Senate Bill 55, authored by Senator Henry Stern (D-Calabasas), which would have prohibited all commercial and residential development in Very High Fire Hazards Severity Zones (VHFHSZ) and State Responsibility Areas (SRA), is not being pursued this year. During presentation of the bill in Senate Governance and Finance Committee last week, Senator Stern confirmed that he did not intend to move the bill forward this legislative session.
RCRC voiced its opposition to SB 55, and the predecessor measure SB 474 from last year. Banning all housing production in VHFHSZ is an unnecessarily broad approach to development in high fire prone areas and will certainly have immediate dire consequences on rural communities. Policies for housing construction in the State’s VHFHSZ must balance the need for new homes while mitigating the risk of loss of life and property from wildfire.