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Block Captain Mtg Notes – Dist. 3 (Hidden Valley Estates/Fountaingrove -ish) – Zane

  • The fire-affected neighborhoods in Sonoma County’s District 3 » includes, but is not limited to, Fountaingrove, Hidden Valley Estates, and Journey’s End.
  • Supervisor Zane’s » team has kindly agreed to let me post the notes from their weekly block captain meetings.  Please forgive any errors from copying and pasting.  As a reminder, things change over time, and each home and neighborhood differ, so be sure to check with the appropriate agency for current information.  See Resources »  Rebuilding »  and Insurance » for some links.
  • Are you interested in becoming a block captain or connecting with a block captain in District 1, 3, or 4?  Visit


8/9/2018 – Notes from 3rd District Block Captain Meeting + Resources

State-Sponsored Debris Removal Program –Doug Bunnell from the County’s Office of Recovery & Resiliency, and Briana Kahn the County’s Public Information Officer

  • County & City are mailing letters to all fire survivors regarding debris removal and the insurance reimbursement process
  • Kahn solicited questions from the Block Captains to help build a robust set of FAQs that are accompanying the letters
  • Cost Reports” from FEMA – the documents that will reflect the per-property costs of debris removal for each property owner – are not anticipated for at least six months, possibly a year
    • County is establishing accounts so that property owners can submit payments to the Assessor’s Office in advance of receiving the Cost Reports – optional
      • Some Block Captains expressed they do not want to turn over their funds until all debris removal issues are resolved – either by public or private contractors
      • Vita encouraged Kahn and Bunnell to make it clear this advance payment was optional and that property owners could wait until later in case there were any policy changes down the road
  • County Counsel is working directly with the larger insurance companies so that fire survivors do not have to
    • This was met with some pushback from insureds who would prefer to work directly with insurance companies
  • Insurance coverage of debris removal
    • Amount provided may be a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of coverage; some policies ambiguous
    • Confirm definition of debris removal with insurance adjuster
      • Fire debris removal vs. typical construction debris removal
    • Possible scenarios include – if insurance provides $25,000 for debris removal, that is what property owner is expected to pay the government. If policy says you have 10% for debris removal and there aren’t any funds remaining at the end of the rebuild, property owner would not be billed.
    • Question: Can you use debris removal funds provided by insurance companies to populate the soil yourself
      • The County anticipates property owners who have had to remediate over-excavation out-of-pocket can deduct that expense from the billing amount in the Cost Reports – to basically add this amount to your rebuild cost. SAVE ALL RECEIPTS.
      • There may be an issue with soil compatibility when refilling overexcavated sites (see below notes)
    • A block captain reported his policy states a “reasonable amount” will be provided for debris removal. Who determines “reasonable?”
  • Over-Excavation
    • Claims are still be accepted for over-excavation – contact the Sonoma County Recovers Line at (707) 565-1222 between 8.00AM and 5.00PM
    • Relevant County or City staff are overseeing excavation remediation
    • Question posed – are those who suffered from over-excavation going to have to wait a year before they have issue of cost resolved?
    • Bunnell reported property reviews should be completed soon
  • Quality of soil – compatibility of soils is a concern – fill soil with existing soil – different compression levels
    • Bunnell reported OES is working with two different quarries to match soils as best they can
  • Concerns expressed by block captains
    • One block captain has been on the list, but property has not been inspected. Eric Lamoureux of Cal OES has not followed through with this block captain, whose property was used as an example as one that needed remediation – Kahn will address the issue during weekly meeting w/Cal OES
    • One report that the Cal OES has refused to communicate with a property owners soil engineer in some cases – will also be addressed at weekly meeting above

Sacramento Advocacy Day – August 8, 2018 – Two Block Captains reported out on their participation with Up From the Ashes in the lobbying day event in Sacramento

  • Disappointed more survivors did not participate
  • Some elected did not meet with the group
  • Survivors felt frustrated to be meeting with staff
    • Staff not taking significant notes
  • Group felt disregarded
  • Staffers would not speak to survivors who were not constituents
  • Survivors from Tubbs, Thomas, Nuns, Valley, etc. participated
  • Staff seemed to have no knowledge about the current legislation involving PG&E and inverse condemnation despite PG&E members being very visible at the Capitol as well as the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW) Union
  • Question: what is the takeaway from this event?
  • Question came up – is there a way to bring forth a proposition or referendum approved by voters to prevent utilities from shifting liability?
    • Approach Patrick McCallum – Up from the Ashes

Recology Yard Waste Bins

  • Three donated greenwaste bins from Recology – pilot program
    • Cannot continue if bins are used as general dumping
  • After much discussion, group agreed to have all three bins placed at Nagasawa Community Park – safely out of the way of construction and rebuild vehicles
  • Call for a yard waste day/weekend/week
    • Labor Day weekend
  • Increase the ask to include a regular garbage bin to allow for people bringing waste in plastic bags
  • D3 office to ask for clearance from the City of Santa Rosa for placement in a city park
  • Nothing more than 2” in diameter can be placed in the bins
  • It was mentioned that the City had offered the use of chippers
  • Residential trash collecting can begin at occupancy

NBC News

  • Vita reported that Chris Chmura from KNTV-TV/NBC Bay Area was interested in doing a one-year special and is looking for ideas

Supervisor Zane will be donating $10,000 of her TOT funds (Transient Occupancy Tax) to Rebuild North Bay Foundation for Block Captains to use for agreed-upon expenditures

  • examples
    • Game cameras
    • Website
    • Signage
    • Bus to lobby in Sacramento on October 9
    • Bring ideas to August 30 meeting

Update on Congressman Thompson’s Office – Recovering phone numbers

  • A block captain reported Andrea Rodriguez in Thompson’s office helped her in her attempt to regain her lost phone number
  • Andrea will work with anyone who would like their number back
  • Comcast and AT&T are vendors and cannot return phone numbers – whatever utility provided the number originally may be able to get the number back

SBA Loans

  • Vita encouraged people to work with Andrea Rodriguez to look into reconsideration if previously rejected
  • An SBA loan would be in second position and it is not necessary to pay off existing mortgage

Rebuild Northbay Foundation

  • Have offered funding for potential events surrounding the anniversary of the fires
  • Location suggestions included Fountaingrove County Club and Sweet T’s
  • Potentially traumatic for some
  • Outreach for any event needs to include trigger warnings
  • Will have California HOPE counselors present

Owner of Sweet T’s property is planning to put in high density housing – 85 units, 3 stories, with parking under the buildings

  • 21 property owners in neighborhood have plans in place for rebuild and are not in agreement with the plan to build high density housing
  • One block captain is working with a group to have vendors and service providers present products and packages offered to fire survivors at potential discounts. Group brainstorming other vendors – water filtration systems, interior design, etc. Would like to partner with builders.

Lavish & Magnolia Home Entertainment presentations scheduled

  • Wednesday, August 15 – 6.00 to 9.00PM
  • Glaser Center/Unitarian Universalist Church, 547 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa

Meeting with Postmaster – Monday, September 10, 2018

  • Discuss placement of mailboxes – community vs. individual
  • How long will temporary community boxes be in place?

Updates – D3 office to include remaining updates and announcements in a follow-up email

The below was sent in advance of the meeting notes.  But has tons of information!

Hello All,

Official notes from last night’s meeting will be forthcoming early next week, but below is the list of updates & announcements that I did not completely get through last night. Grab a glass of something cool and refreshing and have a read.


  • Supervisor Zane will be donating $10K of her TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax) to the Rebuild Northbay Foundation, who will act as a fiscal agent for incurred expenses as deemed appropriate by the block captain group. Please bring ideas to the August 30 meeting.
    • Game cameras
    • Collaborative website
    • Signs
  • Rebuilding Our Community (ROC) and Volunteers Active in Disaster have opened a Resource Center at 141 Stony Circle, Suite 204 in Santa Rosa
    • Open House Monday August 20 at 5.30PM
    • Funded by grants and staffed by volunteers and nonprofits, the resource center has more than 30 partner organizations which can provide a wide variety of services
    • Two full-time case managers onsite to point fire survivors in the right direction for help with housing, financial assistance and advice, insurance assistance and many other topics
  • Legislative Questions for City of Santa Rosa
    • The City’s Communications & Intergovernmental Relations Officer has offered to field questions related to the City’s position on various pieces of fire-related legislation
    • If anyone has any questions, please send them to me and I will submit a list


  • PG&E deadlines for requests for temporary power at no cost has been extended through 2019. Previous deadline was through 2018.
  • Turnaround access for emergency vehicles for properties with 150+ foot driveway
    • Awaiting an official response from the Fire Marshall Moon , but Gabe Osburn indicated that he did not believe this is a new requirement; will keep you posted
  • PG&E Inverse Condemnation Liability Information 
  • Water Quality
    • Update in today’s newsletter

Future Speakers:

  • Scheduled: August 30 – Caerleon Safford, Public Information Specialist from the County’s Fire & Emergency Services Dept.
    • Also a coordinator with Fire Safe Sonoma (mission: promote fire safety while protecting natural and manmade resources in Sonoma County through education, resource sharing & community cooperation)
    • Will discuss hardening structures
    • Review County’s defensible space requirements
  • In Progress:
    • Fire sprinkler contractor (working with North Coast Builders Exchange)
    • City of Santa Rosa Fire Dept. – defensible space requirements
    • D3 survivors Community Planning Workshop with the Office of Recovery & Resiliency
  • Potential Speakers:
    • Chris Godley, Emergency Manager/Fire & Emergency Services Dept
      • Alert system being tested in September
      • Potential info about future plans for COPE & CERT programs
    • Bob Oller – suggested by Gabe Osburn
      • Oversees the construction/capital projects and activities and provide updates in this area

Thank you all for taking the time to read through all of the above.

Hope you enjoy your weekend.

Best regards,
Tracy Cunha 
Aide to Supervisor Shirlee Zane
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
575 Administration Drive, Room 1A. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Subscribe to the Third District e-Newsletter!

