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City Postpones Fire Map Vote, Again

For the second time, the Mission Viejo City Council voted Monday night to wait before adopting state-mandated fire maps.

The City Council has again postponed a vote to approve state-mandated fire maps that place thousands of Mission Viejo homes within a new "very high fire hazard" zone.

About 100 residents showed up Monday night to sound off about the new maps. Homeowners fear the maps will raise insurance rates and decrease the value of their homes.

Most of the homes affected sit on the city's eastern border, north of the 241 toll road or near El Toro Road.

Resident Joe Holtzman compared the law to British oppression prior to the Revolutionary War.

"You don't want this law," he said.

He said the state's methods of deciding what neighborhoods and buildings go on the new maps was kept secret.

"When you try to look into their models, they're proprietary--they won't share them with you," he said.

Rather than reject or accept the maps, Councilwomen Rhonda Reardon, Trish Kelley and Cathy Schlicht agreed to give city staff more time to find an alternative plan.

Kelley specifically asked staff to discuss the matter with the Orange County Fire Authority.

One proposal was to give the zone a new name, like a "special fire protection zone" or "building code zone."

Reardon also asked the OCFA for a list of fire-resistant trees and shrubs.

Councilmen Dave Leckness and Frank Ury recused themselves from the vote because their homes are in or near the fire zones.

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