Hauled Water and Denied Building Permits
In May of 2009 a Johnson Valley property owner addressed the HVCC on a building permit issue. Mr. Clabaugh informed the Council that he had been denied a building permit to expand the cabin on his recently purchased parcel, simply because the property relied on hauled water as it's water source. He asked the Building Department to provide the ordinance or regulation that supported this policy, but did not receive any response.
The HVCC delegates discussed this and agreed this policy hurts property owners in rural areas that do not have a pressurized water delivery infrastructure. We asked Field Representative Alan Rasmussen if he could investigate this and provide us with the regulation that the county is enforcing.
Shortly after that meeting, Alan Rasmussen provided the Council with a copy of SB County Development Code 84.21. This code states that the issuance of building permits for single-family residential dwellings relying on hauled water, are contingent upon approval from the Division of Environmental Health Services. It does not differentiate between new construction and construction additions to already existing structures. To view this code click here >>>.
Alan also provided the Council with a memo issued by Environmental Health Services to Building and Safety, clarifying the EHS position that they do not deny permits for structure upgrades and remodels, provided the structure has functioning plumbing and wastewater disposal (septic system). To view this memo click here >>>.
This seems to resolve the issue of permits to upgrade structures, but what about permits for new construction?
On August 22, we obtained a copy of a letter received by a Landers resident, in response to his application for a permit to build on his property that relies on hauled water. This letter clearly states that EHS does not approve the use of hauled water as a potable water source at this time. To view this letter click here >>>
As of now, we do not know the current County position on approving permits for development on parcels that rely on hauled water, nor do we know of any ordinance or regulation that justifies the EHS position of not approving the use of hauled water. The Homestead Valley Community Council believes the County should not deny building permits for any property that relies on hauled water. The State of California approves hauled water from licensed providers, so we believe the County should do the same. The Lucerne Valley Economic Development Association (LVEDA) in the first district has also taken on this issue. We are working with them to resolve this issue as soon as possible. Please check back here frequently for updates.