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Home remodels are booming in Santa Fe | Local News

The perfect storm of home renovations is upon us.

So many people are spending so much time at home these days that a dwelling’s imperfections become that much more apparent.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and a home sales boom in which buyers are willing to invest in long-term changes once they get the keys, Santa Fe remodeling companies are booked solid with orders.

“It’s in hyperdrive right now,” said Steve Pompei, owner of Pompei’s Home Remodeling in Santa Fe. “I am stacking jobs into next summer. My lead time is usually two to three months.”

Remodeling in Santa Fe boomed during the last recession a dozen years ago, an outgrowth of what then was a home-sales bust. Many of those builders-turned-remodelers remain in the game and say they find themselves with plenty of work in the COVID age.

“The only thing that has happened in COVID is the phone is ringing more,” said Douglas Maahs, owner of DMC, a Santa Fe-based remodeler. “More people are looking for remodel than before. People have been at home and decide, ‘We are stuck here, let’s do something.’ ”

Santa Fe resident Miles D. Conway left on a three-day trip with his son, Tilman, to look at colleges, and when they came home, his wife, Mikahla Beutler, had that grin.

“ ‘Look, no carpeting. We are remodeling the upstairs,’ ” Conway recounted, noting he was unaware that the pending remodel would start during his short absence. “It went from just putting in flooring and turned into a full upstairs remodel.”

Boni Armijo, owner of Building Adventures Unlimited in Santa Fe, had a steady diet of remodels and additions from homebuyers from Dallas, Houston and Manhattan, N.Y., until the pandemic started.

“What has changed is the clientele we are getting,” Armijo said.

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Santa Rosa posts damage map with homes destroyed in Glass Fire

The city of Santa Rosa released a preliminary damage assessment map showing homes that were damaged or destroyed within the city limits by the Glass Fire.

The map displays home addresses and uses a color-coded system to show the degree of damage, from green (structure is safe to live in) to red (structure is destroyed and unsafe for habitation). The county will continue to add to the map as more homes impacted by the conflagration are identified.

Find the map here.

Cal Fire said in its Sunday night incident update that ground crews have now identified 235 destroyed homes in Sonoma County and 252 in Napa County. An additional 73 homes have been damaged in Sonoma County and 64 in Napa County.


Cal Fire Assistant Chief Billy See said in a Sunday morning press briefing that 12 inspection teams are on the ground assessing burn areas and about half of the fire zone has been surveyed.

More than 21,600 structures remain threatened in Napa and Sonoma counties.

The Glass Fire east of Santa Rosa had grown to nearly 65,000 acres with 26% containment as of Sunday night. Crews expanded containment lines as the gusty conditions subsided and a red flag warning for critical fire weather expired. Evacuations orders were reduced to warnings for multiple communities including Kenwood, Oakmont and Calistoga.

But while the fire’s eastern zone came under control, its northern edge burned actively and a new evacuation order was issued for north Napa County bordered on the west by Highway 29 at Livermore Road, on the north by the Lake County Line and on the east by Aetna Mine Road. A warning is in effect for the southern edge of Lake County.

Critically dry fuel (grasses, trees and brush) and very warm and dry weather conditions are contributing to

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Worker electrocuted to death in Santa Paula

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Here are some key tips to avoid a fire at your home.

Authorities are investigating an incident involving a worker who died Tuesday night in Santa Paula after suffering electrocution injuries.

An employee of Mike’s Handyman Service was fatally electrocuted on the job, according to Frank Polizzi, a spokesperson for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The incident was reported at 6:37 p.m. in the 1200 block of Say Road, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. 

Fire crews arrived to find the electrocution victim who was pronounced dead at the scene.

More: 1 trapped in crash involving pickup, big rig outside Santa Paula

The contractor was performing work in the attic related to the repair of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, when he came into contact with an exposed wire, according to James Mason, the director of Community and Economic Development for the city of Santa Paula. 

“It could have happened to anyone,” Mason said. “He was up there in a dark space.”

