(Adding video, comment from Deschutes Co. planning manager)
Through online survey, 2 Planning Commission 'virtual meetings'
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes County said Monday it is considering new building codes and land use regulations to protect communities from wildfire. The proposed changes could help make homes more fire-resistant and require homeowners to create defensible space around their homes.
“We are well aware of the fire history in this county," Peter Gutowsky, Deschutes County planning manager, told NewsChannel 21 on Tuesday. "I think the question is a good one. Are we doing enough or can we do more to protect our community from wildfire?”
The county acknowledged that updating local building codes to make homes more fire-resistant could make new construction and some remodels more expensive because of new requirements for decks, siding, vents and other materials.
The proposed rules would only apply to homes outside of city limits in unincorporated areas of the county.
The Deschutes County Community Development Department invites residents to learn more about the proposed changes and provide their feedback through an online survey: www.deschutes.org/wildfiremitigationsurvey.
Along with new construction outside city limits, remodeling projects could see higher costs due to new requirements for decks, siding, gutters, roofing and other materials.
County officials estimate the fireproofing materials could add up to $3,000 to the cost of a 1,200-square-foot home and up to $6,000 for a home twice that size.
Gutowsky said, “$6,000 for fire-resistant materials that deal with ventilation and siding and decking? I think on the surface, it seems like a reasonable number that can be integrated into a building design."
The Deschutes County Planning Commission will host two virtual meetings to provide residents a chance to learn more about the proposed changes and ask questions. Meetings will be held on:
- Thursday, November 19, at 6 p.m.
- Thursday, December 3, at 6 p.m.
Staff will share the results of the community’s feedback to the Board of County Commissioners in early 2021.
For more information on how to participate in the virtual community meetings, visit www.deschutes.org/wildfiremitigation. For questions, or more information, contact Peter Gutowsky, Planning Manager, 541-385-1709, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Tanya Saltzman, Associate Planner, 541-388-6528, Tanya.Saltzman@deschutes.org.
Visit www.deschutes.org/wildfiremitigation for current project information, and to sign up for project updates.