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Coffey Strong Receives United Way of the Wine Country Grant for Entryway Landscaping

Coffey Strong Receives United Way of the Wine Country Grant for Entryway Landscaping

Coffey Strong is grateful for the support of United Way of the Wine Country’s Wildfire Recovery and Resilience Neighborhood Grants Program (WRNGP), which has awarded ten grants ranging from $4,000 to $25,000 for projects to help residents rebuild and recover from the October 2017 wildfires and build the resiliency necessary to address future disasters in some cases.  The funds received from this grant will be applied to the restoration of landscaping work at the corner of Hopper Avenue and Coffey Lane, a community hub and entryway to our neighborhood.

Coffey Strong applied for the grant after months of working with Firma Design Group, who donated their services to create a landscape plan that would be beautiful, easy to maintain and provide a space for five memorial cherry trees to grow in memory of lives lost in Coffey Park on the night of the Tubbs Fire. Three of those trees were planted in time for the one year remembrance, with the others to come when the land is ready. The United Way grant provides a great foundation for the project, which still needs an additional $50,000 to reach full funding.

Hopper and Coffey NW corner
Recent view of the corner of Hopper Avenue and Coffey Lane

About the Grant Program

United Way of the Wine Country (UWWC) had $100,000 available for grant funding and received 35 applications totaling $1.6 million dollars. A volunteer grants review committee made up of UWWC Board members and community partners ranked the applications and made funding recommendations based on criteria such as need, impact, and ability to leverage other resources. Based on committee recommendations, the UWWC Board of Directors approved the allocation of an additional $48,100 for the grant program, raising total allocable grant funds to $148,100.

Some of the needs and projects identified by the residents and approved for funding include: rebuilding community spaces, fences, and walls; regreening neighborhoods; and paying for the cost to facilitate community meetings and events (e.g. space rentals, food, communication, etc.).

Recipients of UWWC’s WRNGP grants are: Larkfield Resilience Fund; Mark West Estates Owners Association; Coffey Strong, Inc.; Berry Brook Homeowners Association; Wilshire Heights Mutual Water Company; Glen Ellen Forum; Alexander Valley Citizens League; O’Donnell Lane Community Group; Journey’s End; and Dover Court Chain Gang. The WRNGP was a competitive grants program of UWWC in partnership with Sonoma Clean Power. Any resident- or community-led group made up of five or more households in Sonoma County was eligible to apply.

For more information about United Way, please visit unitedwaywinecountry.org, and for more information about Sonoma Clean Power, please visit sonomacleanpower.org.

Help Us Reach our Funding Goal

Coffey Strong is a group of volunteers from our neighborhood who are helping rebuild the community of Coffey Park with information sharing, mutual support and collaborative initiatives like this one. To help close the funding gap for the Entryway to Coffey Park landscaping project, make a donation to Coffey Strong on our website: www.coffeystrong.com/fundraising

 

One Year Remembrance

One Year Remembrance

If you were able to join us at the one year remembrance of the Tubbs fire on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, we hope you found the event healing and uplifting as we rebuild our community.

If you weren’t able to join us, we hope watching the video below helps you heal as we continue to rebuild Coffey Park.

rainwater and greywater workshops

Save Water, Save Money by Designing Home to Retain Rainwater and Use Greywater

Save Water, Save Money by Designing Home to Retain Rainwater and Use Greywater

Are you interested in saving on your water bill while keeping your landscaping healthy? Would you like to learn how to take advantage of simple strategies for conserving natural resources in your home and garden? If this sounds good to you, take advantage of these FREE upcoming events!

Free Workshops

Local non profit Daily Acts will present two events focused on incorporating sustainable landscape practices like rainwater harvesting and graywater reuse into your rebuild, in partnership with the City of Santa Rosa and Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership. At these informative evening workshops, we will provide access to resources, products and designers who can help you plan for and install these systems at your site.

Each event will provide a brief presentation followed by a panel discussion with local experts and a mini expo to share resources, products, and connect with designers. These events will build on the optional features outlined in the scalable, easy-to-permit landscape templates found at Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership.

Retaining the Rain in Your Rebuild
Thursday, October 4, 6-8 PM, Free
Register to Attend

Did you know that a 1,000 sq ft roof can catch over 600 gallons of water from only 1″ of rainfall? If you’re thinking about taking advantage of this free resource from the sky, then this is the event for you!

