Board Highlights and Moonlights
The Sierra County Board of Supervisors met in D’ville on Tuesday, September 7 2010. All supervisors and Chair Goicoechea were present.
The board conscientiously took care of the county’s business including many details too uninteresting to report. If the Board and staff screw up one of those details, then we’ll report on it.
Among the items of the greatest interest are:
*According to Genice Froelich, District Ranger for the Yuba district, it might take an act of congress to sell the FS site to whomever to site the new superior court in D’ville.
*Director of Bad News from the State Tim Beals reported to the Board about new requirements that residential buildings, like homes, have built-in fire sprinklers. The California Building Standards Commission voted unanimously to accept the sprinkler requirements into California codes, and the counties, being handmaidens to the state, have no choice but to accept the changes. It will add thousands or tens of thousands to the cost of even a modest home. Those who support the code, fire marshals and sprinkler manufacturers and maintainers, insist the changes might save as many as 95 lives a year, and promise it will save “precious possessions” though that estimation must not include water damage. The supporters aren’t getting their way everywhere, some states are enacting “anti-residential sprinkler” laws. The systems can’t simply sit, there is deterioration; further, freezing is a problem, sometimes resulting in more than one circuit. The systems have to be maintained, an endless cost.
To their credit, boardmembers asked Beals if they could ignore the state, but that isn’t an option without going to a fighting war.
Also down the road: green building requirements which will also raise the cost of building a home.
*It is alleged that NV Energy has been selling wildly fluctuating electricity to Loyalton and environs. Many people complain of large appliance and computer damage. It seems surge suppressors don’t make up for long term shortages in voltage. The County is seeking information for homeowners. Though no one said so, NV Energy stinks on ice because they are trying to sell the California services, and they won’t properly maintain the lines or support the cogen plant in Loyalton. An informational meeting will follow.
*The Board allocated $150,000 to upgrade ordinances to comply with the general plan. The Board would have allocated more, but there is a fear of lawsuit with anything of this nature, so money was put aside for attorneys, instead of planning consultants. Though the board did not say so, this need exists largely because of the misnamed High Sierra Rural Alliance. Critics say that this isn’t the time to dedicate the funds to this project. If the state passes a tight budget the county could find itself hurting, and those funds could be critical. Others point out that the county was upgrading ordinances as possible, and HSRA sued or threatened to sue, and so the issue was forced. The problem in their view, isn’t the codes, it’s HSRA.
However, in conversation, supervisor Bill Nunes pointed out that this is something the county was doing anyway, and perhaps now is the best time to complete the job. That way, he said, if a project did come along, the county could move forward with confidence.
Part of the process will include public hearings on the General Plan.
*The Federal Emergency Management Agency sent a representative to meet with people regarding their properties and possible flood plains. The meetings were to give local landowners a chance to see the maps, and to give input if they feel their land is improperly designated. Being designated in a flood plain means any building, perhaps even a fence, would require a permit and would have to be engineered against flooding. This means everything becomes more expensive, perhaps prohibitively so.
There were hearings on both sides of the county, but they were poorly attended. It may already be too late to change your property’s designation on the map. Find the maps HERE