The city of Santa Rosa has opened its new Resilient City Rebuilding Permit Center (RCRC) at City Hall Room 6 to expedite plans and permits in the areas devastated during the October wildfires.
While Coffey Park and Fountaingrove are the most well-known burn areas, there are six designated zones that benefit from the streamlined rebuild efforts: Coffey Park, the Highway 101 corridor and Round Barn area, Fountaingrove, Fountainview, Montecito Heights and Oakmont.
Between opening its doors to the public on Nov. 28 and the first week of January, the one-stop center has serviced nearly 550 walk-in inquiries by homeowners, developers, contractors and rehabilitation firms on recovery, permit and rebuilding information.
From these, the first residential building permit was issued for the Coffey Park area at the end of December. The center recently received the first commercial-property plan submission, from Oakmont Senior Living for a new senior housing section to replace units destroyed in the blaze.
In addition, there are 11 single-family residence plans that are under review — eight in Coffey Park and three in the Fountaingrove area — and an increasing number of business owners are meeting with staff to discuss their expedited pathway to rebuilding.
“The city is taking all the steps necessary to help the areas of Santa Rosa that were destroyed by the fire to rebuild as soon as possible” said David Guhin, Santa Rosa assistant city manager and planning and economic development director.
Important to this process, Guhin said developers want to establish master plans, including home model designs and floor layouts. The city is supporting this effort and is working with developers to pre-approve plans to reduce the time and cost to the homeowner for plan checks.
“We have seen five different master plan developers, each with from five to 10 proposed model houses. We are also encouraging revisions to add accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to these master plans,” Guhin added.
URGENCY ORDINANCES WAIVE SOME FEES
The Santa Rosa City Council adopted a Resilient City Urgency Ordinance on Oct. 24, 2017, providing streamlining and expedited review, waiving fees for discretionary planning, demolition and temporary housing permits, reducing the review authority of Hillside Development and design review to the director, allowing for temporary housing including trailers, recreational vehicles, manufactured homes and tiny homes on affected properties. The ordinance also allows construction and occupancy of new, detached ADUs, prior to the construction of a single-family residence.
To help cover the cost of processing all the rebuild permits, including ADUs, plan check review and inspections fees are still in effect. For an average sized home, this generally equates to $3,000 for plan check review fees and $2,000 for inspection fees.
In compliment to the urgency ordinance, Santa Rosa’s City Council passed another local ordinance on Tuesday, Dec. 5, that eliminated Impact fees associated with parks and infrastructure for ADUs up to 750 square feet. For 750- to 1,000-square-foot ADUs, owners will pay 25 percent of typical fees, and for 1,000- to 1,200-square-foot ADUs they would pay 50 percent of fees.
“Some fees associated with ADUs are being waived to encourage building this type of housing, and also because they represent a new way to close the housing gap,” Guhin said.
“During the fires, we put through a Request for Proposal to the city council for a new permit center office to handle fire-related services in an unprecedented three days time. Our goal is to do whatever we can to keep residents and businesses here and provide a single place people can come to get answers from a variety of subject matter experts. The council unanimously supported our proposal.”
Resilient City Rebuilding Center
The Resilient City Rebuilding Center is open from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday in City Hall Room 6, at 100 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa.
The existing Permit Santa Rosa office, in Room 3 at City Hall, continues to handle non-fire-related permit review activity, permit applications, inspection scheduling along with providing access to a data portal and an interactive map where applicants can review permit activity.
There are a number of online “Rebuilding Together” publications, resources and step-by-step guides available at the www.srcity.org/rebuild site to help rebuilders get started. The brochures include:
- Santa Rosa Resilient City Zoning Guide – Helping Our Community Rebuild
- Smoke Damage Assessment Procedures and Information
- Process for Addressing Fire-Damaged Structures
- Re-establishing Water Connection
- Residential Building Permit Checklist
- California Office of Emergency Services Request for Information and Innovative Housing Solutions
Read more business coverage of the North Bay fire recovery: nbbj.news/2017fires