For more information on District Block Captains:

8/1/2018 – Notes from 3rd District Block Captain Meeting + Resources

Refine Issues List

  • Items 2 through 21 marked closed
    • Group in agreement
  • Items 22 through 25 – Crime
    • Discussion included thoughts that North Coast Builders Exchange should be partners with homeowners in preventing crimes/theft
    • Story shared about building experience in Southern California where builders hired security out of necessity
  • Items 26 & 27 – Finance
    • SBA Loans
      • Property owners had been encouraged to sign up; most were denied, accepted but were then denied, or offered very small amount; many missed deadline for reconsideration  because they gave up (assumed reconsideration another impossible hurdle and didn’t have time to pursue reconsideration because of other pressing rebuilding/ recovery tasks)
      • Vita to reach out to Andrea Rodriguez in Congressman Thompson’s office to look into extension of deadline
      • Reconsideration of a denied or rescinded or too-low loan may be simpler than a homeowner realizes
      • Big issue as this is a form of gap funding
      • Vita encouraged spreading the word that if anyone needs help with an SBA loan and does not want to pay off existing mortgage that they should reach out to Rodriguez
      • Vita to send out Rodriguez’s contact details and information regarding SBA and mailboxes
    • Exchange Bank – Not quite gap funding
    • Rebuild Our Community – group that is potentially working on funding on some level
  • Item 38 – Fire/Disaster Resiliency Now – Defensible Space
    • D3 staff to reach out to SR Fire Dept and the County’s Fire & Emergency Services to provide informational speakers at a future meeting – some block captains have neighbors in both jurisdictions
  • Item 41 – Landscaping
    • Most issues addressed in 7-26-18 BCM notes, and additional issues addressed by Gabe Osburn will be sent out to group
    • Keep item open until the City’s design template has been revised and reduced in size
  • Item 46 – Outreach
    • Jeanne Miskel working with Fountaingrove HOA to acquire some space on HOA website to post the agendas and minutes of the block captain meetings
    • D3 staff bringing outreach flyers to next meeting
  • Items 48 through 53 – Power & Sidewalks
    • Some of these issues have been addressed by either PG&E or the City
  • Question was raised about extending the PG&E deadline for permanent hookup beyond December 31, 2018 to allow for coordination with contractors
    • Upon further review, this deadline was for temporary power
    • D3 staff to reach out to PG&E to follow up on potential extension
  • Items 60 through 65 – Water Pressure & Quality (Benzene)
    • General agreement that these issues have been addressed and that the City has a plan in place
    • Leaving open to allow for check-in with Water Agency on testing results and overall status at end of August
  • Other Discussions Surrounding Issues List
    • HVE to receive community mailboxes temporarily, with service restored to what was in place before the fires
      • Need to define “temporary”
      • Ongoing question of curbside vs house-side delivery moving forward; HVE residents polling each other on this topic
      • Andrea Rodriguez to schedule a meeting with USPS postmaster office
    • Does the group want a representative from a state legislator – Senator McGuire, Assemblyman Wood?
      • What is state’s responsibility in helping fire survivors?
      • What can the state do?
      • How can they communicate better with survivors?
      • Are there state programs that can help survivors that group is not aware of?
      • Unable to know what matters could potentially be state issues
      • D3 staff to look into
    • Driveway code requirements
      • Reports that for driveways 150 feet or longer must have an adequate space for a turnaround for an emergency vehicle
      • Question of this being a City or County requirement and if post-disaster variances are in place.
      • D3 Staff to look into

Discussion of United Way Grants – see application

  • D1 Block Capn has proposed all three districts impacted by the fires to work together on short-term funding needs
    • Initial Needs List and Sign-up Sheet (reach out to Vita or Will Abrams (see the sign-up sheet for Will’s contact info) if interested in participating
    • Pooling resources will show multiple voices seeking assistance
    • Working together on UW grants will help create the larger needs assessment list for Horne LLC for the Federal Block grant (disaster recovery)
    • Idea to work closely with County officials to create strongest possible proposal
  • Rebuild Northbay Foundation reached out to D1 & D4 and offered to help fund potential events surrounding the anniversary of the fires

Recology Yard Waste Bins

  • Due to number of block captains not in attendance, this issue was tabled to a future meeting

D3 Fire Recovery Listening Session

  • Invite the County’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency to a meeting to listen to all fire survivors from D3 wishing to participate – not just block captains
  • Need to look into possible venue

Needs Assessment

Best regards,
Tracy Cunha 
Aide to Supervisor Shirlee Zane
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
575 Administration Drive, Room 1A. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Subscribe to the Third District e-Newsletter!

For more information on District Block Captains:

7/26/2018 – Notes from 3rd District Block Captain Meeting + Resources – Notes Updated 8/8/18 (changes are in red text)

Please note: The August 2 meeting has been moved up to Wednesday, August 1 at the HR Training Center at 5.30PM.


Jennifer Burke – Deputy Director of Water & Engineering Resources, City of Santa Rosa

Gabe Osburn – Deputy Director of Development Services, Planning & Economic Development Department, City of Santa Rosa

Benzene Issue

  • Handout A – Post-Fire Water Quality Advisory available on City website
  • Handout B – “Safely Restoring Water Service to the Advisory Area” PowerPoint presentation here »
  • Fountaingrove that is in advisory area – within the green lines
    • If your property is outside those lines, water is not affected
  • Hidden Valley Estates (HVE) not in advisory area
  • Outside of advisory area
    • To date, City has identified 150 contaminated service lines at burned properties
    • Testing included areas surrounding the service line from the main to the meter, lines at adjoining properties, and fire hydrants
    • Have been flushing and replacing services lines – has eliminated contamination
    • City highly recommends property owners at the 150 sites of contamination replace the property side of the plumbing – from the meter to the home
  • Testing & Concerns
    • Since January, levels meet regulatory limits of 1 part per billion
    • Testing weekly – over 6,000 samples taken
    • Andrea Rodriguez from Congressman Thompson’s office following testing; confirmed aggressive and consistent testing taking place
    • Water being flushed is going into sanitary sewer or being absorbed into the ground in some places
    • No concern about soil absorption – Benzene is a volatile organic compound that volatizes upon contact with air
    • No concern about soil absorption – Benzene is a volatile organic compound that volatizes upon contact with air
    • No current limitations/advisory on irrigation
    • Soil has been tested in advisory area
    • Concern is focused on coming into contact with water entering the house – drinking, coming into contact with skin, inhalation
    • Test results can be obtained from City
    • Replacing service lines
      • City replacing services lines with copper
      • Property owners responsible for replacement from the sidewalk to meter; if service line is being replaced by the City (in advisory area or 150 properties outside advisory area) the City is replacing the line from the meter to the back of sidewalk
      • Property owners encouraged to tell contractor to replace line under the sidewalk – encroachment permit required if sidewalk is removed
      • Replacing lines under sidewalk also facilitates future irrigation to planter strip (area between sidewalk and street)

Pressure & Sprinkler System Issues

  • Coffey Park does not have same pressure issues as D3, so their domestic shut off value solution may not work in certain FG/HVE homes)
  • HVE and FG – essentially, there are no City infrastructure solutions to creating enough water pressure for fire suppression systems in all areas. Water delivery system physics are at issue, not equipment or materials.
  • Sprinkler system is not designed to save your house — it buys time for safe evacuation and arrival of fire department
  • There are backup generators at every pump station and reservoir
  • Burke reported Press Democrat article about hilltop water system failure contained some misinformation
    • Water ran out of every open hole on properties as the structures burned, therefore lowering pressure
  • Fire sprinkler system is sensitive to both the size of the line and the level of pressure — pressure doesn’t change based on size of piping, but increasing pipe size will allow a higher quantity of water to come through at once (increase in gallons per minute flow)
    • They provide fire sprinkler plan to building contractor
  • In general, if pressure is below 50psi, a pump and possibly tank is going to be needed. ADDITION – Fire Department is seeing systems successfully designed at 40 PSI in the Fountaingrove area without pumps. This will be a site by site determination.
  • Recommendation to have contractor use pressure gauge on surface once water service is reactivated
    • Check pressure several times to determine an accurate range
    • Check numbers at base of fire hydrants – provides a baseline pressure reading
    • Pressure fluctuates daily – 50 psi can turn to 40 or 60 due to demands placed on system
    • Loss or gain of half a pound per foot of elevation
    • Fire Sprinkler contractor can also perform flow test (bucket test) to determine available flow at service point.
  • HVE has a band of pressure of 50psi running through (not the burned area)
  • Question arose about areas with low pressure but good flow (If decent pressure in the 50psi range but long run to house)
    • Natural phenomenon of “friction loss” slows down water as it flows through pipe
    • Increasing size of pipe will allow better flow while not affecting pressure
  • Not all homes will require a tank – perhaps just the pump
    • Size of tanks vary, but many low-profile ones
    • Average cost for 1500-2000sf home between $2000-3000 (but that is based on current averages—the City does not see the actual costs as part of the permitting process.
    • Per a BC: Some insurance providers offering more than that in coverage
    • Per Fire Marshall Hardage at a prior meeting, if a sprinkler professional is only offering a very expensive option, and/or only 1 option for fire suppression system, seek other estimates
  • Question arose about option of having a gray water system in place from irrigation in conjunction with water needed for sprinkler system
    • Gabe to look into
  • Need to be creative with plumbing plans
  • Gabe offered to review other questions that have come in and respond in writing – which would ensure that there isn’t anything lost in translation in the note-taking

Permit – Code Cycles

  • Normally property owners have two years to build once permit is pulled, or have to reapply
  • City is allowing extensions, recognizing there may be issues down the road
    • eg., contractor leaving; construction going sideways
    • essentially, keep in good contact with the City, who will work with you to extend as long as good faith efforts to continue rebuilding/looking for a replacement contractor/overcoming issues, etc.

