The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved waiving L.A. County Waterworks District 29 (WWD29) water infrastructure improvement fees for customers, including Malibu residents, who were displaced by the Woolsey Fire and are rebuilding their homes, as long as they are seeking a similarly-sized water service.
“The last eight months have been severely challenging for many residents as they try to re-establish their lives and their homes after the devastating Woolsey Fire. My office is working to reduce the difficulty, expense and time for re-building. That’s why I am grateful to my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors for joining me in waiving these Waterworks District 29 fees which will make the rebuilding process a little less costly,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose district includes Malibu.
WWD29 is the drinking water supplier for the City of Malibu and unincorporated areas of L.A. County.
“These fee waivers for water infrastructure mean that a small but significant barrier has been removed for some Malibu residents who are struggling to move forward with rebuilding their homes after the Woolsey Fire,” said Mayor Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner. “On behalf of Malibu residents, I am grateful for the efforts by the County, and proud of what we have been able to achieve together to ease the way for our community members to rebuild and recover.”
The fee waivers are for homeowners displaced by the Woolsey Fire who seek to rebuild their homes, businesses, and/or allowable structures damaged or destroyed in the fire, as long as they are not seeking a larger-size water service. The County may make exceptions when the size increase is for the purpose of meeting current fire sprinkler regulations. The homes must also be within the parameters of rebuilding allowed after a disaster within the City of Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains Coastal Zone Planning Area.
On December 4, 2018, the Board of Supervisors waived certain County and District fees, including some water service charges, to assist victims of the Woolsey Fire, but some additional barriers to rebuilding remained. For example, the District’s water system infrastructure improvement costs, which are recovered by the levying of various water fees, are required to be paid before reconstruction is allowed on damaged properties because of the upgrades in District infrastructure required to meet current fire-flow standards, which are higher than when these homes were originally constructed. These fees have now been addressed with the County Supervisor’s actions.
On June 24, the Malibu City Council approved waiving fees for residents who are rebuilding their homes destroyed in the Woolsey Fire. The 100-percent fee waivers apply to “like for like” and “like for like” plus 10-percent projects to rebuild primary residences between November 8, 2018 and June 30, 2020, and applies retroactively to people who have already paid permitting fees.
The County resolution to waive the fees is available online at http://file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/bos/supdocs/138130.pdf.