Paradise residents may get an extension for obtaining rebuilding permits

The Paradise Town Council meets Tuesday night to vote on an extension on the urgency ordinance on interim housing.

Posted: May 10, 2021 7:46 PM
Updated: May 10, 2021 7:46 PM

PARADISE, Calif. - The county has its cut on Pacific Gas and Electric settlements, but some Camp Fire survivors are still waiting on their cut of the money.

The Paradise Town Council is voting at Tuesday night's meeting on the urgency ordinance on interim housing.

People that are living on their own property in RVs will need to get a rebuilding permit by December 31, 2021, if the ordinance passes.

This is an extension compared to the original June 30, 2021 date that is in place.

People living in RVs told Action News Now that they still need more time.

"It means a lot to be on my property. It's all I got,” said Wesley Awalt, who lives in an RV on his Paradise property.

Awalt was living in his home in Paradise for almost 50 years until the Camp Fire.

“If I was 45-years-old I could probably handle this a lot better, but I am only 90-years-old and it's very difficult," said Awalt.

Paradise Mayor Steve Crowder told Action News Now that people are going to be upset no matter when they lift the ordinance.

"It was always just a temporary solution, not meant to be a permanent solution,” said Mayor Crowder. “Hopefully PG&E settlements will start happening soon."

Awalt’s children are concerned about their father getting pushed off his land.

"I don't live here, but it affects me because it affects my dad,” said Diane Watts, daughter of Awalt. “It's really hard to watch this."
It’s easy to understand Awalt’s side of things, but people who have already rebuilt have their own concerns.

"They feel like they are living in a campground," said Mayor Crowder.

While waiting for the council’s decision, Awalt will continue to single-handedly remove trees and keep growing plants throughout his property.

He is already making a lot of progress on different projects such as building a fence to block out the destroyed fire debris behind his property.

"This is his purpose right here,” said Duan Awalt, son of Awalt. “If you take that away, we're going to lose him."

He is calling on Paradise to really give them an extension on time, as Awalt does not have the money to fully rebuild just yet.

Most stick-built home planning fees cost between $6,000-7,000 and there are grants available to help.

The permits are then good for a year, or could also be extended.

"The town of Paradise is just putting everybody into a box,” said Duan. “It's not all that one way. Each individual is different."

Mayor Crowder told Action News Now that there are about 300 people living in RVs on their property right now.

If people do not have an RV permit, following the approval of this ordinance, they will need to get off their property by June 30.

The town will no longer be issuing any new RV permits.

Mayor Crowder encourages people to stop by Town Hall to see what resources might be available to help people rebuild.

“I would like to see everybody that wants to come back be able to come back,” said Mayor Crowder. “Our end goal is to get everyone placed.”

For now, Awalt and others living in RV will need to wait for the council’s decision.

“I want to stay right here,” Awalt told Action News Now.

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