Landscaping – Tree Planting/Removal

  • City is responsible for median strip down middle of Fountaingrove Parkway
  • Property owners responsible for planter strip – section between curb and sidewalk, but City provides list of approved trees*
  • Normally bigger contractors doing a full neighborhood build would plants trees for continuity and uniformity in neighborhood
    • Not the case with multiple contractors involved in rebuild
    • Arborist hired by City to identify trees in planter strips that require removal
      • Should be completed by September.  UPDATE: Estimated completion date has changed.  Based on current discussions with Parks, it looks is if the Arborist analysis will be completed in December of this year
      • Affected trees will be removed by City
      • Gabe will work with City on building a process that would allow property owners to tag trees they wish to keep – ultimate decision relates to safety
  • The City can not commit to reinstalling the landscaping in the planter strips at this time. There are both state and local codes that place this responsibility on the property owner. Due to this fact, the City likely cannot obtain FEMA reimbursement for any replanting. The early discussions involved the concept of tracking down grants to assist with the replanting. It’s too early to tell if this will be a reality.
    The City will only be removing trees that did not survive the fire (as determined by the arborist).  If the trees are coming back, it’s highly doubtful that they will be removed.  I will chat with the Parks Department regarding the concept of the property owner tagging trees that they would like to keep. I’m guessing that these trees will be showing signs of life and will likely not be identified by the arborist as a removal.  There isn’t a September deadline at this point. I received an email from Parks and it looks like the tree removal has been push out to December.
  • Question arose about handling trees that pose a hazard to neighboring lots
  • Some trees on the creek on Leete belong to Clear Ridge Development
    • Contact Superior Management Co., Jasmine Olsen 707-523-1360
    • If there is not a timely response, HVE neighbor can contact Jeff Miller who will look at obtaining additional HOA board contact info
  • City looking into which City agency is supposed to deal with compromised trees near the creek that pose a hazard to homes
    • Gabe checked: with Capital Projects team on bridge cleanup issues (Stagecoach)
      • Project to repair three fire-damaged pedestrian bridges: 1) Francis Nielson Park Bridge, 35′ x 6′ foot wide wooden pedestrian bridge 2) Parker Hill Road Bridge north, 40′ x 7′ steel pedestrian bridge with wooden deck 3) Parker Hill Road Bridge south, 40′ x 7′ steel pedestrian bridge with wooden deck.  Construction is scheduled to begin in April of 2019

Landscaping – General/Requirements for Occupancy

  • Some level of landscaping in place before occupancy
  • City designed ~ eight plans to choose from
    • Supposed to mitigate property owners need/cost to engage landscape architects; City to work on the plans to make that doable for homeowners and not require landscape architects
    • City wants to at least see a plan in place
  • Keep it simple
    • Determine placement of walkway
    • Indicate which plants in plan need to be removed or moved because of placement of walkway
    • Determine which side of house irrigation placed — draw red line showing this
  • California State Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance for residential landscapes over 5,000 sf
  • Three options
    • Completely landscape per one of City plans
    • Reduce plant count by 50%
    • Plant a tree, put down mulch (or wildflowers) & irrigation
      • Soil treatment (covering with mulch, etc) critical for weed abatement
  • For occupancy purposes – plan in zones
    • Focus on actual front yard, not strip on side of driveway or planter strip
  • City understands that the current landscape requirements need to be simplified and are working on it:
    • Gabe working on reducing landscape plans from seven to two pages – irrigation and landscape
    • Gabe to look into sourcing materials for irrigation systems
    • Ultimately, City does not want landscaping issues to interfere with occupancy – homeowners to continue to work with the city for minimum requirements
    • The templates are supposed to offer many plant options so that plant shortages are not an issue
    • City is working with Coffey Park and HVE homeowners on simplifying plans and requirements.

7/31/18 Additional Responses from Gabe to Landscape Questions

Question:  There are a lot of stressed-out survivors with anger toward the city about the landscape approval time frame. We seem to concur about importance and compliance of low water landscaping; however, the encompassing feeling is that, in the face of unprecedented disaster, the city must focus on getting survivors in their homes, getting dollars back into our economy and realistically, defer the landscape process further with new timelines. Perhaps there can be warnings and fines for those who don’t comply?

Answer:  I completely understand the angst surrounding this topic.  This is definitely one of the longer running issues and we’ve been attempting to create a workable solution since a few months after the fire.  Low water use landscaping is actually a State requirement.  It’s also in the building code as a CALGreen requirement. The state currently has a model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance that applies to all new or replaced landscaping installed under a building permit process.   Local agencies are required to adopt the ordinance.  Based on the concerns we’ve heard thus far, we’re looking at implementing the following options for landscaping:

Option 1 – Custom Landscape Design

Hire a landscape architect or landscape designer to develop a custom irrigation and landscape plan for the site.  The plans must meet all the requirements within the Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance.  Plans must be submitted prior to sheetrock inspection and all landscaping and irrigation components must be installed prior to occupancy.

This is the method utilized on all new homes that are constructed outside of the fire damaged areas.  We’re also seeing it being used by some of the larger developers in Coffey Park and it will likely be fairly prevalent in the custom homes in Fountaingrove as well.  This option does have a tendency to have a higher price tag due to the additional design cost. 

Option  2 – Use Template Plans Provided by the Partnership

The template plans can be modified by the property owner to include desired plant types.  Plant types must stay within the same usage category (low water use plant exchanged for low water use plant).  This is needed to maintain the ratio of low and moderate water use plant types included on the plan.   The overall plantings can also be reduced to defer costs. Property owners can reduce plantings by simply changing the plant counts in each irrigation zone.  Plant types may be reduced by 50%.  We’re currently discussing allowing a further reduction to possibly 25%.  Property owners may also elect to defer any plantings shown in the narrow landscape strip that exists adjacent to the driveway (on a rectangular lot), as well as the planter strip adjacent to the curb. The tree count may not be reduced.

Maintaining the tree count, reducing all plant counts by 50% (possibly 25%) and deferring any landscaping installation in the strip adjacent to the driveway and the sidewalk planter strip will be recognized as the minimum amount of landscaping required prior to occupancy.

Option 3 – Use Template Plan and Defer Minimum Amount of Landscaping

I think this is the solution you’re requesting above.  It starts with selecting the minimum amount of landscaping above.  The property owner will then be able to defer the installation of the minimum landscaping until 2 years after occupancy.  This concept will still require some improvement to the front yard prior to occupancy.  We will be looking for the following:

Tree planting as show on the selected template plan

Soil amendment (rototilling)


Pipe chases installed under sidewalk for future irrigation lines

Property owners signs an agreement to complete landscaping in 2 years

These requirements are designed to hold off weeds for the 2 year period, allow the irrigation system to be easily extended in the future and provide some softening of the buildings through the installation of the tree.

Question:  Those aware of the Saving Water site misunderstood how to utilize the site plans. I explained to them that, as per my visit to Room 6/RCRC, a properly drafted landscape + irrigation plan, modified to their site, must be submitted. During the same visit to Room 6, it was recommended by staff that a landscape professional be hired for this task, to which I commented that a lot of people rebuilding don’t know that. The misconception by people rebuilding was that a chosen plan could simply be printed out and submitted for approval, and that the modification would happen later, on site. If their builder doesn’t have a professional on payroll, people need to know that they need to hire a one ASAP, to get in line.

Answer:  You can have a design professional assist you with the utilization of the plan, but this is definitely not required.   I’m sorry that you were told this at the center.  I believe this was a reaction to the format of the template drawings.  On the surface, they are a bit complex.  We all wish that they would have been prepared in a fashion that was easier for the property owner to understand.   The meeting we were trying to schedule last week was intended to offer an opportunity to walk you through the steps needed to modify the template design.  We met with a small group from Coffey Strong last Thursday and it seemed to be very helpful.  They definitely gained a better understanding of the process.  It is actually fairly easy to modify the plan once the concept is understood.  We’re developing a few “how to” resources associated with the plan modification and we’re hoping to get some direct feedback and determine where people are really struggling.

Question:  Also, during my visit to room 6, I was told that the Saving Water site was still incomplete – which was not helpful – and that the city wasn’t letting the landscape approval deadline and process hold up the building process. My relief was short lived. When I arrived home minutes later, my husband and I received the Plan Review Comment List response to our permit application. Page 3, item 2 completely contradicted what I was told. It stated that landscape plans shall be submitted and approved before sheetrock inspection. This conflicting information was confusing, frustrating and made us lose confidence in that department. (This was the second time the desk has given us incorrect rebuilding information.)

Answer:  When did you visit the center? The site and the plans are currently complete.  There will be additional resource guides developed to assist with the utilization of the plans.  The requirement to submit irrigation plans has always been set at the sheetrock stage.  This requirement is listed in our submittal guideline document, which was developed a few months after the fire and has been widely distributed.  Prior to the template plans being available, we were allowing the building plans to simply state the property owner’s desire to use the template drawings.  We actually had a few owners occupy prior to the partnership completing the plans.  We did not hold up that process.  Depending on when you visited the center, the information may not have been incorrect.

Question:  Having worked in the busy landscape industry of Oregon (nurserywoman, landscape tech and drafter), I was very concerned about landscape architect availability and their capacity for new projects in a fire ravaged area with over 5300+ homes. I contacted several landscape architecture firms throughout Sonoma County and got a dismal response. Just 3 firms returned my calls – after a few weeks! One firm was a ‘no’ right away (no longer had a landscape architect). The other two were swamped with existing customers and projects. Only one could squeeze me in for an estimate.

Answer:  Please see above.  A landscape architect is not required if you’re using the template plans.

Question:  Concerned about drought plant availability for over 5300+ homes, I then talked to some landscape professionals and even visited a very large local nursery. Everyone is concerned about available stock and feels the city is not aware of shortages. The nursery admitted that some of their drought tolerant mainstays have yet to arrive from growers due to lower spring/summer temperatures affecting growth vigor. Some plants are not even available in 4” pots due to stock going to the Nuns fire landscape recovery projects. I encouraged them to attend some of the city meetings to help everyone understand challenges sourcing living plant materials in a disaster zone and how this skews timelines. I hope they do. This nursery encouraged people rebuilding to maintain monthly contact with them to see what their stock is looking like. They cannot hold stock indefinitely since it’s living material and needs to go into the ground.

Answer:  The ordinance controls the overall water use of the site and does not necessary require all drought tolerant plants.  You can actually install high and moderate use plants in low quantiles.  There is also a path to get small amounts of turf.  Availability of materials was a concern in the early stages of the rebuilding process and will continue to be a concern throughout.  There likely will be issues during periods in which construction is running rampant.  The 5,000 units will be metered out in some fashion over the course of some undefined period of time.  Suppliers are adjusting to the peak demands and contractors are sourcing materials over a wide range.  I can’t say that we won’t see more significant issues on this front in the future.  If that turns out to be the case, we’ll try to find ways to free things up from a policy standpoint. 

