SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Santa Rosa residents who lost their homes in the wine country wildfires may be back in their rebuilt homes sooner than they anticipated, in a home that may be almost exactly like the one that burned down.
On Thursday, the government released 56 properties in Sonoma County and the city of Santa Rosa back to their owners.
The lots have been cleared of all debris and the properties passed environmental testing, which means the owners can start to rebuild on those lots tomorrow if they can.
Builders are promising some homeowners in Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park neighborhood they can be back in their homes by summertime.
Meanwhile, John Allen with APM Homes says he has nine of the original Coffey Park floor plans and is looking to rebuild 500 lots.
“The emphasis on utilizing the same footbprint and floorplan is to fast track the process through the city, so we can essentially get an over-the-counter permit and get these homes built back very quickly,” said Allen.
He’s is already bringing the old plans up to new codes, as well as working with financial institutions to have funding in place for the people who want to build with him.
The more who do, the cheaper it becomes for everyone, said Allen.
“If we were to take on one single home as itself, we could be looking at pricing from $300 to $350 a square foot,” said Allen. “By taking and dividing that cost over 20, 30, 100 homes, you can then get that cost down to $240.”
He says the contractors are lined up and ready to go. He’s just recruiting the neighborhood.
But for folks like Lloyd Dillon, an original homeowner in Coffey Park, it’s a no-brainer.
“We been here 30-something years …. We just want to get back in it. Real bad,” said Dillon. “I’m not asking for any more or any less. We just want to get it done to where we can get inside of it.”
The city of Santa Rosa has brought in an outside contractor who is operating an entirely separate permitting center to deal specifically with fire-related permits, so people who lost their home or had to move because of the fire are able to get back into their home as quickly as possible.