(Add video, Deschutes Co.’s Planner’s comment)
Through online survey, 2 planning committees “virtual meetings”
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Deschutes County said Monday it is considering new building codes and land use regulations to protect communities from forest fires. The proposed changes could help make homes more fireproof and require homeowners to create defensible space around their homes.
“We are very well aware of the history of the fire in this district,” said Peter Gutowsky, planning manager for the Deschutes district, on Tuesday to NewsChannel 21. “I think the question is a good one. Are we doing enough or can we do more to help our community to protect from wildfire? “
The county acknowledged that updating local building codes to make homes more fireproof could make new construction and some remodeling more expensive due to new requirements for decks, siding, vents, and other materials.
The proposed rules would only apply to houses outside the city limits in unincorporated areas of the county.
The Deschutes County Community Development Department invites residents to learn more about the proposed changes and to provide their feedback via an online survey: www.deschutes.org/wildfiremitigationsurvey.
In addition to new builds outside the city limits, renovation projects could result in higher costs due to new requirements for decks, siding, gutters, roofs and other materials.
District officials estimate the fire protection materials could add up to $ 3,000 to the cost of a 1,200-square-foot home and up to $ 6,000 for a house twice that size.
Gutowsky said, “$ 6,000 for refractories dealing with ventilation, siding, and decking? I think on the surface it seems like a reasonable number that can be incorporated into a building design. “
The Deschutes County Planning Commission will host two virtual meetings to allow residents to learn more about the proposed changes and to ask questions. The meetings will take place on:
- Thursday, November 19, at 6 p.m.
- Thursday, December 3rd, at 6 p.m.
Staff will share the results of community feedback with the Board of County Commissioners in early 2021.
For more information on attending the virtual community meetings, see www.deschutes.org/wildfiremitigation. If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Peter Gutowsky, Planning Manager, 541-385-1709, firstname.lastname@example.org;; or Tanya Saltzman, Associate Planner, 541-388-6528, Tanya.Saltzman@deschutes.org.
visit www.deschutes.org/wildfiremitigation for current project information and to register for project updates.