Has La Habra Heights Weed Abatement P...

Has La Habra Heights Weed Abatement Program Grown Out of Control?

There are 15 comments on the www.lahabraheights.net story from Jun 22, 2011, titled Has La Habra Heights Weed Abatement Program Grown Out of Control?. In it, www.lahabraheights.net reports that:

La Habra Heights, CA - Property owners here have been left dazed and confused and in some cases poorer, as members of the City’s Fire Dept. enforce to the letter the City’s Weed Abatement ordinance. In the past, firefighters were routinely welcomed onto resident’s properties, but today they are often greeted with locked gates and an air of suspicion. This is mainly due to what is perceived as an overstepping of the spirit of the ordinance, which includes searching properties for code violations. Residents complain they have been written up for having mulch, avocado leaves and duff under trees and parking vehicles along roadways.

Sensing confusion and frustration from property owners over the City’s ramped up weed abatement program, the City Council held an informational meeting on June 13th at City Hall. The purpose of the meeting was to help calm concerns, but instead fueled even more worry when part time Fire Chief Gary Dominguez answered a number of questions that did not sit well with those who had gathered to hear his presentation. Among the most alarming statements included the criminalization of mulch use for landscaping, and a revelation that any resulting mudslides due to aggressive weed abatement were not his concern, but rather the property owner's responsibility. Fire Chief Dominguez did not answer a reporter’s written question whether he was concerned that clearing 30 year old brush from the base of a steep hillside could start a fire. A follow-up question asked if avocado leaves had to also be removed from under trees. Fire Chief Dominguez responded that dead leaves are essentially dead brush, and must be removed. The Fire Chief has longtime avocado growers now wondering if he has signed the death warrant to La Habra Heights avocado growing heritage.

You can read complete in-depth coverage on weed abatement issues and learn more about the City vs. Property owners by visiting the following site: www.LaHabraHeights.net

Click here to view La Habra Heights Fire Chief Gary Dominguez’s June 13th, controversial presentation to community.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at www.lahabraheights.net.

Rise Up People

Van Nuys, CA

#1 Jun 22, 2011
How are they getting away with this ridiculous invasion of residents' property?

Did you watch the Chief's presentation and see what he thinks is acceptable clearance of a property?
It was a bare dirt lot; just dirt, no trees, bushes, anything.

We need to rise up and say NO!

We want weed abatement but not fines for leaves.

The cost to maintain your property the way they want will drive out many long time residents.
This is what some council members want.

If you listen to them they talk about "Prop 13" houses. Those are one that people have owned a long time and pay taxes based on lower purchase prices. They want those people gone so the property taxes will go up.

Vipperman says he wants at least seven $1 million dollar houses built a year.
The only way to do that is turn out long time residents so the older homes can be bulldozed.

They are using weed abatement to clear out weeds and residents.

We all need to band together and demand change, or they will pick us off one at a time.
One of the Confused

North Pole, AK

#2 Jun 22, 2011
Many canyons have decades of natural habitat with many different kinds of animals and insects its a true circle of life and the Fire Chief wants it cleared to the dirt? The City Council needs to clear the City Manager and Fire Chief out of our city along with their high salaries. Bring volunteers back.
RWQCB

AOL

#3 Jun 23, 2011
The chief may not be concerned with the erosion and mudslides from stripping the canyons of vegetation, but the water quality control board will.
Noticed

North Hollywood, CA

#4 Jun 25, 2011
I have noticed that it is starting to look like a desert around here. I think we should be very fire safety based, but there is an awful lot of dirt around now and LHH has lost a lot of beauty. No green equals HOT.
LHH TSA

Van Nuys, CA

#5 Jun 27, 2011
The Fire Department has become the TSA of La Habra Heights with invasive and unwanted searches and changing "rules", all in the name of unchallengeable "Fire Safety".

All bow before the Fire God.
Acknowledged

North Hollywood, CA

#6 Jun 27, 2011
Noticed wrote:
I have noticed that it is starting to look like a desert around here. I think we should be very fire safety based, but there is an awful lot of dirt around now and LHH has lost a lot of beauty. No green equals HOT.
This is the most "dirt" we have ever seen in La Habra Heights. So the question might be made: Are we safer? Guess it is yet to be seen. La Habra Heights has alway been pretty in its rural ways. Can't say that now. Maybe they are looking for nice neat manicured one acre lots soon. Maybe that is the goal. Sod on the bare spots, or better yet, astro turf.
Is it true

Whittier, CA

#7 Jul 8, 2011
Is the City of La Habra Heights looking for a new Fire Chief? Is he really going to take his axe and go to his room because the residents are upset with gestapo tactics on weed clearance?
CPGP

La Habra, CA

#8 Jul 9, 2011
The La Habra Heights Fire Hazard Reduction checklist was a topic that got significant discussion at last Wednesday's soup night. Here is the link to the checklist that the council plans to review and act upon at the July 14 council meeting:

http://www.lhhcity.org/index.php...

The concensus of the CPGP is that some of these proposals are too far reaching for our rural community. We all want to live in a safe environment, and for LHH, especially protection from potential brush fires. But there needs to be a balanced approach and they should be consistent with the General Plan.

Please review this check list, then attend this month's council meeting (July 14) and be prepared to share your opinions about these checklist items.

