Letter: Comments to August 10 Board of Supervisors
Antonia Bradford’s comments to the Board of Supervisors during their August 10 meeting regarding agenda item #9
Hello, my name is Antonia Bradford. Before I begin, I would like to thank the offices of Bruce McPherson and Ryan Coonerty for hearing the needs of their constituents and putting this crucial item on the agenda.
On August 20, 2020 my family of seven lost our home to the CZU Fire in the Fallen Leaf neighborhood. I will never forget the moment I found out my home was gone. I screamed in a voice that I did not recognize, the pain gripped my heart so badly. This last year has been the most challenging of my life. Between losing my home and the devastating effects on my precious land, fighting with the SBA to get disaster aid as we are underinsured and fighting with the county there have been many days where I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. It had felt like the agencies that were supposed to be helping us recover from this tragedy were dead set on fighting against us, re-traumatizing us over and over.
For me and my family, the planning department….more specifically Geology, has been the greatest place of unjust stress for me in the county. If I told all of my experiences with Geology I would take far beyond my time allotment so I will be brief. My neighborhood is awaiting the debris flow study to be complete so that we can incorporate that data in with our geo techs recommendations for foundation plans and other aspects of our construction plans. While I didn’t agree necessarily with that being applied to my neighborhood I can accept it at this point. What I can’t accept and what I struggle with is that Geology is requiring us to a geologic report that is beyond what the county can do based on the code that exists which makes no exception for people who are victims of natural disasters. Consequently, the county is requiring me to hire a private geologist for a minimum of $6000 and this cost even doesn’t include whatever mitigating factors they would be recommending. These mitigating factors can cost tens of thousands of dollars and are widely known to be severely over-engineered by the county requirements.
When I had a geologist come to my land, every single thing they wanted to look at was non-fire related. They said they wanted to do a slope stability test and analysis of a very small drainage on my land. And while the county is not dictating what the geologist looks at, they are dictating that a geologist do this report. And it has everything to do with the code as it is written and nothing to do with the fire in any capacity. These things were both there when my home was built with permits back in 1971. If this is being required of me then I am being treated like a new build and this county assured fire victims this would not be the case. We are not a rich family trying to build our dream home in the mountains, our home burned down. There is a really big difference.
If my home hadn’t burned but the land burned behind my home the county would not be coming in and putting these requirements on me. It couldn’t. So with me right now as a fire victim, it shouldn’t.
I urge every board member to vote yes on this item. The stress of the time delays and required reports for things non-fire related puts a great deal of financial and emotional stress onto those of us who lost everything. We just want to go home. Please, help us get there. Thank you for your time.”