Question:  Overall, most survivors I have had discussions with seem to be on board with installing drought tolerant plants. They want a low water, low expense and low maintenance landscape. However, our both razor sharp and exhaustive focus and deepest yearning is to be home, get our feet on the ground and our heads on straight. Every step in the rebuilding process is unbelievably problematic, complicated and immensely overwhelming. We don’t have the capacity right now in our struggle to pick plants, deal with shortages or stress out about not getting callbacks from landscape firms or hear that they are booked out for months. The thought of landscaping delaying occupancy is beyond upsetting, unthinkable and unacceptable. We’ve already seen the stress of rebuilding drive away friends and neighbors. For some in our circle who are teetering on the edge, dealing with the landscape process might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We don’t want to lose any more good neighbors.

Answer:  I do understand the frustrations and I know the various layers of development can be incredibly complicated for individuals that do not do it on a regular basis. It’s often very challenging for those that do it for a living.  Installing landscaping as part of the development of a new home is a pretty standard process.  It’s been occurring on new home construction in Santa Rosa for as long as I can remember.  The installation is typically always performed prior to permit final.  Contractors are accustomed to working this aspect into the overall coordination.  The solutions we’ve provided further simplify the process due to the fact that they do not require the services of a licensed professional. The home owner can install the majority of landscaping after occupancy.

Best regards,
Tracy Cunha 
Aide to Supervisor Shirlee Zane
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
575 Administration Drive, Room 1A. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
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For more information on District Block Captains:

7/17/2018 – Notes from 3rd District Block Captain Meeting + Resources

County Office of Recovery and Resiliency (ORR) – John Kessel and Christel Querijero
The Block Capns (BCs) asked this question: What is the connection between input from the resiliency listening sessions (see more here and on this ORR Recovery Town Hall Flyer), the consultant hired by the County (Horne LLC), and state and federally funded programming and resources, particularly with respect to fire recovery?  Or, How do they help fire survivors?

  • August 2: Finley Community Center, 2060 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa
  • August 8: Veterans Building, 126 First St., Sonoma
  • In addition, a Spanish language Community Meeting is being planned and details will be announced shortly.
  • ORR: This is one of the key storytelling and listening tools. Community engagement is a requirement to apply for public money (state and federal grants).
  • BCs: There is a concern that resources will not directly benefit fire survivors.
  • ORR:
    • Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds must benefit individuals and families directly impacted by fires (fire survivors). Needs assessment determines how funding is spent. Not sure yet how the pie will be divided. State and federal government will decide how the money is allocated. Different funding streams will address various aspects of recovery and resiliency.
    • There will be more opportunities to provide input outside the workshops. The needs will evolve at three, six, nine, twelve, eighteen… month milestones. The needs assessment will need to be a living document.
    • These 5 meetings are not the only way or time for input; fire survivors should decide if they want to engage now or later.
    • These meetings include planning for allocation of non-disaster funds as well as disaster-recovery funds.
  • BCs:
    • People who lost homes are experiencing a very different reality than other impacted community members. Effort should be directed at keeping fire survivors here, rebuilding, recovering.
    • How do we support disaster survivors in particular, as we face future disasters?
    • Would like more of a navigator type of assistance from local government.
  • ORR: Some middle class/income people are failed by the system because they do not qualify for traditional needs-based assistance, nor are they wealthy enough to absorb significant and mounting extra costs. They are exhausting emotional and financial reserves faster than populations below and above their income threshold.
  • BCs: Another perspective is to keep focused on fire emergency planning and all disaster resiliency matters (defensible space) as local fire prevention efforts might affect insurance company policies/prices in our WUI zones.

No Trespassing Signs

  • Neighbors recommend putting “no trespassing” signs on properties. One neighbor notices people walking around the area without regard for private property.

PG&E Issues

  • PG&E issues persist. Sense is that they are not being accommodating in context of rebuild (won’t accommodate adjoining neighbors in the County (not City) who want to share a new power pole)

Large, widespread problems (like water infrastructure) need public subsidies.

  • Should not be on individual homeowners to address one by one. (County recovery grant writer suggests we put together a simple needs assessment to guide grant application efforts. Michelle and Tracy can help with this with input from Block Captains).

Topics for Gabe to address on 7/26/18

  • FG – Benzene
    • New data on Benzene levels and new map with Benzene levels.
    • Benzene presence during construction. Clarify risk and potential liability to homeowners if water contamination causes problems outside their property boundaries
    • Can City provide temporary carbon filters during construction so that property owners don’t accidently spread contamination if Benzene is present in their water?
  • Water Pressure (HVE, FG)
    • What about water pressure issues in each neighborhood? Can city isolate/identify/provide data on pressure, street by street? Need more definitive answers to pressure questions as relate to state code mandated sprinklers. In Redwood Valley a state grant funded new water infrastructure to mitigate pressure issues. (Can add this to needs assessment noted above).
    • Large, widespread problems (like water infrastructure) need public subsidies. Should not be on individual homeowners to address one by one. (Can add this to needs assessment noted above).
  • Public Landscaping
    • New Trees in Sidewalk
      • Who owns tree re-planting?
      • Residents to influence selection and size
      • Some want replacements larger than 5 gallon size
      • Less allergenic trees?
      • Some wish to not have trees replaced
    • Parker Hill Road tree limbs need to be cut (this may have been resolved already)
    • Burnt trees in public space (eg along Paulin Creek in HVE) that pose imminent danger to standing homes or burnt lots with planned or current rebuilding – how to report and resolve?
    • City/County responsibility and timeline for cleaning up public areas, eg the Parker Hill creekside path from Leete to Stagecoach?
  • Rebuild Landscaping
    • Burnt trees on empty lots that pose imminent danger to adjacent lots – how to report and resolve?
    • Will City mandate replacement of heritage trees with like-kind in lots that do not support large trees – in contradiction with defensible space
    • Rosie P’s questions. She will hopefully provide an updated list to Gabe directly before July 26.
      • Santa Rosa sample landscape plans still not ready, but the City won’t hold up rebuilding due to this. Will occupancy permits be issued if front landscaping isn’t done?
      • The City also said that the City’s front yard landscaping plans still need a professional (landscape contractor or architect) to draft it up to a homeowner’s specific site’s specs for review. Is that true? That is yet another expense. And those professionals are already fully booked.
      • Non flammable mulch? I have a photo of the mulch in my front yard smoking and burning. I know we are restricted in the amount of gravel what about fabric weed block and River Stones instead?
      • Irrigation Item – Can your department provide a listing of approved suppliers/products so we can be confident we purchase appropriate and approved supplies?
    • There is a conflict between drought tolerant landscaping and fire resistant landscaping. What is the regulatory agency for these requirements? (Question for Gabe?)
  • Permit “life” Span
    • The permit is valid for one year with possibility of extension. If you ask for extension, you will have to update the plans to current code, you will not have to go through soil engineering…if nothing changed structurally on your lot.
    • If you don’t start building for one year, and you ask for an extension, how long does the extended time period last?
  • Misc (not for Gabe)
    • After weed abatement, where does the green waste go? Disposal options? Recology? (Michelle got Recology to donate some green waste bins. Placement can be discussed at next block captain meeting).
    • Can Sonoma County’s health lab provide water testing services for fire survivors? (Michelle will look into this).
    • Fence Setback Clarification (Reported by JT from the City of Santa Rosa rebuild center 7/18/18, see accompanying City of Santa Rosa .pdf, p. 10 of Ord. No. ORD2017-018)
      • Pre-fire setbacks can be grandfathered.
      • You can rebuild your fence at the pre-fire setback (with same height) if rebuilding commences before October 9, 2020. The permitting person compared pictures of pre-fire lot from their database, the setback of my fence, looked at my neighbor’s fence to check that they have the same setback than me. Note: the actual code is: 3′ height fence permitted within front and side setbacks, 6′ height fence permitted outside front and side setbacks. Front and street side setbacks are 10′, measured from back of sidewalk or property line whichever is more restrictive. This mainly is a concern for neighbors along Parker hill road (traffic, privacy). So it might be wise for those not rebuilding right away to at least put their fence back if their fence does not meet the actual code. I attached the section of the ordinance that the permit person kindly copied for me because you might want to show it to your builder: my builder insisted on building my fence with a 10′ setback from back of sidewalk.

Warmest regards,
Michelle Whitman
District Director to Supervisor Shirlee Zane
575 Administration Drive, Room 100A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
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For more information on District Block Captains:

7/12/2018 – Notes from 3rd District Block Captain Meeting

Construction/Rebuild Complaints (eg inappropriate construction traffic patterns)

Visit the City of Santa Rosa Complaint portal on its website (a device app is also available). Look for the “Resilient City Fire Rebuild” module. If not resolved by going to the above website, contact Bob Oller, Construction Management, Planning and Economic Development, Engineering Division, Tel. (707) 543-4610 |

Weed Abatement – Responsibility of all property owners, including those of empty, burned lots.

  • Answers to primary questions parsed out of the City’s online weed abatement information Here» and detailed at the City of Santa Rosa weed abatement page ».
  • Potential question for Gabe Osburn – Who is responsible for untended parcels on hills that do not seem to belong to individual property owner; areas near Keysight (this issue has been put on our master issues list)

Recovery Planning Community Meetings & Rescheduling Meetings

  • Concerns were raised about the five strategy areas County officials are looking for input on
  • Feedback from someone who attended D4 meeting was that there wasn’t any discussion about specifically helping fire survivors
  • Area that comes closest to addressing needs of fire survivors is housing; at the 4th District Recovery Planning Community meeting, the feedback focused more on general homelessness, farm workers, and the need for a living wage.