Growing with Greywater in Your Rebuild
Thursday, October 18, 6 – 8 PM, Free
Utility Field Office, 35 Stony Point Rd., Santa Rosa, 95401
Register to Attend

Did you know that the average American family does 600 loads of laundry every year?  At 25 gallons per load, it means the average family uses 15,000 gallons of water a year to wash their clothes. Capture that laundry waste water for reuse is greywater. Water from baths and showers can also be captured as greywater and diverted to provide lots of water to irrigate the landscape of your home.  This workshop will provide all the information you need to get started on a greywater plan.

In addition to reducing your water bill, the potential ecological benefits of greywater recycling include:

  • Reduced freshwater extraction from rivers and aquifers
  • Less impact from septic tank and treatment plant infrastructure
  • Reduced energy use and chemical pollution from treatment
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Reclamation of nutrients
  • Greater quality of surface and ground water when preserved by the natural purification in the top layers of soil than generated water treatment processes.
Event Panelists include:
Jesse Savou from BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment Systems
Tom LeBlanc from Community Soil 
Sherry Bryan from Ecology Action
Damien McAnany & Patrick Picard from Equinox Landscapes
Chris Reamer from Go to the Garden
Christina Bertea from Greywater Action
Patty Hamilton from Harmony Farms Supply
Brock Dolman from Occidental Arts and Ecology Center’s WATER Institute
Erik Ohlsen and Sebastian Bertsch from Permaculture Artisans

We hope to see you at these informative events!

one year remembrance gathering

Coffey Strong’s One Year Remembrance Gathering October 9, 7-8 PM

Coffey Strong’s One Year Remembrance Gathering October 9, 7-8 PM

This event is made possible by neighbors, for neighbors.
Organized by Coffey Strong.
Open to all.

Gather with neighbors in a quiet way, as we remember the terrible tragedy we endured when our homes and neighborhood burned down. Stand together with flameless candles in remembrance for the lives that were lost. Express gratitude for first responders and local heroes who helped so many so courageously. Offer thanks for the generosity of those from near and far who have helped us in our long journey toward restoration.

Getting there: Neighbors will gather at 7:00 PM at the West side of the Hopper and Coffey intersection. Hopper Ave. will be closed to traffic from Coffey Lane to Mocha from 6-9PM. We recommend parking near your property and walking over to the gathering, or park on Mocha Lane or along Hopper Ave. west of Mocha.

What we have planned:

luminaria7:00-7:20 PM Interactive elements, peaceful live music (violins and cello)

  • Create personalized remembrance luminaria to light up the night
  • See the designs for proposed landscaping for the corner of Hopper and Coffey
  • See the Cherry trees which will be planted in memory of our five neighbors who died in the fire.
  • Bring one of your old house keys to add to a collaborative art work in progress commemorating our lost homes
  • Tie a ribbon of remembrance to a symbol of hope

7:25-7:40 PM. Circle of Remembrance and Hope

Gather in a circle lit by our luminaria as we hear poetry, music and reflections on our shared experience that forever changed our lives and our neighborhood. A special moment of song and silence to honor the memory of the people who died in Coffey Park on October 9, 2017:  Marjorie “Marnie” Schwartz, Valerie Lynn Evans, Tamara Latrice Thomas, Karen Aycock, Carol Collins-Swasey

7:40-8:00 PM Neighbors Together

Connect with neighbors, continue to interact with art elements and make luminaria. Hopeful and inspiring music!

8:00 PM Gathering Concludes

You are invited to bring your luminary with you, or place on your lot as a beacon of hope.

Volunteers will clean up the area.

bring a house key

9:00 PM Road opens to traffic

___________

Questions about this event? Want to volunteer to help? email us at [email protected]

 

Love Outreach group photo

Outpouring of Love from Local Youth in Coffey Park

Outpouring of Love from Local Youth in Coffey Park

People have always told us at Coffey Strong that recovering from the fires would be a marathon, not a sprint, and it would take many months or even years to restore our neighborhood and our park. What we have done, and have yet to do to for rebuilding is overwhelming. But all of us have received blessings along the way too, as our local community rallied to help, bringing their hearts and hands, talents and resources to help us to that finish line.  Yesterday was one of those hope-filled days where we were on the receiving end of so much kindness.

