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Solano County road closures to remain in place for about a month due to storm damage


(BCN) — The Solano County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday received an update on storm impacts as the county continues to seek funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support individual assistance. Mix Canyon and Gates Canyon roads at Pleasants Valley Road are expected to be closed for about a month due to mudslides, said county Engineering Manager Matt Tuggle.

Tuggle said notices were being sent out Tuesday to residents in the area to alert them to limited access options during the closures.

“If you see the slides, they’re pretty nasty up there, so, it’s going to take us a little bit of time to get that together,” said Tuggle.

He said contract bids have opened for the emergency work, which will be performed seven days a week. He said the closure was necessary for structural repairs to downslope areas.

The county is encouraging residents to fill out a survey estimating costs and impacts from the recent storm series so that additional FEMA funding can be sought, said Assistant Emergency Services Manager Robyn Rains, who also said residents should continue to file claims with their primary insurer.

The survey, along with information about future storm preparedness, is available at solanocounty.com/stormready.

Throughout the atmospheric river storm series that lasted from Dec. 26 to Jan. 19, more than 300 areas in the county had “flooded” signs posted, contributing to more than 30 road closures at the height of the storms, according to Kacy Bowers, the county’s public works operations manager. County emergency workers cleared 44 mudslides and identified 84 sites at one point that needed tree or debris removal, which he estimated would take about a month.

Bowers said resource management crews transitioned to emergency schedules on Jan. 4 for about a week and a half.

“They did a tremendous job, responding, working 24 hours” he said. Supervisor John Vasquez agreed.

“All of us were sitting in our homes nice and comfortable while these individuals were out there clearing roadways, clearing ditches, cutting trees down. Again, that’s what public works people do, and our crew did a really good job,” Vasquez said.

At its meeting Tuesday, the board also approved new penalties for code violations in the county, including short-term rental ordinance violations, building code violations and event permit violations. It also approved emergency funding for six non-profit organizations that were financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board voted unanimously to amend Chapter 10 of the county code, which covers abatement of public nuisance, to introduce penalties for code violations. Short-term rental ordinance violations would be subject to a $1,500 penalty for a first violation, $3,000 for a second, and $5,000 for further violations within three years.

Penalties for building code violations will be $130 for a first offense, escalating to $700 for a second and $1,300 thereafter. Event permit violations would carry a $150 penalty for a first violation, $700 for a second and $1,500 for further violations. Other code violations would range from $100 on the first violation, $200 on the second and $500 for future violations.

The amendment also includes processes to record a notice of a pending lawsuit against a property owner or lien placed on a property for unpaid penalties, as well as to provide that property owner with the ability to appeal a violation. The new penalties go into effect Feb. 23. Seven non-profit organizations were awarded emergency bridge funding from American Rescue Plan Act money still available to the county.

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Planned Parenthood Northern California, National Alliance on Mental Illness Solano County, Children’s Network of Solano County, and Seneca Family of Agencies were awarded $350,000 each in bridge funding. Victor Community Support Services was awarded more than $326,000, and Shelter Solano and Faith Food Fridays were each awarded more than $136,000.

Supervisor Mitch Mashburn said he agreed with funding the organizations identified by county staff, but questioned why some organizations that were in danger of closing were not prioritized, including nonprofits Opportunity House and Leaven Kids, whose representatives made appeals to the board.

“The two groups that came to us and said, hey, we have an emergency, we need some help, aren’t getting help today. That’s hard,” Mashburn said.

He said he would like to find funding to support smaller nonprofits that are in critical need. Supervisor Erin Hannigan agreed, and said support needed to increase.

“Our foundation funding here in this county is dismal,” Hannigan said.

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