While discussing rescheduling the August 2 meeting due to the 3rd District Recovery Planning Community meeting being the same evening, we considered:

  • D3 Block Captains should spread out their attendance and cover all of the remaining community meetings to ensure their voices and needs are heard
  • An organizational meeting to prioritize the group’s needs must be scheduled before going to community meetings
  • There was a report that Red Cross was distributing checks again and the question arose of who is determining the needs and how are funds applied for?
  • The County has hired a disaster recovery consulting service – Horne, LLP – to conduct needs assessments and manage the grant process for the anticipated federal and state funds coming in. Consultant was present at D4 Block Captain meeting
  • Vita to send out Doodle to gauge availability for a replacement date for the July 19 meeting that has been cancelled due to United Policyholder’s workshop; Need to determine if D3 staff is available on other evenings
    If group cannot meet, will try to spend 7-26 meeting prioritizing;
  • July 17 mtg has been scheduled; Michelle Whitman will be available to host at County

Recovery Community Planning Meetings (info obtained after the meeting):

  • I also reached out today to the Office of Recovery & Resiliency (ORR) to follow up on the questions and concerns raised last night. This is the County office that is conducting the community planning meetings. The Board of Supervisors – who previously determined what the five strategic areas were to be – wants input from our community on how best to move forward in the recovery and rebuild process.
  • While obviously not everyone in the County suffered the devastating losses all of you did, the fires did impact our whole county community on many levels – including the economy, businesses, workforce, infrastructure, mental health of residents etc. Because so many people have expressed that the fires impacted them on some level, and the feeling that everyone cares about a successful rebuild and recovery period, the Board of Supervisors have a strong desire to receive input from all segments of the community.
  • I did receive a strong message from ORR – which I believe is the sentiment shared at the meeting – all of you should absolutely be attending these meetings – expressing your needs and sharing your concerns, suggestions, and thoughts so that your voices are heard along with everyone else’s.
  • This is a listening session. It’s not a town hall to provide answers to questions. It is truly intended to provide the Board with opportunities to hear what the members of our community all want and need.
  • Questions about federal and state funds coming our way:
    • These community meetings are not tied to the federal/state funds potentially being allocated to Sonoma County
    • The disaster recovery consulting services firm approved of by the Board – Horne, LLP – will be conducting needs assessments in each District impacted directly by the fires to determine where those funds go
    • This will likely be a year-long process
    • Decisions will be made based on needs regardless of the order the assessments are completed
    • Horne, LLP will attend a D3 meeting in the next few months to provide information about the process
    • There are ways to prepare for this, which will be shared in more detail at the next BCM meeting
    • This is an ORR-managed contract; Horne, LLP will work directly with ORR, which is part of the County Administrator’s Office


Sonoma Clean Power – Rachel Kuyendall;

See this NTSR page » and Sonoma Clean Power » and this SCP page » for more detailed info.

Advanced Energy Rebuild – Incentive Packages Tailored to Sonoma & Mendocino Counties

  • Advance Energy Option (Gas and Electric) vs. All Electric (cannot have gas line to house or gas meter installed; Propane (smaller tanks, eg for bbq grills) only allowed outside of home; gas line can be installed later, after incentive program completed)
  • Timing
    • Happy to look at applications in advance
    • Feel free to engage ahead of time to ensure you have everything on the checklist, but cannot submit applications until permits are in place
    • SCP needs access to building before drywall goes up
  • Required appliances
    • If working through prescriptive option, all appliances must be Energy Star
    • If working through enhancement option, more choices exist
  • Pools at all electric homes
    • Best option would be a heat pump water heater
    • Moves cold from inside pool to outside before cooling (much like a refrigerator moves heat from inside fridge to outside before generating cool air)
  • Vehicle charger station (equipment only; not installation)
    • Free for every SCP customer (don’t have to be rebuilding)
    • Can be indoors or out – whatever makes sense for your home
    • Compatible with all auto models except Tesla, which requires an adapter
    • Not required to own an electric vehicle at present
    • Hard wired or plug in (can move to next house) available

County’s Energy & Sustainability Division – Christine Condon – See this NTSR page »  for more info

  • Free 90 minute homeowner consultations 707-565-6470 for appointment
  • Find ways to make homes more energy efficient – many improvements/additions cannot be added later on
  • Help your rebuild meet Sonoma Clean Power energy efficiency incentive requirements
  • Help your rebuild meet current or even 2020 energy efficiency standards
  • Property owners are not limited to that one consultation – no limit to number of times you check in to ensure every requirement met, every step covered
  • Recommend homeowners and their builders come in prior to submitting permits, but happy to meet after permit approved, too.
  • Building Codes
    • Updates occur every three years, next big update takes effect January 1, 2020
    • If you submit for your permit by December 31, 2019, covered under current code year (“2016” code)
  • Energy Efficiency Team (your builder/contractor should be hiring these professionals on your behalf or you can hire them to work with your builder. SCP website
    • Energy Analyst
      • Not legally required to hire a Certified Energy Analyst (CEA) – but highly recommended – codes requirements are rigorous
      • NOTE: a CEA is required for the SCP incentive program
      • CEAs are required to be up-to-date on code changes
    • HERS Rater (Home Energy Rating System Rater)
      • Inspects and tests a home to evaluate the building code energy efficiency standards
      • Rating program established to address construction defects and equipment installation had historically not been done correctly
      • Measures cover HVAC, hot water system and insulation installation
    • CalGreen Special Inspector
      • California Green Building Code
      • Verifies Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) loads, sizing and duct design calculations completed
  • Better home design – considerations for new construction
    • For example…advanced framing – Designed to reduce amount of lumber used and waste generated in construction of wood-framed house
    • Considering solar down the road? Have contractor install conduit now

Anniversary of Firestorms – Community Input

  • On the agenda but not discussed. Email Tracy with suggestions.

Best regards,
Tracy Cunha 
Aide to Supervisor Shirlee Zane
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
575 Administration Drive, Room 1A. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
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For more information on District Block Captains:

6/28/2018 – Notes from 3rd District Block Captain Meeting

Informational Speakers

Mike Behler, General Manager, Behler Construction Company

(See Architect/Contractor/Builder Hints » for three useful handouts.)

• Engaged in commercial work only for right now. Family here since ~1900. Helping fire victims at no cost with simple tasks—i.e. writing letters to insurance companies about cost per sq ft to rebuild, reviewing contracts. Does not have the time to do full blown estimates. Has documents about how to select contractors, architects. In his opinion, “margin” is a scam, and he will address that.

• Ideally, there should be no surprises. Bring contractor on early. Demand accurate pricing, AIA (Architects Institute of America) contracts tend to be fair, neutral. 70% fixed prices, 30% up in the air is reasonable. To keep a project on track timewise, homeowners need to make decisions in a timely way. Can have a liquidated damages clause to account for slower than promised progress (i.e. $1,000 week for late projects). Check references! Hold retention (5-10%) to incentivize job completion.

• Common types of contracts have different tradeoffs—cost plus, fixed price, time and materials, lump sum with allowances—all have varying levels of certainty around cost containment. Solicit bids from as many subcontractors as possible. Demand copies of subcontractor billings. Options around billing include monthly, every two or three weeks. Don’t let them slide on the first bill because then they will slide on every subsequent bill. Be vigilant on tracking, reviewing bills. Contractors, suppliers usually have lien rights on your project until their bills are paid. Good contractors will show you copies of invoices, checks if requested, lien releases, etc.

• Preliminary liens are notices that a contractor will be working on your project and that they expect to be paid. Will come to you and your lender, if applicable.

• Work with a reputable builder, and don’t fall behind on payments.

• Contractors Licensing Board can only tell you whether the contractor’s license is in good standing. Have to do your homework—make sure they have insurance.

• Contractors often charge 12-25% markup (profit). Ask to see all costs, and markup should be calculated on bottom line. “Margin” is more convoluted way of calculating profit. “Job overhead” is the cost of doing the work (trailers, etc.).

• A lot of contractors don’t like “joint checks.” Keep up on the lien process. State Contractors Licensing Board has boilerplate templates for contracts, lien releases. Expect good level of detail in your pricing, bid documents.

• Production homes, production builders, are completely different situation. As long as you’re happy with the product, the line items are less of a concern.

• Economy of scale advantages if you can bundle projects with your neighbors.

• Mike is willing to do a workshop to provide an expanded version of information provided tonight.

• Be careful when contractors do all their own work. Can be a conflict of interest. Is he working in your best interests or in his own?

• Have insurance on your property while it is under construction.

• If construction worker gets hurt on your property either worker’s comp or personal health insurance should cover the injury.

• Different aspects of the project have different warranties. One year is standard. Latent defects are 10 years.

Gabe Osborn, City of Santa Rosa Planning and Economic Development
Deputy Director of Development Services
P: 543-3853; F: 543-3936

• Progress in Coffey Park is blazing the trail for FG and HVE.

• Public portal has all information re your lot. Centralized information Setbacks, fault lines, etc. (He/we spent a lot of time poking around this website.) More information will be added.

• Online tools more efficient utilization of staff and other resources. Information retrieval that would previously take a planner four hours can now be done in five minutes by the property owner or rebuild team.

• PG&E did a considerable amount of damage as they restored power. They will fix.

• 700 building permits already; will probably hit 1000 within first year. Biggest volume coming from production builders.

• Production homes are building at ~ $250-$300/sq. ft. in Coffey Park (early figures)

• Many Fountaingrove homes will likely be built in 20 home clusters by builders offering semi-custom homes, can take advantage of economy of scale to reduce price per sq ft. Fully custom homes will be one offs, no economy of scale, more expensive per sq. ft.

• Code updates on a three year update. Last adopted in 2016, so due in 2019. Can be minor midyear changes, always adopted July 1. Update this year is that windows and skylights have the same code requirements. What applies to your rebuild is the code in effect the date you file your permit.

• City and County different on landscape requirements. County doesn’t require front landscaping for occupancy, City does. Landscaping requirements kick in when you pull a building permit. Weeds must be knocked down on vacant parcels to mitigate fire danger, reduce fuel load. Homeowners who decide not to rebuild must mitigate storm runoff, for example with straw.

• Some zoning codes are flexible, others are extremely stringent. Be mindful.

• It is possible to put one house straddling two lots with a ministerial lot line adjustment if you own two lots.

• Signage is being created with contact info for code enforcement, reporting noise complaints. Santa Rosa Police is the contact for noise complaints.

• Gabe will be back on 7/26.

Just a reminder, the group opted not to meet this week. Our scheduled speakers for the July 12 meeting are:

  • Christine Condon – Energy & Sustainability Division of the County
  • Rachel Kuykendall – Sonoma Clean Power

Best regards,
Tracy Cunha
Aide to Supervisor Shirlee Zane
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
575 Administration Drive, Room 1A. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
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For more information on District Block Captains:

6/21/2018 – Notes from 3rd District Block Captain Meeting

Informational Speakers

AT&T: Rhuenette Alums, & Mike McAffee

1. Trenching

• Coordinating with PG&E on joint trenching

 AT&T has to follow PG&E as PG&E provides the trenching for all utilities

 Rural areas will take more time to get to

• Work done by PG&E or contractors hired

• PG&E financing joint trench; AT&T is just a participant

• PG&E is building laterals as people are ready to move in

 At that point, AT&T invited to participate

• PG&E should complete trench work by end of year

 AT&T believes they will be following right along

2. Materials

• Migrating to fiber optics

• May be occasional “one-offs,” but this is the plan

• Everywhere there is a new conduit going in, there is fiber going in

3. Phone service availability during a power outage

• Phones requiring electricity (eg a cordless phone) will not working during a power outage.