When local high school students Turner Welch, Katie Todd, Rene Tolson and Elena Dyer returned to their school this year, they had a vision for making community service projects a new part of their high school Christian Club activities schedule. But realizing that their clubs at Maria Carrillo and Windsor High were small and had a limited capacity to serve, they decided to reach out to other high school clubs to create a larger organization, a group they call the Love Outreach Christian Club.  “We came together with a mission and a passion for the community and a desire to share God’s love.” said Todd. They knew that by coming together they could achieve so much more. And they started it off with their first project– a clean up day in our fire-ravaged neighborhood, Coffey Park.

Love Outreach Christian Club leaders and event supervisors Turner Welch, Katie Todd, Rene Tolson and Elena Dyer

Using their connections at local churches and social media to spread the word, they never imagined how this idea would grow so quickly to bring in 250 volunteers from as far north as Ukiah, representing at least 8 schools.  They welcomed anyone who could help to pitch-in, not just Christian Clubs or church groups, but any person who was interested in helping out. For example, more than 40 seventh and eighth graders from nearby Mark West Charter School, were there to volunteer, representing a quarter of that small middle school’s student body, and many adults came to participate as well.

It took time, organization and resources to prepare for the event.  They raised $800 to cover the cost of food to provide lunch and
water for the volunteers, and get supplies like debris collection bags.  Teen organizers met with Coffey Strong board members Bill Northcroft and Tricia Woods several times to define the scope of the project and figure out what tools, materials and resources were needed for the day.  According to Woods, the kids simply gathered the information and then set to work making the preparations themselves. Local builder Shook and Waller provider heavy machinery to facilitate big cleanup efforts, and Recology donated the dumpsters. Another donor provided $3000 worth of mulch, and many others pitched in with tools, wheelbarrows, tables, chairs and more.

Bill Northcroft
Coffey Strong board member Bill Northcroft helped teens prioritize projects for the volunteer day

The first priority was to clean up the area along Dogwood Drive and the park, which was still littered with burned and twisted heaps of metal debris, overgrown organic waste and trash. Neighbors have been complaining to the city about this area for months, and now was a great opportunity to remove the mess. The second priority was to clean up the intersection of Coffey Lane and Hopper Avenue, what many are now referring to now as the ‘Entrance to Coffey Park’.  Northcroft has been leading an effort to install new permanent landscaping on those corners, but until the funding for that project can be raised, the area needed deep cleaning and sprucing up.  The teens cleared the area, weeded, laid down mulch and even planted a few flowers near the newly installed neighborhood sign on the northwest corner. The facelift to this area comes just in time, as this location will be the site of a 1-year Remembrance Gathering for Coffey Strong, scheduled for 7 PM on Tuesday, October 9.

Adults from local churches and Coffey Park neighbors were there pitching in to help, under the direction of the teens. Kerry Lane neighbor Tom Fellbaum helped unload wheelbarrow loads of green waste into a 30 yard dumpster, and neighbor Lyn Johnson grabbed a rake and helped clean up along Mocha Lane. Folks like Travis Oglesby offered the use of his pick up truck and neighbor Steve Rahmn helped make runs to the dump with debris. Other neighbors felt compelled to come and simply say thank you to the kids who organized and spent their Saturday volunteering. Debbie Bratburg, an elementary school teacher from Windsor who lost her home directly across from the park wanted to speak with the organizers and let them know how grateful she is, and how hopeful and proud she is of these young people.

 

dogwood drive clean up
Top priority was to clean up the perimeter of the park along Dogwood Drive

 

The teens say this is just the beginning, and that they are planning community service projects both large and small in the year ahead–from River Clean ups to food bank volunteering. They look forward to more opportunities for young people to take the lead for positive change in the world. “We want to set aside our differences, forget about conflicts, and work together to rebuild our community after the tragedy of last October.” said organizer Tolson.

Coffey Strong is made stronger and more hopeful after days like this!  Thank you to everyone who contributed and worked so hard to make this day possible! #coffeystong #strongertogether #lovefully

How You Can Help

Coffey Strong is working hard to bring back our neighborhood, including our lovely local park.  It will take millions to restore, since all the irrigation and play equipment was destroyed by the intense heat of the fires.  If you are able, please help us with a donation to the park rebuilding fund or other projects from Coffey Strong!  Information on how to contribute is on our website’s fundraising page.

