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Where To Build In A State On Fire? California Housing Projects Face Growing Challenges

As California looks back on another wildfire season that razed thousands of homes and threatened thousands of lives, debate in the state has intensified over how to solve the state’s dire housing crisis as the climate grows ever more extreme.

Increasingly, environmentalists who have long opposed large-scale housing developments in the state’s wildlands are finding support in the courts.

“There’s a shift taking place,” said Char Miller, a professor of environmental analysis at Pomona College. “These developments are raising big questions about how Californians are going to live in a place that constantly burns.”

This month, a judge in northern California forced a halt to the Guenoc Valley project, a $1bn proposed development featuring luxury villas flanked by vineyards, a golf course and a polo field, which was to be built atop 16,000 acres of open ranch land, oak woodlands and untouched savannah.

The project promised to bring jobs to one of the state’s most impoverished regions. But the judge, siding with the state attorney general and environmentalists, ruled that planners failed to account for how residents and workers would escape in case of a catastrophic blaze. It didn’t help the developers’ case that just months after the project earned initial approvals, the LNU Complex fire barreled through the site – which had also burned 10 other times since the 1950s.

Read more from The Guardian here>>