Supervisors to seek relief for Silver Fire property owners

POPPET FLATS, Calif. - Riverside County Supervisors Marion Ashley and Jeff Stone said Friday that they will seek county financial relief for Silver Fire property owners who want to rebuild in the aftermath of the wind-driven inferno.

Ashley and Stone said they will likely introduce a proposal at the Aug. 20 board meeting to waive development fees for the rebuilding of damaged or destroyed structures in the declared natural disaster area. The proposal would also cover structures destroyed this past July during the Mountain Fire, which burned in and around Idyllwild.

The proposal, if adopted, would emulate a 2006 program that granted fee waivers for the rebuilding of structures destroyed by the deadly Esperanza Fire in the San Jacinto Mountains. 

"When people take a hit like this - when they lose their homes - they need a helping hand to rebuild their homes and their lives," said 5th District Supervisor Marion Ashley, who represents property owners impacted by the Silver Fire, which broke out Wednesday and had devoured 16,000 acres and at least 26 homes by Friday afternoon. 

The three-year waiver would be contingent upon a  State proclamation of "Local Emergency" in the charred communities of Poppet Flats, Twin Pines, Silent Valley, Cabazon, Snow Creek, Idyllwild and surrounding areas. 

The waivers would apply only to properties that were not insured or inadequately insured, or not covered by disaster relief. Only property owners of record at the time of the fire would qualify for the program under an existing Board policy.

"The county is very concerned about the loss of property," said 3rd District Supervisor Stone. "A lot of these people have minimal insurance or no insurance and the county wants to help residents rebuild and minimize the cost."

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