 

 

 

 

 

Landscape Design Workshop Sept 29 Offers Hands-on Help

Landscape Design Workshop Sept 29 Offers Hands-on Help

Are you picturing your new home surrounded by beautiful trees and plants, arranged in an easy to maintain, drought tolerant yard? Looking for an affordable solution to getting an attractive landscape design?

If you are one of the hundreds of homeowners who are using one of the smaller contractors or custom builders, the landscape design might not be included in your builder contract, or your agreement might provide an allowance toward the landscaping, but you need to still plan the landscape design and engineering. Every home will need at least a front yard landscape plan, approved at the city or county planning office. Thanks to the Sonoma Marin Water Saving Partnership, FREE scalable front yard landscape templates are available, offering eight attractive layouts in several different styles.

The templates are not ready for submittal to the permitting agency until you mark them up with your site specific details and your material and design option selections.

Not sure how to use the FREE Landscape Design Templates?

Attend the Pathways to Rebuilding Landscapes Workshop on September 29, 2018 offered by Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership to learn how to use and adapt the templates.

  • The session will begin with a review of the Landscape Design Templates and explanation of how to modify the templates to suit your specific site needs.
  • Then, trained landscape advisors, design professionals and permitting staff will be on-hand to provide guidance as you participate in the Hands-On Breakout session, where you can mark up the designs to your own site’s needs. Be sure to bring a 24″ x 36″ printed copy of the landscape template you want to use and a site plan if you have one. (Get large format copies printed at a local copy shop)
  • After the workshop, if you need further assistance, the FAQ page will have a list of trained professionals that are available for hire to assist with any landscape design or installation needs.

Space is limited, register for the workshop and get your FREE event tickets here.

template includes plant images and names
Templates include fire resistant and drought tolerant plant selections. Resource lists for alternative low water and moderate water plants are also provided on the Sonoma Marin Water Saving Partnership website

The workshop will have two components:

8:00am to 9:00am The Overview of Landscape Templates – Learn about the Landscape Design Templates, how they are designed to be scalable, optional elements, and more.
8:00am to 9:00am

The Hands-On Breakout Session* – make plant substitutions, select optional elements and make simple markups to your Landscape Design Template. (Get tickets for one of two sessions.)
Session 1 – 9:00am to 10:30am
Session 2 – 11:00am to 12:30pm

*The Hands-On Breakout Sessions are not design consultations. If more complex modifications are desired, design assistance is available through your local landscape professionals.

Register for the workshop and get your FREE event tickets here.

Location: City of Santa Rosa Utility Field Office, 35 Stony Point Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

*Please bring these items if you will be attending a breakout session so we can help guide you on your path to rebuilding your landscape:

Hopper Wall image

Hopper Walls Project: A Collaboration between Coffey Strong, AshBritt Environmental, and Rebuild Northbay Foundation

Hopper Walls Project: A Collaboration between Coffey Strong, AshBritt Environmental, and Rebuild Northbay Foundation

Coffey Strong, AshBritt Environmental and Rebuild Northbay Foundation are pleased to announce the details have been finalized for rebuilding the common perimeter walls along Hopper Ave. Coffey Strong, AshBritt Environmental and Rebuild Northbay Foundation collaborated for the past several months to ensure all of the costs were covered, including demolition of the existing walls, debris removal, and replacement with a design and fire rated material chosen by residents. The group is thankful to Martin Hirsch of the law firm of Perry, Johnson, Anderson, Miller and Moskowitz for the significant pro bono legal assistance provided for this project.

After the devastating October 9th fires, it was discovered that the Hopper wall was owned by the homeowners that adjoined it. The cost of demolition and rebuilding was a burden that would have been placed on each individual resident. Coffey Strong was determined to find a solution that would benefit the neighbors and provide a new “Gateway to Coffey Park.” The total cost to remove, dispose and replace the existing wall is approximately $ 18,250.00 per homeowner. The financial and in-kind donation from Ashbritt with the support and partnership between Rebuild Northbay Foundation and Coffey Strong has allowed this to happen.

