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Roadside Clearance

In March of 2019 the County issued an Ordinance that required Roadsides to be cleared of Hazardous Vegetation 10 feet from the shoulder of the road and 15 feet above this strip of land (called the Fuel Modification Area). Creating such a canopy is intended to avoid the issues faced in the Paradise Fire when flames were narrowing the exit roads and creating a danger for people trying to evacuate. In most cases the Association owns the land in question and is required by law to comply with the ordinance. To that end the Board Approved Rule R-6.30.05 (Reference Link #1) which was communicated to all Members in the form of a letter from the GM (Reference Link #2). Even though the land in question is owned by the Association the Rule allows Owners to bring this strip of land into compliance in a way that meets the Rule while allowing for ornamental planting to continue to have “curb appeal”.

As an overview, the Rule defines the shoulder as the edge of the pavement or 12 feet from the center of the road, whichever is less, since not all pavement edges are the same in the Association. A diagram overview titled Roadside Clearance Regulations (Reference Link #3) was initially prepared by the Coalition of Fire Wise Communities in collaboration with the Nevada County Roads Department. An Association Town Hall Meeting demonstrated this diagram on some of our roadways (Reference Link #4).

Lake Wildwood developed a list of Hazardous Vegetation (see Creating Safer Landscape) to be removed in the 10 foot strip of land from the road shoulder, preferably by the Member. It is suggested that any replacement plants be selected from the Lake Wildwood Firewise Roadside-Plant Suggestions (see Creating Safer Landscape). These plants can’t be higher than 2 feet, need to be placed no closer than twice the height, should be irrigated and spread around in a none hedge pattern. If the roadside land is sloped there are other guidelines in the Rule.

The bottom-line is that Members who choose to bring the roadside strip of land into compliance at their own expense will be able to continue to have "curb appeal", albeit with some restrictions. Those that don’t will have the land in front of their Lots cleared by the Fire Management Operations Staff. To begin the effort a Member needs to complete a simple “Opt-Out Form" and pursue the new landscaping in a timely manner.

For more details one can read the referenced Links and/or contact the EMO Staff.
Reference Links:

Hazardous Vegetation
Open Opt-Out Form

11255 Cottontail Way, Penn Valley, CA 95946 | P: (530) 432-1152 | F: (530) 432-2044
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Photo Credit: Members, Steve Berry and Paul Towne