Land Development Code
Brush Management and Building Fire Safety Regulations
On September 19, 2005, the City Council adopted new brush management and building regulations to protect buildings exposed to the fire hazards of wild-land fires (effective October 19, 2005). The new regulations were developed in response to lessons learned from the Cedar fire, and to complete the regulatory process in 2004 where more restrictive roofing assembly regulations were approved.
Brush management is required to reduce fire hazards around structures by providing an effective fire break between all structures and contiguous areas of native or naturalized vegetation. The new brush management regulations provide for a uniform Citywide 100 ft deep defensible space and require the establishment of brush management zones where: Zone 1 is 35 ft deep and includes irrigated and maintained vegetation, and Zone 2 includes a 65 ft deep zone of non-irrigated and thinned native vegetation. New regulations were also added to Chapter 4, Article 4, Division 3 to regulate the use of goats for brush management in non agricultural zones. For projects located in the coastal overlay zone, the new brush management regulations will not be applicable until certified by the California Coastal Commission. Prior to Coastal Commission certification, reference Chapter 13 Article 2, Division 4 (Sections 132.0404-132.0408) for the brush management regulations applicable in the coastal overlay zone.
A new set of regulations titled, "Additional Building Standards for Buildings Located Adjacent to Hazardous Areas of Native or Naturalized Vegetation" applies to new construction within 300 feet of the boundary between brush management Zones 1 and 2. The regulations require building envelope safeguards to prevent the intrusion of burning brands and embers into concealed underfloor and attic areas as well as through glazed roof and wall openings for structures located in areas adjacent to flammable vegetation. A list of exemptions and an approval process for alternate materials, designs, and methods of construction were also included in the new building regulations in Chaptrer 14, Article 5, Division 5.