LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- The Lane County Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to waive permit fees for survivors of the Holiday Farm Fire who are rebuilding their homes on Wednesday.
According to the county, the fee waiver program applies to building and sanitation permits and planning applications that are required for the repair or rebuilding of homes destroyed by the fire, such as fill or removal permits, riparian declarations and floodplain development permits.
People impacted by the wildfire who have already paid fees will be reimbursed. Primary residences, rental properties and second homes are eligible.
The commissioners said that this action has taken a considerable effort to prepare, but there is much more yet to be done in the recovery effort.
"We do need to do more work. There is going to be a long haul in front of us, but I do want to remind the board how much work has gone into the recovery and rebuilding process so far, and that we will continue to push forward," said Commissioner Heather Buch.
According to county estimates, not charging permit fees for the survivors of the fire may cause the county to miss out on about $2.1 million in lost revenue.
"Are we to the end? No. Have we achieved the result we seek to achieve? No. So these actions by the board today are a step in this process, and I will be the first to acknowledge that we are not where we need to be," said county administrator Steve Mokrohisky.
The board also approved six full-time positions to help expedite the permitting process and said they are investigating possible funding sources for the staff.
According to the county, the fee waiver program, reimbursement system and other changes to the permitting process will take time to establish. The program will be available to original owners of the destroyed properties or their relatives for a five-year period.