Thank you,
CPGP
In Hiding

Hilmar, CA

#9 Jul 9, 2011
It used to be that a fire truck in your neighborhood was a welcome sight. But now seeing one is like seeing an IRS letter in the mail. Putting them in the position of revenue generators for the city is insane. The city has spent it's way to almost three quarters of a million dollars in debt.

This didn't just happen. We were told the budget was balanced before the election. The mid-year review came after the election. It was supposed to be done in December. Political enemies are harassed to silence opposition. Now the way has been paved to make up the difference in mismanagement by citing residents under the Fire Code where no appeal is available. Taxes will be raised and the residents will get the just
desserts of ignorance and apathy. So the next time you see a fire truck coming, remember that the city gave them the citation book.

If this were truly about fire protection, then why are fire codes being changed to make it impossible to comply without turning La Habra Heights into the Gobi Desert? It is being done for the good of the city?
proposition 13

Hollywood, FL

#10 Jul 13, 2011
http://twitter.com/LaHabraHeights
The Avocado Express

Fire Chief on his way out?, Pay raise for "Pebbles"?, Is weed abatement program designed to abate Prop 13 home owners? Read more at: http"//www.LHHNET.com

“Exclusive Investigation!”

Since: Jun 07

La Habra Heights

#12 Jul 13, 2011
Here is the Fire Watch Version:

La Habra Heights Fire Watch Recommendations to City Council on Current Weed Abatement Program

June 10, 2011

(DRAFT)

Overview:

The City’s aggressive implantation and desire to eliminate all “flammable material” within one season could cause financial hardship for residents, increase the danger of accidental wildfires and possibly contribute to mudslides.

Facts:

• City has three decades of brush, plant and tree growth that needs to be managed.

• The Fire Chief mandates that all properties (parcels) conform per the City’s weed abatement ordinance by May 1st of every year.

• Property owners remain confused about exactly what is required by the municipal code.

• City says all weeds on parcel, regardless of distance from structures, need to abated and removed

• City does not require fire extinguishers, water supply or reliable communications to be present while property owners clear weeds.

• City does not require the suspension of high-risk brush clearing efforts during Red Flag Warnings or periods of high fire danger. Note: Brush clearing is often the cause of accidental wildfire starts.

• Erosion of hillsides resulting from City’s weed abatement program is the property owner's responsibility per Fire Chief.

• Long established and essential mulching program for Citrus and Avocado orchards have been banned by La Habra Heights Fire Chief.

Action:

• Design a program that will prevent clear cutting of private open space and protect property from erosion.

• Protect required screening of structures from road and neighboring properties.

• Work with property owners to perform needed remediation within a realistic timeframe.

• City should use established State and County Guidelines for brush clearing standards, rather than use vague interpretation and opinion that
could lead to selective enforcement.

• Consider a financial aid program to help offset the cost of weed abatement for residents who are facing hardship, in order to comply with the City’s Ordinance.

• Require suspension of weed abatement activities using metal blade clearing equipment during Red Flag Warning days.

• Provide a one-page fire prevention sheet for brush clearing outlining requirement of fire extinguisher at work site. Require deployment of a
charged water line for high risk brush areas and include direct 10-digit fire department emergency number.

• Establish guidelines to allow use of mulch for agricultural purposes. Mulch serves the health and maintenance of orchards and prevention of soil
erosion, conservation of water and promotes recycling and composting. Mulch is fundamental for the suppression of aversive weeds and plants as
well as provides a cost effective and environmentally friendly landscaping
material.
Resident of LHH

Valley Village, CA

#13 Jul 22, 2011
We just received a roadside clearance letter that gives us one week to comply or be fined. I hope no one plans on going on vacation this summer for more than a few days...
chewing gum

AOL

#14 Jul 24, 2011
So what is with the wad of chewing gum in the chief's mouth at every meeting? He sure goes to town smacking that wad around in his mouth. Maybe it should go on the end of his nose when he speaks? Just saying.
Empty Seats

Los Angeles, CA

#15 Jul 26, 2011
Didn't the CM say that the proposals were recommendations and the public input would be weighed to make the final policy? Instead the bull keeps running down the hill with a citation book in hand. No one knows what the actual weed abatement policy is and once they get on the property, they act like a Southern sheriff ticketing anything and everything.
How could this be happening? Because you have the remote in your hands the night of CC meeting and expect someone to stick up for you.
If you want something to change, set up your TiVo and dhow up in large numbers. By using weed abatement as a crow bar, the city has a method of getting on your property 24/7/365 that you cannot appeal. If you think it won't happen to you, look at LaHabraHeights.net and look at the cases of residents who have been around the block for over 30 years, know weed abatement basics and get raked over the coals.
I am sure that if you are an Improvement Association board member, you won't get a notice. However, the city has seen that you won't fight back. The CC meetings have fewer people attending than a Kevin Federline concert. As long as that is the case, the game is on. The difference is the city is now using Fire and Sheriff personnel as code enforcement officers. Why? Because the city is more interested in control of the population than improving the community. Until you put the DVR on and come to address the problems if this city, it will only get worse. The City canceled La Habra Heights Has Talent pageant. Why? Because when they buzz you, a citation is issued. And there is no appeal b
Rocha

North Hollywood, CA

#16 Mar 27, 2012
First fire watch complains that there isn't enough weed clearance to keep the city safe. Then Edwards who is suppose to be fire watch complains when there is weed abatement. Good thing that the majority of the city are normal people. Not these few who post hate and lies on websites and topix.

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