Mason called it an unfortunate cautionary tale for contractors and homeowners. 

“Anything like this is an opportunity for lessons learned and a life saved,” Mason said. 

OSHA was notified and arrived on scene to begin investigating the incident, according to Polizzi. The process could take up to six months, by law, according to Polizzi.

Santa Paula police officers also responded to the scene. 

In 2018, 29-year-old Eduardo Sampayo Jimenez was electrocuted to death while trimming a palm tree in Camarillo.

Star reporter Joe Curley contributed to this report. 

Jeremy Childs is a breaking news and public safety reporter covering the night shift for the Ventura County Star. He can be reached by calling 805-437-0208 or emailing jeremy.childs@vcstar.com. You can also find him on Twitter @Jeremy_Childs.

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Santa Cruz County lost almost 1,000 homes to the CZU fires. Its housing crisis is now worse than ever

BOULDER CREEK, Santa Cruz County – At the top of a cul-de-sac lined with burned homes, Antonia Bradford stood before what was once her cathedral-like house, surrounded by singed redwood trees. Little was recognizable in the rubble but a charred car, a chicken coop, a butterfly-shaped chair and a bathtub.

When the CZU Lightning Complex fires ripped through the Santa Cruz Mountains six weeks ago, Bradford, her husband and five children were suddenly homeless — along with thousands of others. Her family stayed in a hotel, then with friends as they scoured for rentals, watching listings disappear and prices rise.

“It’s pretty wild, it’s pretty bad,” Bradford said. “Housing has been a huge issue in Santa Cruz County for quite some time now. Right now it’s a supply-and-demand situation and people raising prices so high it’s pushing people off the mountain.”

When lightning sparked the CZU fires in mid-August, around 60,000 people – 1 in 5 Santa Cruz County residents – evacuated. The blaze destroyed 925 homes and three multifamily residences. The fire affected some of the most affordable housing in the county, adding pressure on an already costly and competitive market amid a statewide housing crisis. With the Glass Fire raging in Wine Country, a similar dynamic might play out in the North Bay, where thousands of homes are threatened.

The sudden need for housing was worsened by the pandemic limiting shelter capacity. Complicating it further was that the county had never dealt with a fire on this scale.

Meanwhile, a government-run program booking evacuees free hotel rooms got off to a bumpy start, officials and residents said. In one case, a couple with health issues slept in a friend’s abandoned trailer before they learned about the program. In another, a nurse only got a room when she no

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Big Santa Clara housing complex and working farm get key funding

SANTA CLARA — A unique mixed-use project of affordable homes and a working farm proposed for Santa Clara has landed key financing from a state bond, clearing the way for a construction start next year, the developers said.

Agrihood, which will consist of 361 homes and an urban farm across the street from the Westfield Valley Fair mall, has obtained $50 million in tax-exempt bonds from the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, Core Cos., the developer of the Santa Clara project, said.

“Our success in securing bond financing reflects the importance of the Agrihood in providing stable, sustainable housing,” said Vince Cantore, a vice president of development with Core Cos.

The 361 new homes in Agrihood will include 181 that will be offered at below-market rates. Of the 181 affordable homes, 165 will be set aside for low-income seniors.

Along with the housing, Agrihood will also offer an urban farm, a cafe, a community room, and learning shed.

“Creating communities like Agrihood that have been intentionally designed to combine high-density living, social services, and access to healthy produce are needed now more than ever,” Cantore said.

Construction should begin in 2021, Core Cos. said.

Agrihood can also help address at least some uncertainties and health worries ushered in by the coronavirus, Core Cos. said.

“The focus on our residents’ health and wellness is incredibly important in these challenging times,” the developer said Wednesday.

Proposals had emerged as early as 2005 for affordable homes on that site, which for a number of years had been used for agricultural research by the University of California.

Neighbors, however, opposed the notion of affordable homes on the property and the outcry torpedoed the 2005 proposal.

Now, however, with a project groundbreaking in view for some time during the first three months of 2021, those

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