We have excellent news to share – and another call to action for BizFed leaders from all sectors. Remember our Action Alert about the looming deadline for Californians to weigh in on the state’s proposed Fire Hazard Severity Zone (FHSZ) maps? The California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CalFire) has extended its deadline for public comment from this Friday, February 3 to Tuesday, April 4.
That means an additional 60 days (including 41 business days)
for Californians to have a say in how the maps are drawn.
These fire hazard maps come with real consequences for residents and developers, including hikes in homeowner insurance rates and higher development costs that could render some projects unbuildable. The new proposed maps were produced after a decade of internal agency work, but residents were given a total of 33 business days (interrupted by the winter holidays) to review and respond, without access to information about methodology and key data sets.
The extension for public comment is the result of strong advocacy from statewide business leaders during the past few weeks. We thank all BizFed members who submitted letters, signed on to CalChamber’s coalition letter, or showed up to testify at public hearings up and down the state.
THE FIGHT ISN’T OVER
Now that we’ve secured more public comment time, we need to use the next 64 days wisely. We need to continue raising our voices and pressing the state to release information about mapping methodology to the public. Business leaders are also calling for a summary of differences between the 2007 and 2022 models. We welcome you to use language from the earlier coalition letter prepared and submitted by CalChamber. Aside from the successful call for a deadline extension, our asks remain unchanged.
Remind regulators that giving the public mere weeks to evaluate maps that took years to develop – without showing them how the maps were created – will curtail meaningful input and may result in inaccurate map designations. Please contact Senior Policy Manager Chris Wilson if you have any questions.
Written comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org OR mailed to:
Office of the State Fire Marshal
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
P.O. Box 944246
Sacramento, CA 94244-2460
Attn: Scott Witt, Deputy Chief
BizFed Founding CEO