Strong Thomas Fire recovery efforts in the City of Ventura

New homes will soon start replacing the lost ones.

The City of Ventura has issued the first full-home Thomas Fire rebuild permits to property owners who lost their homes in the fire last December. The City of Ventura Community Development Department worked closely with the homeowners and architects to issue building permits.

The Ventura City Council took several steps early on to help residents rebuild homes on fire-damaged properties by instituting a streamlined and expedited approach. After the Thomas Fire, policy changes were made to accelerate the recovery process such as a allowing homeowners to maintain their legal nonconforming status and instituting a 14-business day turnaround for permit plan check(normally at least 6-weeks). To help review rebuilding permits, the City contracted with outside firms to support the workload and ensure Thomas Fire rebuilding applications are given priority.

“We have made rapid progress,” said Mayor Neal Andrews. “It’s been just five months since the Thomas Fire and we will continue to work diligently and support the needs of our residents to reinvest in their properties.”

Additionally, the City established a Thomas Fire Rebuild office to expeditiously serve residents and improve the workflow. “It’s been a tremendous team effort,” said Community Development Director Jeffrey Lambert. “Collaborating with local architects early on and working with departments citywide has been the key to our success.”

In the City of Ventura, the Thomas Fire destroyed 524 homes and damaged approximately 168 homes.

City staff has held more than 125 one-on-one meetings with homeowners and design professionals.

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