• IF you have an old-fashioned non-electric phone (remember the princess touch tone phones?)  plugged into one of the AT&T phone jacks, it will work during the first three hours of a power outage: The AT&T “box” outside the house has a three-hour battery backup. [Note: seeking ATT confirmation on this]

4. What Happens to land lines and cell towers if they burn again? Back-up Plan?

• Rhuenette reported there was a back-up plan in place

• Two lines (landlines) are in place – Both were burned – unprecedented in 40 years

• National disaster recovery unit that works on solutions to disasters worldwide is working with OES

• Have ability to put temporary cell tower on wheels and move to areas requiring triage but not for use in HVE now

5. Temporary Service During Construction

• Rhuenette had only just reached out to engineers to ask that question on June 20; did not have response yet

• Issue will be prioritizing the Sonoma County disaster with other disasters nationally

• Basically is an issue of available resources

6. Inadequate Cell Services before and after the fires.  Short answer:  Can’t just request to have new/additional cell towers in HVE.

• Topography makes service challenging

• Ask Keysight to place a tower on their property?

 Mike/AT&T responded that the cellular company must invite Keysight to do so and that the community has to weigh in as well

 Rhuenette – AT&T is identifying what the gaps are to have engineers enter into a database; an additional cell tower has been requested; once that is approved, they need to find a willing landlord

 Question of whether or not Cross Creek area can be included in potential new coverage

• Requesting a new cell tower

 Question of whether or not a federal advocate would be of help (Mike Thompson’s office)

 Question of how to collectively organize; need to know how to advocate and ask City of Santa Rosa to keep BC’s in the loop

 Rhuenette & Mike both said group needs to stay invested in the process from start to finish – attending City Council meetings

 AT&T can reach out to City of Santa Rosa to be a contributor

7. Management of Towers

• Cell towers are controlled by America Tower

• Cell phone companies are tenants on the towers

• Tower can only be built at request of a tenant

8. Outstanding Bills/Destroyed Equipment

• Rhuenette said homeowner insurance should cover cost of burned equipment

• Multiple 800 numbers under AT&T’s umbrella of customer service to address this

• Group expressed frustration at experience of poor customer service

• It was mentioned that Sonic and Comcast forgave the billing for burned equipment

• Contact Rhuenette if anyone still being billed

Kinderlin Codding, Sonic

1. Trenching

• Sonic is not present in the trenches

• Provide wholesale service via AT&T fiber

2. Differences Between Sonic and AT&T

• Customer service (verified by many in the room)

• Advocates Net Neutrality

• Big on advocacy of privacy

• Greatly reduced spam

3. Kinderlin a resident of HVE – open to hearing about more concerns

6/27/28 Clarification had been sought on the issue of whether or not non-electric corded old fashioned phones that are plugged into a phone jack would function during a power outage – assuming that the three hour battery backup at the box was functioning. Also, someone had asked me to find out what “Dig Once” meant. Response from Kinderlin Codding:

Regarding Sonic service and outage question follow up – Sonic service in the fire areas will be with our Fusion FTTN product. This means our phone lines will go out in a power outage. Customers that want their phone service to stay up would need to provide a UPS system. (a battery back up for Sonic’s equipment in the home)

Regarding Dig Once – some Cities are beginning to establish Dig Once Policies, meaning during any construction (open trench) project Cities and Counties put in measures that include broadband specific empty conduit that could then be made available to one or more providers to occupy.

6/27/28 Following are some answers to questions that have been raised by members of the group, as well as some additional resources:

Property Assessment Timelines

There had been competing beliefs going around about needing to complete rebuilds within a two-year period, or needing to at least break ground within two years or face a re-assessment. Below is the response to my email to County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor Bill Rousseau on this matter:

It looks like property owners are getting confused on insurance law and property tax law. If the property owner has not transferred his/her property since the fire or purchased a replacement property, they do not have a time limit to rebuild. The two year limit is for insurance claims and not for property tax reassessments. If they are transferring their Prop. 13 base year value factor to another property within or outside of Sonoma County, then a time limit does apply. (Please point them to our website for questions on property tax exclusions.)

On the second question, same answer. They do not have to break ground within a specific time period to keep their Prop. 13 base year value factored. Please ask property owners to call our office with any reassessment questions. 565-1888

Building Code Updates

Not sure everyone had received the info from Patrick Mullin at Permit Sonoma, so including that here, as well as a confirmation from Patrick that July 1 is the effective date of the new updates – not the end of the calendar year.  (for both City and County)

From Patrick Mullin:

I reviewed the changes to California Building Code (CBC) Chp. 7A. The Wildland Urban Interface regulations had some changes made that could impact rebuilds but not in any major way.

The primary changes are:

The materials testing standards (ASTM) have been amended for testing building materials such as siding, deck wood, windows, doors… This should have little impact for homeowners.
Skylights now have to meet the same standard as windows. 1 pane of tempered glass.
Decking materials have more specific testing standards in order to meet WUI standards.
Accessory structures needing to meet WUI have been more clearly defined in terms of distance from main residence. It is still 50ft. but the code added clarification regarding accessory structures (detached garages, offices, barns, pool house…) and miscellaneous structure (trellis, arbor, gazebo, patio cover…).

In summation, the biggest changes are the testing standards for material suppliers and adding skylights to the same standards as windows.

As far as a County SRA/WUI map goes, CalFire has pulled its’ previous map and has not yet published an authoritative and stewarded version of a current SRA/WUI map, according to our
in-house GIS team.

What you can do is go to our website ,

select Online Tools
select Parcel Report
Enter your parcel number or your address and you can see if you are in an SRA or LRA, area along with a lot of other parcel information. State Responsibility Area’s (SRA) require Wildland Urban Interface standards (WUI). Local Responsibility Areas do not.

PG&E Info/Resources

CPUC high fire threat map (zoomable):

PG&E wildfire alerts (for updating contact info):

Public Safety Power Shutoff communications:

Community wildfire safety program details:

Click here: Know Your Overhead Lines flyer.

Best regards,
Tracy Cunha
Aide to Supervisor Shirlee Zane
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
575 Administration Drive, Room 1A. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Subscribe to the Third District e-Newsletter!

For more information on District Block Captains:

6/14/2018 – Notes from 3rd District Block Captain Meeting

Informational Speakers

Supervisor Shirlee Zane welcomed the group and spoke for a few minutes promising continued advocacy and support.

Legislative Update: Marissa Montenegro, Administrative Analyst, County Administrators Office (see attached handout for fire related bills)

  • Resource for tracking state legislative info is
  • Group disappointed that there wasn’t any follow up after Sen. McGuire town hall re: legislation. Would like to receive updates.
  • Pulling our voice together is really important.
  • Based on feedback at this meeting, next time Marissa speaks to the block captains, she expects to address:

   Timeline for legislative advocacy

   Tapping into unresponsive legislative subcommittee members

   Potential Lobbying day in early 2019 – BC group needs to provide clarification and details on what this looks like

County Update: Mike Gossman, Deputy County Administrator, Office of Recovery and Resiliency (see Slides

  • In terms of this disaster, object is to recognize strengths and weaknesses, mitigate weaknesses
  • Benefitting from grassroots efforts like SoCo Rises, Community Foundation
  • Community engagement is key to progress
  • After collecting stakeholder feedback there will be a Recovery and Resiliency Plan coming to Board of Supervisors for deliberation and adoption in September
  • 99% of burned structures and debris has been cleaned up
  • Cal OES pushed by local leaders to revisit unfinished cleanup, over excavation

   Target to be cleaned up by mid-August

   Problematic for some property owners who are stuck in a holding pattern

  • Some properties have more dirt than needed, some have less

   Is there a way to coordinate with Cal OES contractors to take advantage of both scenarios to balance out supply and demand

  • Federal and state government and contractors have been learning through this disaster

   This cleanup is on a scale none have dealt with previously

   May be a situation where with good intentions they over promised and under-delivered

  • Wattles

   If you have wattles that surrounded toxic debris, those may have toxins in them

   Contact us if you have these wattles and we can provide disposal guidelines

   Wattles that were for erosion control around clean dirt, then those can be used for mulch

   The burlap wattles are all straw.

  • County is pursuing funding partnerships, public and private, to help with rebuild and recovery
  • Future Informational Public Events

   Upcoming recovery and resiliency workshops in each Supervisorial District will be publicized by SoCoRises and CommunityFoundation Sonoma County

   The 3rd District workshop will be August 2, location TBD

  • Request to reach out to standing neighbors as well as fire survivors.

Group Discussion

  1. Agenda Setting
  • Topics for future agendas can be submitted by the group.
  1. Guest speakers & Sharing Info
  • Vita suggests speakers every other week, with off weeks available for area specific discussions

   Much pent-up demand for discussion

   Just sit down and talk when we don’t have a speaker

  • Would be helpful to know what speakers are coming to other block captain meetings, what topics are of universal interest, what questions are relevant to every group
  • Group members, like Matt, who are further along in the rebuild process can share their experience with this group, but what would that look like? When, where and how can people further ahead in the process share their knowledge?

   Everyone moving at different paces.

  1. Questions Arising
  • Doug would like to collect questions from his neighbors and submit to Tracy for answers. Tracy can submit to the subject matter experts.
  • Can we organize, sort questions into functional groups? Would also help with getting appropriate speakers to address the need.
  • Questions for the City – submit to and Should also submit to Tracy for the question master list.
  1. Communication
  • Looking for ways to improve communication between block captains, this group and their neighbors
  • What is the most efficient way to communicate?
  • Herb has offered to share what Mark West Estates is doing with their solar collective

   May be an economy of scale volume discount if anyone is interested in joining their initiative.

  • There are groups joining together on geotech surveys. Vita and Matt have contact info
  • One BC says Fountaingrove neighborhoods don’t to walk in lock step, difficult to get a group to work together

   Also, still so many people, especially in FG, who don’t know if they are going to rebuild

   FG HOA communications are not as good as could be – a weakness these property owners are forced to deal with

   Can the City help with connection to FG HOA. Ask Caluha. How effective can we be without an effective HOA?

