Mountain community residents have been bearing the brunt of the historic winter storms that have pummeled the area over the last three weeks, but now they may be able to feel a small sense of relief. 

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to waive up to $5,000 in plan review and permit fees for property owners looking to repair or rebuild structures that were damaged by the record snowfall. 

The waiver is available for each structure and will be funded by $500,000 of the $10 million emergency response fund created by the Board on March 1. 

“This waiver is important for the recovery of our mountain communities,” said Board of Supervisors Chair and Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe, whose jurisdiction was hit the hardest by the storms. “As our businesses and residents rebuild, we need to ensure that we eliminate as many additional burdens as possible.” 

The threat of inclement weather is not over yet, as more rain is expected in the area through Wednesday night, which may create a fast stream of stormwater runoff capable of damaging drain systems. Residents are instructed to utilize sandbags and ensure their gutters and downspouts are clear of any debris.

Many local homes and businesses have been heavily damaged by the weight of the past storms’ snowfall accumulation, which exceeded what most structures were designed to withstand. 

County inspectors have red-tagged 29 structures as too damaged to be inhabited and have yellow-tagged another 27 structures for limited occupancy, the Board said in a press release. 

San Bernardino County Public Works crews prepare the ground to ensure the safe flow of storm waters. (San Bernardino County)

The San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department has created a Storm Response Team that focuses on supporting locals in the repair and rebuilding of damaged structures and plans on expediting the plan review and permit process to help speed up recovery efforts. 

In addition to the rebuilding waivers, other relief efforts being operated by the county include:  

– Five Commodity Points of Distribution to provide mountain residents with free food, water and other necessary supplies.
– A donations program to channel relief from donors ranging from national corporations to individuals.
– A prescription delivery program that ensures prescribed medications reach mountain residents who cannot travel to a pharmacy.
– A snow removal reimbursement program that reimburses residents and businesses up to $500 for the cost of hiring a professional to remove snow from their properties.

Visit the San Bernardino County snow information website for more details or contact the storm response call center at 909-387-3911, which is open every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

If your home or business has sustained moderate to severe damage, you can report it here.