On October 14, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a fire code for its unincorporated areas that would require new building projects to include a second point of entry to be used as an escape route and/or for firefighting access.
The consolidated fire code impacts the 16 fire protection districts that serve unincorporated areas in the county, such as Fallbrook, Pala, De Luz and Rainbow. The code adjusts a number of provisions to bring these areas in line with state regulations.
According to Department of Planning and Land Use representative Jeff Murphy, if a development is being planned on a dead-end road, county inspectors will decide what is needed within the development.
“It’s a matter of what is surrounding the parcel and how quickly firefighters could arrive on scene,” explained Murphy. “If a parcel is surrounded by open land or agriculture, we will work with the applicants to find a solution for the development. There is no set solution for the parcels.”
The secondary access provision has held up more than 100 permits for private building projects that were proposed while the new rules were being developed.
County officials said most of the issues have been resolved but about 30 homeowners might appeal their permit denials to the Board of Supervisors.
Adoption of the new code was held up last month by disagreement of the makeup of an appeals board that will preside over such disputes.
“We have a better fire code before us than what we have right now,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, board president.
“We want to provide an option for safe civilian evacuation,” added Murphy.