  • Ask group to submit questions for Sonic and ATT

   I lost my phone number; how can I get it back?

   I am still paying for equipment lost in the fire. Can you help?

   How are you building resiliency into the emergency notification system?

   What if cell towers are burning? Land lines burning?

   What about copper infrastructure? True, non-electric land lines?

  • Group would like to be able to edit the question document.

Representatives from California Hope were in attendance, as well as Andrea Rodriguez from Congressman Mike Thompson’s office.

Best regards,
Tracy Cunha
Aide to Supervisor Shirlee Zane
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
575 Administration Drive, Room 1A. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Subscribe to the Third District e-Newsletter!

For more information on District Block Captains:

6/11/2018 – Notes from Listening Session with City of Santa Rosa

3rd District Block Captain’s Listening Session w/City of Santa Rosa June 11, 2018

Water Update – Ben Horenstein, Director of Santa Rosa Water

Benzene contamination

1. Confined except for some isolated incidents

2. Partnering with multiple agencies and experts because of the unprecedented nature of events

3. 5,000 investigative samples have been taken

4. Clearing advisory areas is data driven

5. Sources of contamination
• Melted pipes & faucets – metal and plastic
• Smoke
• Soot
• Ash

6. Maximum Contamination Level (MCL)
• Benzene leaching out into system
• City flushing it out
• Biological process does break down benzene
• Water pressure would normally act to keep out contamination
 Pressure compromised during and after fires
• Actually fortunate leaching is happening before rebuild so it can be addressed
• Replacing water service lines has resulted in lower MCL

7. Path to restoring water service
• Every contaminated service line within advisory area being replaced as well as isolated areas of contamination
• City to pay for replacement of service lines from the main to the meter
• Property owners have responsibility to replace laterals from meter to house
 From sidewalks, when applicable
• Continuing to work with FEMA and CAL OES for reimbursement
• Water will be resampled after installation of new lines
• Phased approach allows for quicker resolution

• Anticipated completion date is August 2018

8. Water For Rebuild/Occupancy
• Water will be provided for construction and landscaping while work is being done to replace service lines
 Must post signs that water is not potable; inform contractors
• City will install activated carbon filtration systems where needed
• Cost, maintenance, and monitoring of filtration systems covered by City until issue is fully resolved – per investigation data
• End of August is target date for completion
 Maps should be updated by end of August
 Subscribe to newsletter
• Working to lift advisory warning by fall 2018

9. Concerns/questions
• Health concerns should be referred to health experts, especially if household includes medically fragile individuals
• City has not looked at how contamination might affect gardens/good grown on property
• Personal judgement needs to be used
 Fruit-bearing trees likely safe
 Ground plants (e.g., strawberries) perhaps not
• City reluctant to promise testing individual homes as they reach occupancy
 Water will be tested after service lines replaced
 Documentation available to property owners

Planning & Economic Development Update – David Guhin, Director

1. Resilient City Permit Center & Rebuilding Information
• Room 6 at City Hall

2. Walk-ins welcome even for individual one-on-one questions
• Even if there aren’t any plans yet

3. There are 600 homes in the rebuild process

4. Current code requirements
• All rebuilds need to be up to current code
• Codes change every three years so there is an additional expense for each code upgrade
 Insurance should have a code upgrade component
 Ask City for list of code updates to provide insurance company
• July 1, 2018 codes being implemented could add minor fees
 Wildlife urban interface, skylights, decking etc.

 Question about insurers not covering code updates not in place at time of fire (City seemed skeptical of this)
• Fees are approximately $4000 to $5000 based on square footage

5. Sprinklers
• Questions can be directed to Ian Hardage
• 2011 code change requires sprinklers
• Water pressure for sprinklers
 House location may affect need for water pressure pump
• Sprinkler companies work with Fire Department
• Cost is roughly $3 per square foot for new build
• Sprinklers are designed to save lives, not houses
 Possibly adds 10 minutes of protection
• Sprinkler contractor needs to be a C16 contractor
 Should be able to provide more than one option
• Can measure available pressure at each location
• Design of sprinklers dependent on square footage and other factors – very site specific

6. Communication
• City is meeting with contractors, engineers, architects on a regular basis so that everyone is aware of what their role is and what they need to provide while moving through the process
• Rebuilding 3,000 homes requires a great deal of coordination
• Unprecedented undertaking
• Real time data tracker online
• Will have “traffic cop” in rebuild area due to multiple trucks serving different purposes being present at all times

7. Timelines
• Pre-application meetings encouraged – to help save time and money
• Turnaround time for plans without multiple or complex changes is 5 days
 If adding floors or moving house on lot – turnaround time could be
2-3 weeks

8. HOAs
• City does not enforce HOA rules
• Property owners could face civil remedies if they violate HOS rules
• HOA rules generally about design’s look and feel
• Inform City of conflicts with code requirements and HOA rules
• HOA can be more restrictive than City but not less
• Question from BC – can HOA’s be educated on requirements/process
 Caluha Barnes suggested sending HOA contact information to the

Law Enforcement Update – Lt. Ron Nelson, Santa Rosa Police Department

Represents Beats 2 & 4

Desk phone: 543-3631

Emails are best

1. Santa Rosa is divided into nine beats

2. Officers pick based on seniority
• Changes every six months
• Eight officers assigned for each shift
• Not a complete changeover every six months, but officers cannot repeat in same beat more than twice

3. Beat 2 (Junior College area to Fountaingrove Parkway, Stagecoach to Chanate
• Sgt. Mike Clark through June
• St. Steve Pehlke beginning July

4. Beat 4 (Fountaingrove over hill to Rincon Valley along Hwy 12
• Sgt. Jeneane Kucker through June
• Dave Linscomb beginning July

5. Best number to call if something is suspicious but not at 911 level is 528-5222

6. Security & Safety (questions answered by multiple City officials)
• Send Nelson or Beat Sgt. email when beginning to build and moving construction materials onto property – extra visits to area will be provided
• Hi-def cameras can send alerts to cell phone about $200
• Thieves unlikely to impact standing homes – prefer crimes of opportunity
• Per Guhin – security a repeating topic at meetings with contractors; perhaps topic of a future meeting
 City will coordinate with contractors hiring private security
 Police department needs to be notified
• Engage HOA’s in security conversations
• Homeless encampments are on the SRPD radar
 Working to find housing solutions
• Fire Hazards – Weed Abatement
 City sends out 2,500 weed abatement notices each year
 City owned land only
• Curfews
 Courts have made it difficult to establish curfews
• Guhin to look into ban on wood burning fireplaces

7. Ombudsman
• Mayor Chris Coursey to serve this role for the present
•, cell 707-843-0243

Best regards,
Tracy Cunha 
Aide to Supervisor Shirlee Zane
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
575 Administration Drive, Room 1A. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Subscribe to the Third District e-Newsletter!

For more information on District Block Captains:

6/7/2018 – Notes from 3rd District Block Captain Meeting

Operation Hope Presentation – Wendy Wheelwright, Project Manager

See Post-Fire Coping and Free Counseling for more information.


1. Community reaction differs from individual reactions, which can include physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral reactions

2. Immediate reaction is to get things done. One can only be in “go mode” for about six months. Typical reactions at this point:
• Physical effects
 Headaches & stomach problems
 Memory issues
 Difficulty concentrating, sleeping
 Substance abuse
 Declining job performance

• Emotional effects/reactions
 Denial
 Anxiety
 Fear
 Depression
 Guilt
 Apathy
 Preoccupation with disaster
 Frequent crying, increased irritability

• Spiritual reactions

3. You have the power to say “this is not how this story ends.”

4. What can help
• Remind yourself that post-traumatic stress reactions are normal, practice ways to manage reactions, practice helpful thinking, do fun or meaningful activities, spend time with others, avoid using alcohol or drugs to cope with your reactions, call a counselor for help

5. The power of connection
• Do let others know you need to talk or just be with them (but choose carefully whom to talk to)
• Don’t keep quiet because you don’t want to upset others
• Don’t keep quiet because you are worried about being a burden
• Don’t wait until you’re so stressed or exhausted that you can’t fully benefit from help

• Do depend on your inner circle
• Charles Dickens said “No one is useless in this world if they lighten the burdens of others”

6. Post-traumatic stress reactions—re-experiencing, avoidance, numbing, activation

7. What can help others
• Educate yourself
• Be patient
• Be understanding
• Ask questions
• Be realistic
• Be persistent
• Help with practical needs
• Understand the impacts of triggers

8. Self-Care – How’s Your Five?
• Eat well
• Move daily
• Hydrate often
• Sleep more
• Love, Laugh, Connect

9. Your identity
• Trauma has a way of overtaking your identity – but you are not your trauma. You are more than that.
• Wendy’s mother says “the universe has decided to test me, and I’m going to get an A.”

Review of Questions, Concerns – Group Discussion

1. Several efforts underway to recruit more block captain – Nextdoor, Mail Chimp email to Right of Entry (ROE) contact list, word of mouth, HOAs

2. Fountaingrove Ranch HOA meeting on June 20, some opportunity to recruit block captains there

3. There was a review of questions the block captains will want to have addressed as we move through the recovery process:

• Can the City provide an ombudsman or navigator for any rebuild questions?
• Water safety, water pressure
• Vandalism/ theft issues most recurring questions for the City

• Gabe Osborn from Santa Rosa Planning and Economic Development has been willing to attend many public meetings. We will request that he attend one of our upcoming meetings.
• Concerns about evacuation routes need to be addressed
• Whose jurisdiction is the mailbox placement question?
• Where can trees be planted?
• Does the City understand morale issues among neighbors? Question for
SR Community Engagement
• Several people are building concrete homes. One block captain is using a contractor from Lake County.

4. Determination of top four priorities to bring to City listening session
• Ombudsman for rebuild
• Water pressure & water quality
• Vandalism & theft
• Access during construction

Best regards,
Tracy Cunha
Aide to Supervisor Shirlee Zane
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
575 Administration Drive, Room 1A. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Subscribe to the Third District e-Newsletter!

