Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed a bill to protect homeowners who lose their property in fires. The legislation was authored by 33rd District Assemblyman Jay Obernolte with a keen eye on the blazes that had ravaged his district in 2016.
Assembly Bill 367 allows homeowners that use hauled water as their water supply to rebuild their home if it’s destroyed in a fire.
“Last year our community was devastated by the Blue Cut Fire. Currently, both Northern and Southern California are suffering from terrible fires,” Obernolte, R-Hesperia, said in a statement. “After a family has lost everything in a horrible tragedy, the state’s over burdensome regulations should not prevent them from rebuilding their home.
“This bill ensures that families who rely on hauled water are protected in the event that their home is lost in a fire.”
Obernolte’s office cited the governor’s signature of Senate Bill 1263 last year, which prohibits the issuance of a building permit to a residence where the source of water supply is hauled water.
The Republican lawmaker’s office added the Senate bill did not take into account that many rural areas, most commonly devastated by wildfires, feature homes built on land located in areas without adequate water infrastructure.
The dilemma, the office said, forces those homeowners to depend on hauled water.
“AB 367 provides an exemption to this egregious prohibition,” Obernolte’s office concluded, “for the rebuilding of homes tragically lost in a fire.”
The bill goes into effect Jan. 1.