CBS5.com Local Wire
May 27, 2008
Santa Clara Co.: Summit Fire Prompts Organization to Urge Less Mansion Development
An environmental land-use organization Monday called for Santa Clara County to consider reforming policies regarding the building of hillside mansions in the wake of the Summit Fire that has already consumed 4,270 acres since Thursday.
The Committee for Green Foothills, which works to protect open space in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, said the county needs to reduce the number of “monster mansions” being developed in the hills in order to reduce the risk of fast-spreading blazes.
“Taxpayer money and firefighters’ lives should not be risked for more and more inappropriate ‘monster mansions’ on the hillsides,” said committee advocate Brian Schmidt in a prepared statement.
According to the Committee for Green Foothills, Measure A, a county initiative on the ballot in 2006 that the committee co-sponsored, would have reduced new hillside development on the hillside. But the measure failed by less than a half of 1 percent, the committee said, because of big money from real estate groups.
“We’re not trying to take away existing homes or even ending all new construction in the hills, but we need to stop adding sprawl by putting more and more buildings in these fire-prone areas, especially large mansions that are difficult to protect and harder to rescue people from,” Schmidt said.