Opinion: It’s time to reduce Del Mar’s fire hazard
By Don Mosier
Del Mar mayor
The fire hazard inspector will view potential fire hazards either from the street, from the subject property if invited by the owner, or from a neighboring property if invited to do so by the neighbor. No inspector is allowed to go on private property at any time unless invited.
If a resident wants to schedule an inspection and invite the inspector onto their property, they may do so. There will be a weed abatement phone line at the fire station that residents can call to schedule inspection appointments. This number will be posted on the city website (as soon as the phone line is operational), and included in any notice.
A courtesy notice may be issued to inform homeowners that they may have overgrown, dead or dying vegetation that should be removed. If residents receive a courtesy notice, they should schedule an inspection appointment to discuss what action needs to be taken to reduce the fire hazard within 30 days. This is the time for discussion and developing a voluntary plan of compliance, and is usually effective in resolving any issues.
If after 30 days no appointments or contact is made, the inspector will re-inspect the same property. If a property owner takes no action to schedule an inspection or reduce the fire hazard, they will receive a 15-day certified mail notice, asking them again to remove the hazard or schedule an inspection. This begins the formal process of forced abatement, but the homeowner still has time to schedule an inspection at their property, request a time extension if the circumstances warrant, understand the requirements for reducing the fire hazard, and take action to remove the hazard. Forced abatement following a five-day property posting is a last resort. The Fire Department and the city do not want to abate property and prefer voluntary compliance, and past experience shows that forced abatement is a rare outcome of these programs.
Fire safety is one of the highest priorities for this community, and we hope that this program will succeed with a 100 percent voluntary compliance and 0 percent forced abatement proceedings.
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