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Homeowners Angry As Rebuild Of Homes Lost To CZU Complex Fire Delayed By Santa Cruz County Rules

SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) -- Dozens of homeowners whose houses were destroyed in the CZU wildfire accused Santa Cruz County officials of making it nearly impossible for them to rebuild Tuesday when the Board of Supervisors heard updates on the situation.

The fact that we're a year out and haven't broken ground isn't shocking. The fact that we're not even close to breaking ground or having our permits approved and that we're stuck in limbo is what's so surprising," says Boulder Creek resident Jessica Bready.

Bready says her family and other homeowners have been struggling with red tape and onerous requirements for more than a year after the devastating fire. A grove of charred Redwoods stand guard over the empty lot where Bready's home once stood.

"We definitely feel like we're being punished because our house burned down which is obviously something we had no control over," she said.

Dozens of homeowners packed the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors meeting to voice their frustration with the rebuilding process.

The county commissioned a geological study of the burn zone and found an increased risk of land and mudslides. County Supervisors were considering a policy in which the results of the study would be recorded in the title of fire victims' rebuilt homes.

"My home was built in 1939 and survived several natural disasters," says Tracy Walker, whose home was destroyed in the fire.

Walker says the policy, which does not apply to homes spared by the fire, is unfair and will affect fire victims' ability to get insurance and sell their homes in the future.

"It's ridiculous. They promised that they would help us in every way they possibly could. They were going to do everything they could. They were going to streamline the process. but nothing has been streamlined," she said.

County supervisors says they're doing their best to help homeowners rebuild but can't ignore known hazards. They did, however, agree to go back to drawing board to see if they can't come up with a better and more fair policy.

"We have a duty to help people get back home as soon as possible. We've brought in an outside permitting firm. We are trying to streamline the process," says Supervisor Ryan Coonerty.

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