Brush Clearance Needs to Be Done: Including State Park Land

This home on Amalfi was cited for not doing brush clearance.

Annual brush clearance started on May 1 and owners of property located in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ), which is most of Pacific Palisades shall maintain their property in accordance with the Fire Code (L.A.M.C. 57.322).

Inspectors have cited several properties in Pacific Palisades for failure to do brush clearance.

Second inspections occur after 30 days, and those who still have not cleared the property will receive a second citation. (The initial inspection fee $31 and a second inspection fee $674 will be charged to the owner.)

If the property is still not cleared by late September, early October, a city contractor will clear the property and bill the property owner. The owner will also be responsible for an administrative fee $1398, first inspection fee $31 and a second inspection fee  of $674.

Several Castellammare residents, whose land abuts on State Parks say the State has not cleared the land.

They asked the state to clear the brush, but when the state would not, they raised nearly $140,000 in private money in 2019 to have the land cleared. “It was our money, our insurance and our liability,” the residents said.

Brush clearance inspector Warren Sutton confirmed that even though the state of California makes homeowners do brush clearance on state land, the state also requires that the homeowners get a permit before they can start.

According to the Castellammare residents, once they had a permit, the state dictated what could be removed and what had to remain: some plants were sprayed green, that meant they couldn’t be removed and others orange, which meant residents could remove them.

Castellammare residents raised funds for brush clearance in 2019, 2020 and 2021, but are not sure they can raise the funds to clear state lands, again.

The Inspector said he can cite the state but cannot cite the residents for failing to do brush clearance on state land.

The Inspector said his other concerns are areas where there is only one way in and out, such as Mandeville Canyon and Paseo Miramar and other communities surrounded by state lands.

All cut vegetation is to be removed per brush clearance rules.

CLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR VERY HIGH FIRE ZONE:

  1. Areas within 200 feet of structures and/or 10 feet of roadside surfaces or combustible fence: Grass shall be cut to three inches in height. Native brush shall be reduced in quantity to three inches in height. This does not apply to individual native shrubs spaced a minimum of 18 feet apart, provided such shrubs are trimmed up from the ground to 1/3 of their height with all dead material being removed.
  2. For trees taller than 18 feet, trim lower branches so no foliage is within six feet of the ground and remove all dead material. For trees and shrubs less than 18 feet, remove lower branches to 1/3 of their height, and remove all dead material.
  3. Trees shall be trimmed up so the foliage is no closer than 10 feet from the outlet of a chimney.
  4. All roof surfaces shall be maintained free of substantial accumulation of leaves, needles, twigs and any other combustible matter. Maintain five feet of vertical clearance between roof surfaces and portions of overhanging trees.
  5. All cut vegetation and debris shall be removed in a legal manner. Cut vegetation may be machine processed (i.e.,chipped) and spread back onto the property at a depth not to exceed three inches within 30 feet of structures and six inches beyond 30 feet of structures. In addition, spread material shall not be placed within 10 feet of any usable roadside.

This home needs to clear the roof surfaces of combustible matter.

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2 Responses to Brush Clearance Needs to Be Done: Including State Park Land

  1. Sue says:

    What entity is responsible for clearing brush/grass/tall weeds etc in an easement area that is not owned by the respective property owners on either side? The easement area in question is the large area that is used by the city to connect power lines thru from place to place. Each homeowner fences in their own property and must make sure trees don’t affect the power lines, but who is responsible to clear the tall grasses etc. in the easement passage area?
    Thank you for finding out the answer for many who live in canyon areas.

  2. Sue says:

    I’ve sent the query to Palisades Brush Inspector, and once he replies, I’ll update everyone.

    Sue

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