After interviewing numerous contractors and soliciting quotes, Coffey Strong chose Restructure Group LLC of New York, the manufacturer of the RSG-3D structural panel system as the material supplier for the project. A number of RSG-3D certified contractors have participated in the design of the wall and will be responsible for the construction over a period of 3 months. The existing 6’ precast wall will be removed and replaced with a new 8’ high strength, highly durable privacy wall.  This wall system was specifically chosen for many reasons. This panel wall system is fireproof, seismic-resistant, easily repairable and sound attenuating. The 2900 linear feet of wall will be a stucco finished wall with columns placed 20’ on center.  Coffey Strong is still seeking funding for the stone veneers on the columns. 

Jeff Okrepkie, Coffey Strong Board President stated, “We’re thrilled to have AshBritt Environmental provide the funding for our solution to a significant problem for 40 of our residents. However, it doesn’t just impact those homeowners. It will bring new life to Hopper Avenue and the gateway to Coffey Park.”

AshBritt contacted Rebuild Northbay Foundation in late February inquiring about projects that would have a meaningful impact on the community. Immediately, Rebuild Executive Director Jennifer Gray Thompson suggested the Coffey Park walls. “We are all acutely aware of the number of unmet needs combined with insurance shortfalls that prevent fire survivors from rebuilding better, safer, and faster. Rebuild is committed to assisting in finding relief for the fire affected communities through collaboration with the private, public and nonprofit sectors. The collaborative relationship between AshBritt, Coffey Strong and Rebuild Northbay is a model of multi-sector problem solving after an unprecedented disaster. Together, anything is possible.”

Notably, the original estimate of $300,000 to replace the walls fell far short of the actual cost. AshBritt understood the practical and emotional imperative of completing this project and rose to the challenge.

“AshBritt’s corporate core values include being an active partner in the long-term recovery of Santa Rosa and the entire wildfire impacted area,” said AshBritt CEO Brittany Perkins.  “This includes contributing up to $650,000 supporting locally identified community recovery initiatives throughout Northern California.  The Coffey Park project is a significant symbol of recovery and resiliency for the community. AshBritt is proud to partner with Rebuild Northbay and Coffey Strong to make this happen.”

AshBritt is contributing $450,000 for the Coffey Park wall and other yet to be specified community initiatives through the Rebuild Northbay organization.  In addition, AshBritt and its partners are contributing between $100,000 to $200,000 in-kind contributions relating to the demolition, hauling, and disposal of the existing wall. 

At the execution and approval of all required permits and homeowner agreements needed to demo the existing wall and construct the new wall, AshBritt will transmit above noted funding to a segregated and specified Rebuild Northbay funding account for this project.

Coffey Strong, AshBritt, and Rebuild Northbay are grateful for the support of the City of Santa Rosa in navigating the process, from permits to removals.

“The Hopper Wall replacement project is a great example what we can accomplish when the whole community comes together.” Henry Hansel, who serves on the Board of Directors for Rebuild Northbay Foundation as well as being a major employer in the region.

Press Release Coffey Park Walls

Hopper Wall image
view of the Hopper Wall from February 25, 2018

 

events

Events Slated to Help Residents Tackle Rebuilding Challenges – Open to Everyone

Events Slated to Help Residents Tackle Rebuilding Challenges – Open to Everyone

The next few weeks offer several opportunities for fire survivors to get expert advice and information regarding the complex challenges in rebuilding, financing and insurance.  To find these events and more, check the events page on the Coffey Strong website, make sure you are registered with Coffey Strong and receive our regular emails, and follow us on Facebook too.

United Policyholders Roadmap to Recovery Workshop

Tuesday evening April 24th, 2018 at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 547 Mendocino Ave. in downtown Santa Rosa

Topics:

  • Negotiating successfully with your insurer
  • Resolving claim disputes informally and formally
  • Waivers, deadline extensions
  • UP Survey results summary
  • Permits and building code requirements
  • Debris removal reimbursement

Speakers:

Sandra Watts, an insurance professional with 20 years of claim adjusting experience (with State Farm)

Amy Bach, policyholder advocate

Nathan Quarles, County Rebuilding/Permit Sonoma

Steve Jensen, Santa Rosa Resilient City Permit Center

Michael Gossman, County of Sonoma, Government-sponsored debris removal program insurance reimbursement information

Coffey Strong – Construction, Rebuild Strategy and Finance Seminar
(free open to all Northbay Fire Survivors, not just Coffey Park residents-please register on Eventbrite)

April 26, 2018 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, Bayside Church (formerly known as Redwood Covenant Church) ~ 3175 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa

Coffey Strong is hosting an event that is open to all Northbay Fire Survivors. This event is to help address and provide solutions to the most current and pressing issues fire survivors face. Please help share the event info below.

