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Camp Fire survivors divided on Paradise planning proposals

Camp Fire survivors in Paradise are finding themselves divided as the town considers several new planning proposals.

Posted: May 30, 2019 2:17 PM

PARADISE, Calif. - Camp Fire survivors in Paradise are finding themselves divided as the town considers several new planning proposals.

Former Paradise Mayor Woody Culleton said that there are new planning policies being proposed that throw a wrench in survivor's plans to come back. 

"Some of those [policies] are going to cost people more money," he said. "It's going to be a deterrent for people coming back."

He said the wildland-urban interface codes are enough to regulate safe rebuilding on their own. 

"I really think [what] the town needs to focus on is not adding anymore regulations unless it's a life safety thing," Culleton said. "You can't protect against that kind of fire."

However, Camp Fire survivor Louis Wilner said these newly proposed policies are necessary. 

"I think our planning needs to focus on the long term goals of Paradise," Wilner said. "I'm talking 50 years or more."

He said for years the town has neglected reasonable improvements such as the debate on the septic system versus the sewer system. 

Camp Fire survivors are giving feedback on proposed policies such as firebreaks or interior sprinklers. Wilner said they are all potential costs that are worth making the town safer. 

So far the Town of Paradise said more than 113 people have given feedback on the proposals.

I believe that we need to find a balance between fire safe and affordability," said Town Councilman Steve Crowder. "I don't want to see anybody get priced out."

So far, 26 rebuild permits have been issued and 52 applications have been submitted. 

"I think it's going as well as can be expected," Crowder said. "I'm sure it's not fast enough for anybody, including me, but it is moving along."

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