why Are LAFD Brush Clearance Fines The Same, No Matter The Size Of Your Lot?

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 4, 2017.  Neighbors are understandably nervous about fire on the Red Car Property. Weeds are taller and more dense than before the 2016 Silver Lake Fire.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 4, 2017.  Most  of the protected native Coast Live Oaks and California Black Walnuts are returning to the slopes.  Looks like there are still a few upslope neighbors on Lake View who still have not done their brush clearance.  You'd think after last summer's fire, they'd be the first to do brush clearance.  But then no one can believe the Red Car Property owner hasn't done the brush clearance yet.  

Perhaps part of the problem is the fines for failing to do brush clearance are the same - no matter what size lot you have - 5000 sq feet or 5 acres.  The fine from LAFD is per lot, not per square foot. You still have to pay for brush clearance, but you'd have to pay for brush clearance, whether or not you did it on time.  

Raise the potential fines for non-compliance on the large lot owners to encourage prompt brush clearance.  Track the non-compliant lot owners every year.  Each year the lot is fined for non-compliance, increase their penalties.   Prioritize the routine scofflaws.  

There is no incentive for large lot owners to take responsibility for their own property.  LAFD has the potential to bring in more fees from fining up to 135 adjacent lots, than from the 5 (or 6 according to APNs) lots of the Red Car Property.  There's not a lot of impetus for LAFD to red tag the Red Car Property owner, other than a fire starting  on or spreading via the Red Car Property, would endanger the whole neighborhood.   In 2016, 200 firefighters, wildland fire crews and a massive air assault (water dropping helicopters from at least 3 agencies) kept the 2016 Silver Lake Fire from becoming a major disaster

A neighbor ran into the LAFD Brush Inspector on site July 28, 2017.  The inspector said another notice to comply would be mailed to the owner. 
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 4, 2017.  The Red Car Property goes up to the telephone poles running across the middle of the slope.  In some cases the adjacent property owners cleared well beyond their property line.  

Unfortunately, last December, LAFD Brush Clearance contractors also took out a lot of native Black Walnuts when they did clearance.  Some very native large trees on this slope were cut down to the ground, even though they were recovering.  Most of the walnuts are recovering are coming back despite the butchery (the green shrub like plants midway up the slope on the left.)  There was no need to cut them down as they were already recovering from the fire.  Native trees are fire resistant.

LAFD Brush Inspection Process 
All our brush clearance posts