There’s more to the proposed road near San Joaquin Villas (SJV) than was fully vetted at the July 6 Town Council meeting. Community Development Director Mark Wardlaw failed to mention that since East Bear Lake Drive is more than 1,500 feet long, according to fire code it must have a second way out for emergency vehicles if more units are developed in that area of town.
Currently the emergency vehicle connection from East Bear Lake to SJV is a fire lane in the complex’s parking lot, but that fire lane was never meant to act as a thoroughfare, according to Fire Marshal Thom Heller.
“The parking lot is not wide enough, plus you can’t have vehicles parked and other vehicles driving through,” Heller explained. “There are a lot of inherent problems [with the fire lane].”
A substantial amount of units are on the books to eventually go in at East Bear Lake, and have been under discussion for years, according to Heller. “We’ve been doing all of our planning around the subdivisions that are eventually expected to come online.”
“I don’t want the fire department to now be the bad guy that doesn’t allow the homeowners at San Joaquin Villas to have what they want,” Heller continued. “Planning alternatives is going to make the fire department the scapegoat. This needs more discussion so that we can work with everyone for the least amount of disturbance.”
Heller also pointed out that if the Town wants to scrap all the development plans for that area then there is no need for the road.
“We don’t have to connect, we just can’t build,” he said.
The two options on July 6 were to turn left at the end of East Bear Lake and connect it to Minaret Road by blazing a trail behind the B Building of SJV, or to turn right and connect to Callahan behind the D and E buildings. The space between SJV and the golf course between East Bear Lake and Callahan seems much too narrow to those who have looked at it to be an option, so it looks like if a road must be put it, it would most likely go up behind the B Building.
Heller had an initial conversation with Wardlaw on July 7 to remind him of the second exit requirement but had not received any further information from the Town as of press time this week. The item has been pushed off until Council’s Aug. 3 meeting.