Tubbs Recovery Update for Santa Rosa: February 2020

By Saumi Shokraee Natural Hazard, Real Estate

After the October 2017 Tubbs Fire in Northern California, the Napa, Sonoma and Lake counties suffered devastating losses. Santa Rosa in Sonoma County was the hardest hit, with $1.2 billion of damage[1] and 3,043 housing units destroyed.[2] A few years later, Santa Rosa is gradually recovering from this calamity, as homeowners, insurers and developers work to rebuild the community.

Santa Rose Single Family Residence

Seventy-six percent of the 3,043 housing units impacted by the fire were unsalvageable. However, Santa Rosa is making strides in the recovery process. As of February this year, 2,326 housing units are in some stage of the build process. The following is a break down of the status of these properties:

  • Units in permit review: 121
  • Units pending construction: 117
  • Units in construction: 1,042
  • Units completed: 1,046[3]

After wildfire events, builders quickly begin to repair damaged communities, which often overwhelms city planning departments with permit applications.

For instance, after the Tubbs Fire, the month of May 2018 had the highest number of single-family residence permit applications submitted with 163 requests. The month of August 2018 had the highest number of single-family residence permits issued to builders with 188.

Because of these request surges, Santa Rosa builders experienced a higher than usual average wait time for permit approval while the city struggled to meet higher demand. The average permit approval time in December 2018 was 89 days, following a high volume of permit applications during the summer. Since the Tubbs Fire in October 2017, the average approval time for permits in Santa Rosa is 54 days.

The average approval time for a permit in Santa Rosa was 63 days last February. Builders can expect approval time this February to be in the same range, as peak permit requesting after the Tubbs Fire has come to an end.

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