For more information on District Block Captains:

6/2/2018 – Update from 3rd District

From: Tracy Cunha <>
Date: Sat, Jun 2, 2018 at 4:52 PM
Subject: Schedule of Block Capt Mtgs & Speakers/List of Questions/Additional Resources

Hello All,

Speakers: Here is what we have scheduled so far:

  • June 7: California Hope – a counseling service funded by FEMA that provides free, on-site (come-to-your-door) type counseling for those impacted from the fires.
  • June 14: County representative from the Office of Recovery and Resiliency to provide a County Update and a County spokesperson to provide a Legislative Update
  • June 21: AT&T – also trying to secure a representative from Sonic
  • July 12: Sonoma Clean Power & County’s Energy & Sustainability Division (info about incentives attached)

The speakers scheduled for both June 7 and June 14 can be rescheduled for a later date should you choose not to meet one or both weeks. Perhaps you can reply just to me – not reply all – as to whether or not you see value in meeting June 7 and June 14 and I will report back on the consensus.

Permit Sonoma Rebuilding Documentary Series:

Sharing some video documentation that follows a couple engaged in a rebuild in the Hidden Hills neighborhood off Riebli Road that has been posted on Youtube by Permit Sonoma at this page. Recognizing City and County processes differ in some ways, we thought these would be helpful for you to view at your leisure. In total, they run a little over 10 minutes. Definitely urge you to subscribe to the Permit Sonoma YouTube channel if you find them helpful. Upcoming videos will focus on insurance and County’s Energy and Sustainability Division no-cost rebuilding consultations.

Free Clean Fill Dirt:

The 1st District office received a call about a contractor who has 4000+ yards of clean fill dirt in Calistoga. This could be a good option for some folks if you need fill. Contact Bald Mountain Development Project Manager Robert Chrzanowski, 707-310-7149. Site address 400 Silverado Trail, Calistoga. They are helping to load trucks with the dirt.

Looking forward to learning if the United Policyholders meeting provided some value to those who attended.

Best regards,
Tracy Cunha
Aide to Supervisor Shirlee Zane
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
575 Administration Drive, Room 1A. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Subscribe to the Third District e-Newsletter!

For more information on District Block Captains:

5/24/2018 – Notes from 3rd District Block Captain Meeting

From: Tracy Cunha <>
Date: Wed, May 30, 2018 at 3:14 PM
Subject: 5-24-18 Block Captain Mtg Notes/Flyers/Potential Resource

Official Notes
3rd District Block Captain Meeting
May 24, 2018

Informational Speakers from PG&E and Comcast

Tara Soekland, Customer Outreach Specialist/Rebuilding, and Brian Bottari, Govt. Relations from PG&E were introduced. James Bordessa, Director of Construction at Comcast teleconferenced in.

Information shared by PGE Rep Tara Soekland:  707-321-5664;

Trenching & Costs

  • Utilities coordinating with joint trenches – gas, electric.
  • PG&E is responsible for setting poles and bringing power
  • A line will be provided to the original location of the box/meter
  • Resident is responsible for remaining work and should inform builder
  • Sidewalks that need to be broken will be repaired by PG&E
  • PG&E laterals will generally be placed where they were prior to the fires
  • Requested changes not impossible; will be reviewed on case by case basis
  • Costs for requested changes to existing laterals will be borne by property owner
  • Not all of Fountaingrove needs to be retrenched; Most in conduit; simple to remove and replace damaged wiring

Overhead vs. Underground

  • PG&E is strategically looking at structuring underground, but generally, whatever existed before the fires will remain in place, e.g., Parker Hill was previously overhead and will remain overhead
  • Looking strategically at where they can go underground, but main considerations are for safety and logistics
  • Neighborhoods can petition PG&E for Rule 20 (conversion of overhead to underground)
  • This is a govt driven decision – PG&E provides funds to cities and counties who then prioritize underground projects – usually scenic corridors
  • Cost is approximately $1000 per foot to convert to underground


  • PG&E normally only paves half the street after completion of work
  • City of Santa Rosa unsure of amount of funding that will be received from FEMA

Timelines & Applications

  • With a start date of July, completion for permanent power is projected for year-end
  • No timeline determined for temporary overhead power lines
  • Upon filing, PG&E will typically respond within 24 hours
  • Be sure to indicate on application you were impacted by fires; this will expedite your application
  • Tara will try to further expedite individual cases when needed; contact her directly
  • Service connection will take about three weeks
    • One week to check job; one week to make any necessary changes; one week for construction
  • Temporary power will not have that same delay; set-up costs are waived
  • Builder may pass on rental fee for temporary poles
  • City approval required for placement of trailers on properties; PG&E will then provide temporary power

PG&E & Sonoma Clean Power partnership

  • Good incentives exist for going 100% electric; gas lines will be capped at the main distribution line
  • Incentives are doubled for fire survivors

Corrections to PG&E Notes

1. Temporary power/permanent power applications, file at
• Upon filing, PG&E will typically respond within 24 hours
• Be sure to indicate on application you were impacted by fires; this will expedite your application

2. Temporary service connection will take about three weeks
• One week to check job; one week to make any necessary changes; one week for construction

3. Costs & Approvals
• Set-up costs waived
• Builder may pass on rental fee for temporary poles
• City approval required for placement of trailers on properties
• PG&E will then provide temporary power and set the meter.

4. PG&E Infrastructure Rebuild – Fountaingrove
• PG&E and contract crews started working to repair some of the damage infrastructure and they have a goal to be complete by the end of the year/early 2019.

COMCAST Rep James Bordessa:

Trenching and Costs:

  • Comcast to pay for connection from main line to home
  • Fountaingrove, trenching not needed
  • Replacing fiber and coaxial cable
  • Comcast to use joint trenches wherever PG&E is opening up trenches; otherwise in service trenches
  • Service trenches will include all utilities

Timelines & Services

  • Installation requests expected to be completed within five days
  • Will provide same high-speed quality service as before the fires

General Discussion

There was a discussion about possibly using a cloud-based source like Slack, or separate (non-County) website to disseminate resources and information. Individuals with tech skills to contact Vita.

Concern was expressed about not having all neighborhoods represented. Some are well represented while others haven’t any.To help address this, 3rd District office will create an outreach piece and post on Next Door. Suggestions made to “paper” flyers on empty lots, small businesses still frequented by residents, e.g., Rincon Valley etc.

Discussion about showing others the meetings are a productive use of time. What are the goals? General consensus more input is needed from the City of Santa Rosa. 3rd District office to invite Mayor Coursey to a future meeting. A rotating agenda was suggested; with first Thursday of the month to include a City rep.

The group agreed to cancel the May 31 meeting in favor of attending the United Policyholders meeting at the Glaser Center where the topic was about underinsurance.

Schedule of Future Informational Speakers

A schedule will be sent out as speakers are confirmed. Issues related to water, roads, traffic/parking, and safety requires presentations by City of Santa Rosa officials, which is being worked on by the 3rd District office.

To date, non-City related requests for speakers have included:

  • AT&T
  • Sonic
  • Energy & Sustainability (County)
  • Sonoma Clean Power

Should other topics come to mind, please contact Tracy Cunha.

County Update – previously sent out in meeting follow-up email of 5-25-18

  • Energy & Sustainability Consultations
  • Over excavation remedial claims deadline May 31
  • Office of Recovery & Resiliency Update

Best regards,
Tracy Cunha
Aide to Supervisor Shirlee Zane
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
575 Administration Drive, Room 1A. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Subscribe to the Third District e-Newsletter!

For more information on District Block Captains:

5/17/2018 – Notes from 3rd District Block Captain Meeting

From: Tracy Cunha <>
Date: Mon, May 21, 2018 at 1:34 PM
Subject: 5-17-18 Block Captain Mtg Follow-up & Details for 5-24-18 Mtg

Official Notes
3rd District Block Captain Meeting
May 17, 2018


Attendees went around the table sharing their names, their neighborhood, their current rebuild status, and a brief summary of one of the biggest challenges they are facing.

Of the 22 present, more than half are planning to rebuild but are at varying levels of readiness. There are some who remain uncertain.

Biggest challenges shared:

  • Benzene issue
  • Uncertainty of cost to homeowners
  • Lenders reluctant to build in benzene areas
  • Cost of code upgrades
  • Water pressure/sprinkler system issues
  • Insurance requirements for itemized list of contents
  • Underinsured
  • Over excavation
  • Uncertainty on timing of logistical issues:
  • Power restoration
  • Sidewalk installation
  • Potential changes in set-back requirements

County Update – (Here)

What the 3rd District Can Provide

The 3rd District office is able to provide venues for the regular meetings, and will facilitate managing the meeting – providing notifications, agendas, and overseeing the implementation of the agenda at the meeting, etc. We will also schedule informational speakers in response to the needs of the survivors. Additionally, a summary of the meeting will be sent out early in the following week.

Role of Block Captains

Priorities by Neighborhood – Speaker Topics

  • Ben Horenstein, City of Santa Rosa Water Dept.
  • Security issues/looting during rebuild – Police Dept?
  • Start dates for roads being in place; parking & traffic needs – Jason Nutt (City of Santa Rosa Director of Transportation & Public Works)?
  • Utilities – services that can be offered now to those living on property & for rebuild; status report on trenching
  • Comcast, Sonic
  • PGE, Sonoma Clean Power

Future Meetings & Communications

The following decisions were made by the attendees:

  • Weekly meetings to be held Thursdays at 5.30PM
  • For Block Captains only
  • The group was in agreement that meeting notes can be published on Supervisor Zane’s website – with statements being summarized anonymously
  • MP3 audio recordings of the guest speaker portion of the meeting only will be published and distributed
  • The group agreed to share the Block Captain contact list (attached)
  • Outreach in neighborhoods
  • 3rd District office looking into accessing information through the County’s Clerk-Recorder-Assessors office

Best regards,
Tracy Cunha
Aide to Supervisor Shirlee Zane
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
575 Administration Drive, Room 1A. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Subscribe to the Third District e-Newsletter!

For more information on District Block Captains:

Neighbors Together ~ Strong & Resilient does not provide any advice or endorse any service provider or agency. 

October 2017 Northern California Firestorm: Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa: Coffey Park; Fountaingrove (Hidden Valley Estates (HVE) is lumped with FG); Larkfield-Wikiup-Mark West-Riebli; Rincon Valley-Deer Trail-Calistoga Rd; Bennett Ridge (Nuns/Annadel Fire) . . . See more . . . »

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