Mission Viejo

Letter to the Editor 

     Fire Zone Questions Go Unanswered

Community Common Sense has done a good job of raising awareness of the Fire Map issue. I didn’t know half of Mission Viejo’s homes are now in the high-risk fire-hazard area. With all the information at hand, including Cal Fire’s Fire Map, why would anyone say that no Mission Viejo homes are in the Fire Zone?

As CCS reported, the decision by the council majority in July 2012 added 12,000 Mission Viejo homes to the 3,000 previously in the high-risk fire zone. The council increased potential liabilities to residents – lower property values, higher insurance rates and more bureaucracy.

The 12,000 homes were added with a 4-1 council vote. Rhonda Reardon, Trish Kelley, Frank Ury and Dave Leckness voted in favor of the change, and Cathy Schlicht voted against it.

At a city council meeting last month, Councilwoman Reardon tried to explain what happened, but her presentation didn’t address some basic questions.

What criteria were used to decide which homes were added? Who redrew the boundary and what are their qualifications for making decisions? Since Cal Fire is the authority on the state’s Fire Map, how can a city council majority overrule the state authority? Was Cal Fire even consulted when the boundary lines were redrawn?

Councilwoman Reardon has said Mission Viejo “has no homes in the Fire Zone.” However, thousands of Mission Viejo homeowners received the notice from the Orange County Fire Authority in May that their properties will be inspected. These properties include the ones the council added. As an equally problematic issue, Mission Viejo’s homes are on Cal Fire’s Fire Map.

Here’s the link to the information on Cal Fire’s website: http://www.fire.ca.gov/fire_prevention/fhsz_maps/FHSZ/orange/c30_MissionViejo_vhfhsz.pdf

Kirk Kelley
Mission Viejo

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