By Marlena Chavira-Medford/Staff Writer
The Del Mar City Council decided Dec. 13 to move forward with its plans to banish wood shake shingle roofs, a goal the city started working toward in 2008 because the rooftops are considered to be a major fire hazard.
The current ordinance, which was written in 2008, states that all wood shake shingle roofs in the city should be replaced by 2013, although it gives no specific deadline. It’s estimated that there are about 250 wood shake shingle roofs in Del Mar, and it’s likely some of those roofs will have to be abated if homeowners elect not to replace them or cannot afford to do so. Because the council has decided to stick with its plan to get rid of wood shake shingle roofs, city staff must now come up with a legal abatement process. If the council ends up approving the abatement of wood shake shingle roofs, it will be the only one in the county to do so.
“We didn’t [approve] the requirement that wood shake roofs be adopted within a certain time period lightly,” said deputy mayor Carl Hilliard, who sat on council when the ordinance was adopted back in 2008. He went on to say that at that time, council heard plenty of testimony about how hazardous these roofs were to homeowners, and the entire community. He added that several homeowners have since replaced their roofs thinking the 2013 deadline was coming, so it’d be unfair to cancel it now.
Mayor Don Mosier said that while he did not want to abandon the goal, he thought the 2013 timeline should be reconsidered, and perhaps extended. He added that a series of community outreach and education programs should be explored, so that abatement would be a last option.
The abatement of wood shake shingle roofs would apply to older homes, as no new constructions are allowed to have them. In fact, under the current roof ordinance, all new roofs must be made of tile, slate, fiberglass, metal, and composition shingles. If someone replaces 10 percent or more of their roof, it must also be done with those materials. The same is true for anyone who repairs more than 10 percent of a rooftop, unless it is a one-time repair.
City staff will now work on drafting an abatement process of wood shake shingle roofs, and then return that draft to council during an upcoming meeting for review and discussion.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The Thoroughbred Owners of California have written a letter of support for Del Mar’s attempt to purchase the fairgrounds and racetrack for $120 million. During a report to council, member Carl Hilliard said the California Thoroughbred was expected to also submit a letter of support. “These letters are not easy to get,” he added. Legislation authorizing the sale was introduced to state senate Dec. 6, though action is not expected until January at the earliest.
Amendments to Fire Code
Amendments were made to the city’s fire code, which was last updated in September 2008. Some of those changes include fire sprinkler requirements, which will now be extended to multi-family dwellings, state-licensed care facilities, and any homeowners who remodel more than 50 percent of their house. New commercial properties that are bigger than 5,000 square feet or three levels high will also have to include sprinklers and standpipes. Under the new ordinance, fireworks for consumer use will be illegal, though that does not include professional displays by licensed pyro-technicians. The changes, which are in compliance with state mandate, will return to council for final approval next month.