12.21.2006

A Solar Home vs. the Fire Department

A Solar Home vs. the Fire Department







This is the model of the home we're hoping to build this year, once we've finished playing whack-a-mole with the fine folks down at the county. The video, created by our architects at A r k i n T i l t at the PGyE Heliodon, demonstrates what kind of sunlight we'll have in our yard over the course of a typical Spring equinox day. This helps them fine-tune our rooftop solar hot water and electricity arrays, as well as the passive lighting and heating/cooling inside the house.

We thought we were getting close to contsruction-land, or at least design-review-land. The latter is the public meeting at which some more fine folks from the county get together and tell us that they don't like our eco- and neighbor-friendly house design and that we need to revise it to incorporate stacked slate rock facing, wooden shingly exterior siding, and those fucking copper pyramid fence post toppers.

This morning I had what we imagined was my one last meeting with the local CDF (county fire) folks to get their sign-off on the project. But then, lo! Look what he had to say via my meeting notes, below! It may be months, yet again, before we get to go for design review. This would be more irritating if I wasn't so overwhelmed that I currently care about very little beyond Jo's health and whether or not my kids remember to wear shoes when they go to school each morning.

Hi, Architects who thought we were submitting our final docs for design review tomorrow! Here are some Notes From On-Site Meeting With CS, Fire Dept Guy!



The good news is that CS thinks our project should be a "slam dunk." He doesn't see any problems with it, provided we follow his suggested guidelines. He ran the project by his boss as well, who agrees that the project is very doable from their perspective.

The bad news is that we need to modify our plans to include an extension of the hydrant line, and a new hydrant within our property, as our house is more than 250 ft (~350 ft) from the nearest hydrant. We also need to widen the bottom half of the driveway to 12'. We can't go for design review until our plans have been both modified accordingly and then reviewed and approved by either CS or his boss, both of whom are quite backlogged with the retirement of the Sexist Bastard/FIre Marshall and the acquiring of another district to manage. Expect delays, he said.

Here are the specifics:

-We need to extend the hydrant line, as with the current distance and in the case of a fire only one truck will be able to assist us--and because of the distance limitations, it will be stuck in the driveway, blocking any other emergency vehicles. This is rather chilling news for those of us who actually live in this house.

-He recommended that we remove the pillars flanking the driveway halfway up and place a hydrant there. We'll need to contact CS or his boss for specific hydrant requirements/dimensions.

-If we extend the hydrant line, then there will be no problem having a 12' wide driveway instead of a 20' one. The 20' requirements are so that trucks can pass each other in the driveway. The hydrant extension will "mitigate the driveway width requirements."

-We need to widen the lower half of the driveway to 12'. Right now it is 10' 6" at the pillars. Shouldn't be an engineering problem on the northern neighbor's side, but we'll need to check the survey to determine exact property lines.

-Apparently the Will Serve letter I extracted from Deadwood City Water only guarantees meter service, not water service. Once we've planned for the hydrant extension, I'll need to get another letter from Deadwood City Water guaranteeing not only meter service but water delivery. However this means we won't need to arrange the separate meeting with CDF and Deadwood City Water to determine hydrant flow, so we'll save $171 there...

-Please make sure the parking spaces are removed from the fire truck turnaround.

-Fire resistant siding is highly recommended in this high-risk fire area, especially as our house's location is in the path of least resistance should a firestorm erupt in WoodEdge Preserve. If our planned siding is fire resistant then we should indicate that.

Please call or write if you have any additional questions.

Ho ho oh bloody hell,

Squid

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