30 Hackamore Lane, Suite # 8

Bell Canyon, CA 91307

Office : 818-346-9879 Fax: 818-883-8490

The Architectural Committee has been asked to provide an opinion regarding the use of railroad ties for everything from small garden retaining walls, garden and lawn edging, and hillside or transition steps, including those pathways and steps not requiring a permit from the County of Ventura. 

The Architectural Committee strongly discourages the use of any chemically treated wood commonly referred to as "Railroad Ties" on any property in Bell Canyon for any use due to the HIGH FLAMMABILITY and TOXIC NATURE of these once commonly used, cheap timbers.  Please click on the link below for the Material Data Sheet listing creosote, one of the chemicals present in railroad ties, as a carcinogen.  Likewise, attached is the EPA Statement on the use of railroad ties and their classification as HAZARDOUS MATERIALS.  The toxicity is of special concern around small children, pets, and any edible gardening due to the chemicals that are said to leach from these railroad ties into the adjacent soil and could make their way into the food you eat.

We experienced first-hand many instances of these garden items adding to or even being the cause of several fires spreading or igniting as "spot fires" during the Woolsey Fire event in November 2018. 

As an alternative, there are concrete railroad ties available.  There are also "Pre-Cast" concrete products made for various use (steps, garden borders, raised vegetable garden beds, etc.) that can be used as an alternative to wood railroad ties.  Please check the Internet for availability and speak with your local suppliers for these alternatives.

Again, we strongly suggest that you do not use wood railroad ties in any application in Bell Canyon for your own and your neighbors’ sake.

Bell Canyon Association
Architectural Committee