The Oakmont Village Association will propose changes in the new Santa Rosa General Plan “to recognize the importance of improving evacuations in the event of a wildfire emergency.”
A resolution seeking the changes passed unanimously at the May 17 OVA board meeting, comes in the wake of hours-long traffic jams as Oakmont residents fled major wildfires in recent years. In some cases, residents returned to their fire-threatened homes rather than risk being trapped in their vehicles.
Oakmont’s proposal, submitted to the Santa Rosa Planning Department by Directors Iris Harrell and Jeff Neuman, asks for changes “to recognize the importance of improving evacuations in the event of a wildfire emergency.” It would amend the city’s General Plan to add three additional points under the Wildland Fires Subsection of the Noise and Safety Heading:
–Develop plans to reduce evacuation times for any area of Santa Rosa in the Wildland Urban Interface with an objective of ensuring evacuation takes no longer than 30 minutes for residents to be clear of traffic congestion.
–Ensure changes involving lights, stop signs or lane changes on major evacuation routes such as Highway 12 do not increase evacuation times for residential areas that use them to evacuate from wildfires.
–Prior to final permitting, ensure new developments in the Wildland Urban Interface do not increase wildfire evacuation times for other residential areas in Santa Rosa during construction or after they are completed.
In addition, it asks for plans to prioritize early notifications and evacuation support for areas that have a greater percentage of elderly people, disabled people and institutionalized populations needing greater levels of support during an evacuation.
The new General Plan is supposed to be completed by the Spring of 2023. The existing General Plan, formally approved in 2009, has only a few pages devoted to wildfire safety and no mention at all of evacuations.
LOS GUILICOS COMMITTEE: JOB DONE
Oakmont’s Los Guilicos Shelter Committee was dissolved after reporting that the village “continues to run smoothly” under the strong management of St. Vincent de Paul and noting that there have been no verified reports of issues within Oakmont pertaining to LGV residents.
The committee reported that the management contract for SVDP to run the homeless center has been renewed and for the first time all units are fully occupied. Also 90 individuals have been transitioned to more permanent housing, making room for additional residents.
The board approved changing the Central Pool rules to allow children 17 and under access to the pool when accompanied by an Oakmont resident or an adult 18 or older with a valid guest card every day of the year from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children continue to have access from noon to 4 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day.