Topics:

  • Overview of the rebuilding process

  • Strategies from two prior fire survivors to get control of your funds from your insurance company

  • Strategies to maximize your rebuild funds

  • Processing escrow draws and pre-liens to protect from paying twice

  • Construction Contract protection

  • Construction Lending

Speakers:

  • Matthew Grill – Coffey Strong Volunteer, Prior Fire Survivor with building and development background

  • Kunal Nagpal – Prior Fire Survivor, Current Builder, and Lender

  • Kevin Smart – Exchange Bank Residential Lending Vice President

 

Coffey Strong meeting with CA Senator Mike McGuire.

May 4, 6:00 PM, Bayside Church (formerly known as Redwood Covenant Church) ~ 3175 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa

Free 1:1 Financial Planning for Fire Survivors

The Financial Planning Assn of SF and it’s Certified Financial Planner® volunteers would like to offer FREE, no-strings attached financial planning advice to the Coffey Park Neighborhood. We know how important a good financial sounding board can be as you make financial decisions around the impact of the recent wildfires. CFP volunteers are offering one-on-one financial counseling sessions on Saturday, 3/17, from 12pm to 4pm. No business cards will be handed out. Your name will not be used for any type of marketing or sales activity. We want you to know that we are offering a safe place to get financial advice. Appointments are one hour in length. 
Click link for scheduling:https://calendly.com/fpd/santa-rosa
Saturday, April 28th, 11am-3pmSonoma Rebound, 353 College Ave
Monday, May 1st, 6-8pm, Ameriprise office, 611 Humboldt St.
Saturday, May 5th, 11am-3pm, Sonoma Rebound, 353 College Ave
Saturday, May 12th10am-2pmAmeriprise office, 611 Humboldt St.
Tuesday, May 15th, 6-8pmRidgeview Financial, 1955 Cleveland Ave, Suite 203
Saturday, May 19th, 11am-3pmSonoma Rebound, 353 College Ave
Saturday, May 26th, 11am-3pm, Ameriprise office, 611 Humboldt St
Saturday, June 2nd, 11am-3pm, Sonoma Rebound, 353 College Ave
Saturday, June 9th, 10am-2pmAmeriprise office, 611 Humboldt St

 

layered map of Coffey strong

Interactive Map of the Coffey Strong Area

Interactive Map of the Coffey Strong Area

Layers of Information

We love how much information can be layered into a map!  It can help you get the ‘big picture’ on a situation.  With that in mind, some talented volunteers at Coffey Strong, with the help of a generous donation from Esri/ArcGIS the mapping software company, have created an interactive online map with several layers of information embedded.  We will update this map on an ongoing basis.  You can always find this map on the Coffey Strong map resources page too.

Link to view the map.

On the map you can find: 

Coffey Strong Areas, Coffey Strong Block Captains, Lots that have sold, Properties registered with Coffey Strong

Trying to track down an neighbor to discuss the rebuild? if they are registered with Coffey Strong, you can ask your block captain to help you connect with them.

Have ideas about other data items we might track on a map? Let us know your suggestions!

know your boundaries

Know your boundaries – a guide to land surveying after the fires from the Sonoma County Chapter of the CA Land Surveyors Association

Know your boundaries – a guide to land surveying after the fires from the Sonoma County Chapter of the CA Land Surveyors Association

posted 3-28-2018 with content developed by the Sonoma County Chapter of the CA Land Surveyor’s Association

Coffey park neighbors who want to get started with rebuilding know that one major task involved is to have the property lines defined by a professional land surveyor.  The particulars involved in land survey work is very specific and detailed, and many of us had dozens of questions.  Many thanks to the Sonoma County Chapter of the California Land Surveyors’ Association for preparing a helpful resource for homeowners so we can better understand what a survey entails and why it matters. The following questions and answers are all from the information they provided to Coffey Strong. You can download their printer friendly version of this information here:  CLSA Fire Recovery FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Land Surveying During the Fire Recovery Process

This is intended as an informational resource for residents affected by the October wildfires.
Presented by the Sonoma County Chapter of the California Land Surveyors’ Association.

