I’ll be posting the notes from our meetings on this thread
Rebuilding Larkfield Estates Meeting, November 4th, 2017
-Reasons for inspecting your septic are to have a legal document (called a Findings Report) from a certified inspector that your system was in working order post-fire and pre-debris removal. It is also for if your system isn’t in working order you can prepare to replace if necessary. If enough of our systems are unusable, that might force County Public Health to declare them as unsafe and not up to today’s standards forcing them to put in sewage.
-There were questions of system capacity for the sewage system, because of the new hospital. James Gore stated on Friday, October 27th, that the county had the system checked not long before the fire and that the system can carry more than enough capacity for it to come into Larkfield Estates. He also stated that the county has $40mil in an emergency funding account, and he is trying to access some of that money to bring the septic into Larkfield Estates. His goal (he states) is to not have us pay anything upfront to have it installed.
-You should take lots of pictures of your tank area and leech field area. When you get your tank inspected, take pictures of the tank itself. Army Corp of Engineers suggests that if you are concerned with them destroying your tank and leech field place stakes (my suggestion is using Rebar) and taping off the area. The Army Corp stated on Friday, October 27th, that they would not remove stakes or rebar and that they would not go into the cordoned off area.
-Some people had discovered just prior to the fire that their distribution boxes had crumbled.
-Some had stated that Berrybrook was required to go on low flow and install restrictors so that Sutter had enough flow. Others stated that this was a non-issue and an urban myth. It was decided that Brad Sherwood would contact James Gore for clarification of this issue.
-New septic systems cost $30k-$50k. This is NOT a code upgrade, however, because of the state of emergency, we don’t have to bring our systems up to current codes.
-It was suggested that you put in lateral lines when you do your landscaping. That way you will be ready for sewage if we get it.
-Someone asked that we ask the Army Corp of Engineers if digging down to our tank is okay, or would it redistribute the toxins in the soil.
-It was suggested that you NOT pump your tank, because it may lose integrity over the winter. It was suggested that we don’t need a Fit Test.
-It was decided that Brad Sherwood would continue looking into getting public sewage.
-$20k-$50k estimates for private debris removal.
-If you use the Army Corp, they will clear your permanent foundations and any structural debris, including slabs, driveways, and sidewalks, and also clear 2 feet around foundations, driveways, and sidewalks.
-Average coast of debris removal for Lake County was $60k when they had the government do it. They can take the 25% clearing property rider as well as the 5% home protection rider.
-Liability for injured workers on your property falls to you if you use private, and falls to the Army Corp of Engineers if you sign the ROE
-If you are using a private company for debris removal, then you have to have your work plan turned into the county no later than 23rd of November or else the county will clear your property for you and charge you the full amount to your taxes. (they will not bill the insurance if you fail to meet this deadline. The entire cost will be added to your taxes so get your work plan turned in on time).
-The Army Corp and their contractors will be draining all in-ground pools and drilling holes in the sides and bottoms to relieve the pressure of the surrounding soil against an empty pool.
-Benefits to having the power lines underground are that it is safer, less maintenance, and more aesthetically pleasing.
-Numbers being thrown around are that it could be $45Mil but we should sit down with PG&E to find out just how much it really will cost.
-It would probably be better to rebuild first, then lobby as a group to switch to underground utilities.
-Per a raising of hands, most are rebuilding. Also by a raising of hands, most are wanting to rebuild approximately the same style of structure that they had before.
-Per the county, 35 feet is how tall the building can be, meaning that you could build a second story.
-Christopherson states that they have 4 pre-made plans that have a few different elevations to chose from. They also have in-house architects that can draw custom plans.
-If there are still CC&R’s then its up to the majority on style and heights for the rebuilding of the neighborhood. If there the CC&R’s are expired, then we can either, as a neighborhood, vote to reinstate them, or we can leave them expired and it would be a free for all for the rebuild.
-It was decided that we should rebuild fences as soon as each property is cleared.
-It was decided that we need to lobby James Gore for a sound barrier wall all along Old Redwood Hwy, and Mark West Springs Rd. No one has been designated for that position. If you are up to the task, please contact Brad Sherwood or Gade Miller.
-Jim Dickey has said he will locate all our corner markers for us.
-Emergency Ordinance which states that our taxed will not go up as long as we don’t go above 120% of our property value. If we do go above 120%, only the excess will be assessed at a higher tax rate, but the base rate will stay the same.
-Jill Rushton-Miller volunteered to check with Genie Schultz about possible grants for rebuilding our neighborhood.
-Our next meeting will be Saturday, November 11th, from 1-3 at The Cove church.
-We will concentrate on the debris removal for this next meeting and then discuss who we want to come out for the next meeting.
Septic and Debris Removal Meeting 11Nov2017
-Very few problems in Larkfield septic systems in the past.
-County’s policy for rebuilding is to get a no-cost Reconstruction Permit. You don’t have to get the septic inspected before getting the permit.
-If sewage doesn’t become available, you will need a Findings Report before the house is finalized. Normally the county requires upgrading before building (pre-fire).
-A Findings Report is a piece of paper that says that the tank and leach field are functioning in a normal behavior. This is done by a Registered Civil Engineer or RHES Health Environmental Inspector.
-If no plot plan is on record then the locations of the tank and leach lines will need to be drawn on a site plan.
-You should get a Findings Report now if you want to know the condition of your tank and lines post-fire and pre-debris removal.
-So far, removal/replacement of septic will require a permit that does not need a Findings Report. The county is also not requiring a Findings Report to hook up a trailer/RV/5th wheel. If the septic tank is not functioning, you can use it as a holding tank and just pump when needed.
