New building standards designed to reduce fire risk to homes in the wildland-urban interface will increase the cost for new construction an average of $1,800 per home, according to a Cal Fire report considered by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on Aug. 28.
The new standards, adopted by the California Building Standards Commission, will go into effect Jan. 1, 2008.
New fire hazard severity zones have been established by Cal Fire for San Luis Obispo County and elsewhere in the state. The county area considered to be a "very high" fire hazard zone has increased from 327,000 acres on the old map to 555,000 on the new map. The "high" fire hazard zone now covers 941,000 acres, compared to 468,000 acres on the old map. The "moderate" zone covered 633,000 acres on the old map, and includes just 32,000 on the new one.
Under the Safety Element of the county's general plan, a property's fire hazard is one consideration in determining the minimum parcel size for new lots in the rural lands and residential rural categories. In a high hazard zone in the rural lands category, the minimum parcel size in areas with a fire personnel response time of 15 minutes or less is 20 acres if it's more than 15 minutes, the minimum parcel size is 160 acres.