Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC

DIVISION 4. FORESTS, FORESTRY AND RANGE AND FORAGE LANDS [4001 - 4958]

  ( Division 4 repealed and added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1144. )

PART 2. PROTECTION OF FOREST, RANGE AND FORAGE LANDS [4101 - 4789.7]

  ( Part 2 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1144. )

CHAPTER 1.5. State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fees [4210 - 4229]

  ( Chapter 1.5 added by Stats. 2011, 1st Ex. Sess., Ch. 8, Sec. 1. )

ARTICLE 1. General Provisions [4210 - 4214]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 2011, 1st Ex. Sess., Ch. 8, Sec. 1. )

4210.
  

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Fire protection of the public trust resources on lands in the state responsibility areas remains a vital interest to California. Lands that are covered in whole or in part by a diverse plant community prevent excessive erosion, retard runoff, reduce sedimentation, and accelerate water percolation to assist in the maintenance of critical sources of water for environmental, irrigation, domestic, or industrial uses.

(b) The presence of structures within state responsibility areas can pose an increased risk of fire ignition and an increased potential for fire damage within the state’s wildlands and watersheds. The presence of structures within state responsibility areas can also impair wild land firefighting techniques and could result in greater damage to state lands caused by wildfires.

(c) The costs of fire prevention activities aimed at reducing the effects of structures in state responsibility areas should be borne by the owners of these structures.

(d) Individual owners of structures within state responsibility areas receive a disproportionately larger benefit from fire prevention activities than that realized by the state’s citizens generally.

(e) It is the intent of the Legislature that the economic burden of fire prevention activities that are associated with structures in state responsibility areas shall be equitably distributed among the citizens of the state who generally benefit from those activities and those owners of structures in the state responsibility areas who receive a specific benefit other than that general benefit.

(f) It is necessary to impose a fire prevention fee to pay for fire prevention activities in the state responsibility areas that specifically benefit owners of structures in the state responsibility areas.

(Added by Stats. 2011, 1st Ex. Sess., Ch. 8, Sec. 1. Effective July 8, 2011. Repealed as of January 1, 2031, pursuant to Section 4229.)

4211.
  

For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(a) “Habitable Structure” means a building that contains one or more dwelling units or that can be occupied for residential use. Buildings occupied for residential use include single family homes, multidwelling structures, mobile and manufactured homes, and condominiums. Habitable structures do not include commercial, industrial, or incidental buildings such as detached garages, barns, outdoor sanitation facilities, and sheds.

(b) “State responsibility area” means state responsibility area as defined in Section 4102.

(c) “Person” means an individual, trust, joint stock company, business concern, or corporation, including, but not limited to, a government corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or association. “Person” also includes any city, county, city and county, district, commission, the state or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof, any interstate body, and the United States and its agencies and instrumentalities to the extent permitted by law.

(d) “Owner of a habitable structure” means the person that is the owner of record of a habitable structure in the county tax assessor rolls or as recorded in the records of the Department of Housing and Community Development on July 1 of the state fiscal year for which the fee is due.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 895, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2015. Repealed as of January 1, 2031, pursuant to Section 4229.)

4212.
  

(a) (1) By September 1, 2011, the board shall adopt emergency regulations to establish a fire prevention fee for the purposes of this chapter in an amount not to exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150) to be charged on each habitable structure on a parcel that is within a state responsibility area.

(2) The Legislature finds and declares that a fire prevention fee of not more than one hundred fifty dollars ($150) is a reasonable amount for the necessary fire prevention activities of the state that benefit the owner of a habitable structure within a state responsibility area.

(b) On July 1, 2013, and annually thereafter, the board may adjust the fire prevention fees imposed pursuant to this chapter to reflect the percentage of change in the average annual value of the Implicit Price Deflator for State and Local Government Purchases of Goods and Services for the United States, as calculated by the United States Department of Commerce for the 12-month period in the third quarter of the prior calendar year, as reported by the Department of Finance.

(c) Emergency regulations adopted pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be adopted in accordance with the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code). The adoption of emergency regulations shall be deemed an emergency and necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety, or general welfare.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 895, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2015. Repealed as of January 1, 2031, pursuant to Section 4229.)

