Here’s a somewhat unusual issue to come up in the big box hearing. The Friends of Placer County Communities, which has been fighting big box sprawl in the Auburn, California area, has put out a release about their latest confrontation with Home Depot. “The FPCC is notifying the people of Placer County that the Planning Commission is about to take an action that is potentially illegal because it could endanger the health and safety of county citizens. We have learned that the Planning Commission has been asked by the County to bring the Home Depot project forward for approval of the Conditional Use Permit and Certification of the Environmental Impact Review. But the public has not been told that there is insufficient WATER FLOW for fire protection on this project. Our quiet investigation that started on April 13, 2006 has shown us that this is indeed, the situation. There can be no project approval without the proper water source being fully in place. We asked the Placer County Water Authority for a copy of their “will-serve” letter and only got two letters from 2001 and 2005 that clearly stated that the WATER FLOW for fire protection could not be provided by PCWA. The 8-9-2005 letter said: “The Agency does not reserve water for prospective customers and this letter in no way confers any right or entitlement to receive water service in the future.” FPCC contacted the Consolidated Fire Department, and they confirmed that the PCWA does not have sufficient water supply with the current services to provide the fire protection pressure and water necessary. The NID does have water nearby, so some negotiations have taken place to try to get the two of them to work together, but these are apparently not very far along. The fact that the County was trying to push this through without having completed all the necessary work to assure the health and safety of the people of the area is an extremely serious matter. The decision makers in their quest for money cannot put people in jeopardy. Human health and safety cannot be traded out for anything. Our quest to get to the bottom led to sending an urgent fax to Nevada Irrigation
District on 4-14 for a copy of their “will serve” letter to provide that huge amount
of water for fire protection but their certified response arrived Saturday and could not be picked up until yesterday. The two NID letters were no more forthcoming than the PCWA letters in terms of the FIRE FLOW matter being solved, unless of course, they did not send to us all requested correspondence. The 10-5-05 NID letter did discuss both agencies providing the water, but cited many problems to be solved. However, the water service NID cited in that letter was for the Justice Center, not for the Home Depot site, and even then — all they could provide was 1,450 gpm (gallons per minute) and a very reliable consultant calculated a minimum of 3,500 gpm FIRE FLOW water needed. It was reported to us that negotiations are ongoing. There have been fires in Home Depot stores in Georgia, Mass., Arizona, California and elsewhere, some costing in the hundreds of millions. Home Depots are a giant repository for liquid and solid flammables, corrosives, oxidizers, and other hazardous materials. Certainly Home Depot does not want any fires, but they still have people and people do make mistakes. We found 12 articles, some of them 6 to 8 pages long on the dangers of horrible fires in big box stores. This and much more will be put into the record. Do we want a potential bomb in the highly populated DeWitt Center? Especially without fire protection? The FPCC will have a well-qualified fire control expert present to testify about this matter, and that alone will force this process to go into considerably more
in-depth investigation as to whether or not this mega monster store should be located in DeWitt.
For examples of serious fires at Home Depots and Lowe’s contact [email protected]