-You may need a second inspection for a load test with water on your lines.
-Locate then flag your septic tank and leach field. Metal T-posts with an orange flag works great.
-Be there when they come
-Make sure to flag the distribution boxes, they are the most sensitive. The lines themselves are set in gravel, and deeply buried, so they are more difficult to damage.
-If you want to change the footprint of your house, you can abandon your tank and relocate it. That cost many thousands of dollars.
-Not all county plans are going to be accurate.
-You do need to have a replacement area incase the system fails and you don’t have sewage.
-$375-$450 for pumping your tank. $350-$700 for the inspection and Findings Report. There could be additional costs if they have bring in heavy equipment to excavate your tank.
-There is a possibility of a group discount for doing multiple homes all at once.
Robert from FEMA:
-Deadline to register with FEMA is 12/11/2017. If you have insurance, or are underinsured, let FEMA know now. If you are underinsured, or are waiting on your settlement, then talk with FEMA.
-SBA loan is a very low interest loan (1.75% APR) to help you cover the cost of rebuilding. If you go through the loan process, you are under no obligation to accept the loan.
-Call FEMA if housing situation changes before you rebuild. Their Temporary Housing Program lasts for 18 months from the date that a national emergency was proclaimed, so if you are still homeless after 1 year, they will help.
-The EPA has been to many of the properties and did their cleanup. You can tell that they have been on your property, because there is a wooden stake with a paper saying that they had cleaned your property. They project that they’ll be done by 28Nov2017.
-Deadline to turn in the ROE was Monday 13Nov2017.
-The goal is to be completed with the debris removal by early 2018 to allow a Spring 2018 rebuild.
Crystal Ball from USACE:
-Once you turn in your ROE the Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) receives them electronically and puts your address on a map. Priority goes to where they have the most ROE’s in one area (i.e. entire streets).
-On the last page you can draw your septic and whatever else you are asking them to keep.
-They will focus on the ash footprint and 2 feet around it and the roads.
-They will provide a copy of your ROE to the contractors, then they will walk the property and decide what will go and what can stay (This is done without the owner of the property).
-They will take the first 3-6” then test the soil. If it’s not acceptable levels of contaminate, then they will take 2-3” and re-test. This will continue until the levels of contaminate is acceptable.
-They will fix anything that they damage that is not being taken off the property (i.e. Septic Systems).
-Once done they will rough-grade the property.
-They will give us a 24hr notice for when they will start the debris removal.
-They will not take any retaining walls, even ones that are attached to the foundation.
-Patios will be on a case by case basis.
PermitSonoma Meeting 18Nov2017
Building Code 2016 (current codes):
-We have to have a sprinkler/fire suppression system
-We are in a Wildland-Urban Interface area (WUI), therefore our siding and venting materials need to be fire resistant.
-They will not require us to upgrade the current septic systems. They can do this because septic falls under local ordinances so they can be more flexible with it.
-They will not require the Findings report for the rebuild. They will require an inspection prior to allowing us to occupy the finished home.
-They will not wave fees for the insured because they will not be reimbursed by the Feds. They will wave fees for the under-insured and non-insured.
-The cost of the building fees is set by the value of the structure.
-Impact fees (i.e. redirecting traffic) will be waved
-Hydraulic test needed for septic
-If you build new leech lines they must be 100’ from the creek bank. Any new leech lines will have to be built to the up-to-date standard.
-You can abandon your tank in place. To do this you must pump it, punch holes in the bottom and fill it with gravel. However they do not recommend building on top of the abandoned tank.
-PermitSonoma is open from 8:00am-4:00pm and they are not planning on having extended hours. Wednesdays they don’t open until 10:30am.
-Current codes do not allow any wood burning stoves, or fireplaces. Those of us who had wood burning stoves or fireplaces will not be grandfathered in, no exceptions.
-PermitSonoma scope of responsibility:
-They are not worried about our storm-drain infrastructure.
-If the plastic, under-driveway storm-drain is melted or damaged and need replacement, they will not require a permit to fix/replace it.
-If your leech field or septic tank needs to be repared or replaced, they will require a permit.
-Because a lot of waterlines have failed, now is the perfect time to replace those lines from the meter to the house.
-Current codes state that if your house is within 300’ of a sewage line, you are required to connect to that line. They have bent this slightly to say that if your house “fronts” a sewer line within 300’ (meaning if the main, or branch line is within 300’ of the front of your home) you will have to connect. All other properties (as of right now) will not be required to connect, even if the back of their house is within 300’.
-A financing district (voted on by a quorum from the entire housing development, in this case, all of Larkfield Estates) to install lateral sewage lines.
-It’s a way to have a 20 year financing where the payments are affectively an other tax that follows the house. So if we do this, and you try to sell in 5 years, the potential buyers will have to be ok with the additional cost for the remaining 15 years.
-Another form of financing uses a tax increment financing. This is a redevelopment financing where you have to have enough value added to your property in terms of infrastructure.
-They are aware of James Gore’s thoughts to use the “Rainy Day” funds to pay for the installment.
-If we can all agree on a design and a single builder for a Sound barrier wall, then PermitSonoma will consider it one permit as long as its all build as one project.
-Steps for getting a permit for a sound barrier wall. Have a sound engineer give us the specs needed for the wall, then get it designed to the specs.
-For the inspection fees for the permitting process, if we can get multiple properties ready for inspection at the same time, they can cut us a break on the fees because the inspector only has to make on trip.
Thanks for posting this information. It’s interesting to track the changes over the three weeks between the first and most recent reports. It does seem like the county is trying hard to make things work.