4213.
  

(a) (1) Commencing with the 2011–12 fiscal year, the fire prevention fee imposed pursuant to Section 4212 shall be collected annually by the State Board of Equalization in accordance with the Fee Collection Procedures Law (Part 30 (commencing with Section 55001) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code).

(2) Notwithstanding the appeal provisions in the Fee Collection Procedures Law, a determination by the department that a person is required to pay a fire prevention fee, or a determination by the department regarding the amount of that fee, is subject to review under Article 2 (commencing with Section 4220) and is not subject to a petition for redetermination by the State Board of Equalization.

(3) (A) Notwithstanding the refund provisions in the Fee Collection Procedures Law, the State Board of Equalization shall not accept any claim for refund that is based on the assertion that a determination by the department improperly or erroneously calculated the amount of the fire prevention fee, or incorrectly determined that the person is subject to that fee, unless that determination has been set aside by the department or a court reviewing the determination of the department.

(B) If it is determined by the department or a reviewing court that a person is entitled to a refund of all or part of the fire prevention fee, the person shall make a claim to the State Board of Equalization pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 55221) of Part 30 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

(b) The annual fire prevention fee shall be due and payable 30 days from the date of assessment by the State Board of Equalization.

(c)  On or before each January 1, the department shall annually transmit to the State Board of Equalization the appropriate name and address of each person who is liable for the fire prevention fee and the amount of the fee to be assessed, as authorized by this article, and at the same time the department shall provide to the State Board of Equalization a contact telephone number for the board to be printed on the bill to respond to questions about the fee.

(d) Commencing with the 2012–13 fiscal year, if in any given fiscal year there are sufficient amounts of money in the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund created pursuant to Section 4214 to finance the costs of the programs under subdivision (d) of Section 4214 for that fiscal year, the fee may not be collected that fiscal year.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 895, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2015. Repealed as of January 1, 2031, pursuant to Section 4229.)

4213.05.
  

(a) Commencing with the 2017–18 fiscal year, the fire prevention fee imposed pursuant to Section 4212 shall be suspended, effective July 1, 2017. Any moneys held in reserve in the State Responsibility Area Fire Responsibility Fund shall be appropriated by the Legislature in a manner consistent with subdivision (d) of Section 4214.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that moneys derived from the auction or sale of allowances pursuant to a market-based compliance mechanism established pursuant to Division 25.5 (commencing with Section 38500) of the Health and Safety Code shall be used to replace the moneys that would have otherwise been collected under Section 4212 to continue fire prevention activities.

(c) This section shall become inoperative on January 1, 2031.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 135, Sec. 14. Effective July 25, 2017. Inoperative January 1, 2031, by its own provisions. Repealed as of January 1, 2031, pursuant to Section 4229.)

4213.1.
  

(a) (1) The fire prevention fee imposed pursuant to Section 4212 shall be levied upon the owner of a habitable structure identified by the department as located within the state responsibility area, if that person owns the habitable structure on July 1 of the year for which the fee is due.

(2) The department shall notify an owner, upon whom a fire prevention fee is imposed pursuant to Section 4212, through the fee billing process that if the owner sells the habitable structure or structures, the apportionment of the fire prevention fee may be negotiated as one of the terms of the sale. However, payment of the total fire prevention fee liability remains the responsibility of the person who owns the habitable structure on July 1 of the year for which the fee is due.

(b) The board may exempt from the fire prevention fee any habitable structure that is subsequently deemed uninhabitable as a result of a natural disaster during the year for which the fee is due, as well as one subsequent year if the habitable structure has not been repaired or rebuilt. The board shall consider granting an exemption only if both of the following conditions are met:

(1) The owner of the habitable structure certifies that the structure is not habitable as a result of a natural disaster.

(2) The owner of the habitable structure either documents that the habitable structure passed a defensible space inspection conducted by the department or by one of its agents within one year of the date the structure was damaged or destroyed or certifies that clearance as required under Section 4291 was in place at the time that the structure was damaged or destroyed as a result of a natural disaster.