What is a professional land surveyor and why would I need one?

A Professional Land Surveyor is the only person licensed and authorized by the State of California to determine and physically locate the boundary lines of your property.

I don’t need to know exactly where my property line is. Can you just show the boundary as approximate?

Surveyors DO NOT show approximate boundary lines on maps.

What is a boundary survey?

A boundary survey is a process by which a Surveyor can determine and mark a legal description physically on the ground. This may include placing durable monuments at or near property corners or temporary wood stakes along a property line. Once completed the Land Surveyor is required to file a Record of Survey at the County recorder’s office.

On smaller sites or when development is proposed near a boundary line, the location of the boundary line must be precisely determined in order to protect the rights of you and your neighbors as well as to adhere to City or County regulations.

What is the difference between a boundary retracement and a boundary survey?

If a boundary has been previously shown on a map of record (Record of Survey, Parcel Map or Final Map), a boundary retracement may be done to locate and flag existing monuments at or near the property corners. Missing corners will not be reset.

In a boundary survey, existing corners will be found and flagged. Missing corners and/or previously unmarked corners will be set. The setting of any monuments requires filing documentation with the County. Your Surveyor will determine the appropriate documents to file based on the condition of the existing monuments found during your survey.

Lots in subdivisions are generally shown on a map of record and a boundary retracement may be performed, provided existing monuments are sufficient to retrace the filed map.

Deed described parcels that have not been previously shown on a Record of Survey will require a boundary survey to mark property lines on the ground or show them on a map.

I have an Assessor’s Parcel Map. Doesn’t that show my property line?

An Assessor’s Parcel Map (AP Map) is a useful tool but it is not a legal property map. Lines shown on AP Maps are created by the Assessor’s Office for tax purposes. They may be similar to record boundary lines but cannot be used to locate property lines.

My lot is shown on a GIS website. Can that be used to show my property lines?

Most GIS applications use digitized AP Map lines (see previous question) and are an approximation of boundary lines. GIS is an invaluable resource but cannot be used for true boundary location.

Once the survey is completed, how will I know where my property line is?

After a boundary survey is performed, your Land Surveyor will flag up existing monuments that have been found or set new durable monuments. Monuments are typically iron pipes driven in the ground with plugs stamped with their license number. Boundary surveys may require a Record of Survey map be filed with the County which will show both the found and new monuments.

If a boundary retracement is performed, existing monuments will be flagged to make them more visible. Missing corners will not be set and no Record of Survey will be filed.

What is a topographic map and why would I need one?

A topographic map, commonly referred to as a topo, shows relative elevations on a site and locates existing site features such as foundations, fences, significant trees, sidewalks, driveways, etc. A topo is used as the base mapping for architectural, civil engineering and landscape design work. Topos are used by civil engineer to design the site grading (including the building pad elevation), and to prepare an estimate of how much fill soil, if any, will need to be brought to the site to meet City or County regulations.

Are there any County fees associated with a boundary a survey?

Survey fees will vary based on many factors such as the size of the site, whether it’s been previously surveyed and whether the found lot monuments agree with those previous surveys. County fees, if required, vary depending on the type of survey being performed and may range from $17 to $694. Generally speaking, the most effective way to reduce the survey fees for parcels in a subdivision is to work together with your adjoining neighbors. There are no County fees for topographic surveys.

My architect requested the building setback lines. What are building setbacks?

Building setbacks are requirement determined by the City or County that dictate how close a new building or structure can be placed to a boundary line, waterway, well or other feature. Setback distances vary between County and City and even neighborhood. Locating a setback will most often require a boundary retracement or boundary survey.

I just need the corners of my foundation marked, how do I do that?

If your building is close to a setback to the property line you will need a boundary retracement or boundary survey to determine the location of the foundation.

What if my question isn’t answered here?

Please feel free to email additional questions to the Sonoma County Chapter of the CLSA at Secretary at [email protected] but please note, we will not be accepting requests for proposals. You may also visit us at www.sonomacountyclsa.com.