(c) The board shall prepare forms for purposes of the certification requirements in subdivision (b).

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 104, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2016. Repealed as of January 1, 2031, pursuant to Section 4229.)

4213.2.
  

If an owner of a property with one or more habitable structures subject to the fire prevention fee imposed pursuant to Section 4212 sells the property, the apportionment of the fire prevention fee may be negotiated as one of the terms of the sale. However, payment of the total fire prevention fee liability remains the responsibility of the person who owns the habitable structure on July 1 of the year for which the fee is due.

(Added by Stats. 2015, Ch. 104, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2016. Repealed as of January 1, 2031, pursuant to Section 4229.)

4214.
  

(a) Fire prevention fees collected pursuant to this chapter shall be expended, upon appropriation by the Legislature, as follows:

(1) The State Board of Equalization shall retain moneys necessary for the payment of refunds pursuant to Section 4228 and reimbursement of the State Board of Equalization for expenses incurred in the collection of the fee.

(2) The moneys collected, other than those retained by the State Board of Equalization pursuant to paragraph (1), shall be deposited into the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury, and shall be available to the board and the department to expend for fire prevention activities specified in subdivision (d) that benefit the owners of habitable structures within a state responsibility area who are required to pay the fire prevention fee. The amount expended to benefit the owners of habitable structures within a state responsibility area shall be commensurate with the amount collected from the owners within that state responsibility area. All moneys in excess of the costs of administration of the board and the department shall be expended only for fire prevention activities in counties with state responsibility areas.

(b) (1) The fund may also be used to cover the costs of administering this chapter.

(2) The fund shall cover all startup costs incurred over a period not to exceed two years.

(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that the moneys in this fund be fully appropriated to the board and the department each year in order to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.

(d) Moneys in the fund shall be used only for the following fire prevention activities, which shall benefit owners of habitable structures within the state responsibility areas who are required to pay the annual fire prevention fee pursuant to this chapter:

(1) Local assistance grants pursuant to subdivision (e).

(2) Grants to Fire Safe Councils, the California Conservation Corps, or certified local conservation corps for fire prevention projects and activities in the state responsibility areas.

(3) Grants to a qualified nonprofit organization with a demonstrated ability to satisfactorily plan, implement, and complete a fire prevention project applicable to the state responsibility areas. The department may establish other qualifying criteria.

(4) Inspections by the department for compliance with defensible space requirements around habitable structures in state responsibility areas as required by Section 4291.

(5) Public education to reduce fire risk in the state responsibility areas.

(6) Fire severity and fire hazard mapping by the department in the state responsibility areas.

(7) Other fire prevention projects in the state responsibility areas, authorized by the board.

(e) (1) The board shall establish a local assistance grant program for fire prevention activities designed to benefit habitable structures within state responsibility areas, including public education, that are provided by counties and other local agencies, including special districts, with state responsibility areas within their jurisdictions.

(2) In order to ensure an equitable distribution of funds, the amount of each grant shall be based on the number of habitable structures in state responsibility areas for which the applicant is legally responsible and the amount of moneys made available in the annual Budget Act for this local assistance grant program.

(f) By January 31, 2015, and annually thereafter, the board shall submit to the Legislature a written report on the status and uses of the fund pursuant to this chapter. The written report shall also include an evaluation of the benefits received by counties based on the number of habitable structures in state responsibility areas within their jurisdictions, the effectiveness of the board’s grant programs, the number of defensible space inspections in the reporting period, the degree of compliance with defensible space requirements, measures to increase compliance, if any, and any recommendations to the Legislature.

(g) (1) The requirement for submitting a report imposed under subdivision (f) is inoperative on January 31, 2017, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.

(2) A report to be submitted pursuant to subdivision (f) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(h) It is essential that this article be implemented without delay. To permit timely implementation, the department may contract for services related to the establishment of the fire prevention fee collection process. For this purpose only, and for a period not to exceed 24 months, the provisions of the Public Contract Code or any other provision of law related to public contracting shall not apply.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 895, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2015. Repealed as of January 1, 2031, pursuant to Section 4229.)

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC1