Re: drivable emergency access. was RE: "Cohousing Overlay" asZoning Regulation
From: Richart Keller (
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2011 07:10:35 -0700 (PDT)
The grass pavers are an excellent idea--wasn't thinking of that.  

My concern was that the way would be blanketed with asphalt but you are
right about providing room for offloading etc.  The pavers would also serve
to prevent planting trees too close to the emergency access.   The 20' width
would also be a way of keeping at least part of the way open for walking,
bicycling, etc when being used during the day for deliveries, workers,
etc.--we have discussed constructing occasional parallel pulloffs for same
although these parking spaces will feel like they are encroaching on lawns
and other open space and won't be as convenient for their temporary uses.
Using the grass pavers for the pulloffs would help though.

Thanks for pointing that out.

Richart Keller, AICP
Pioneer Valley Cohousing
120 Pulpit Hill Road #25
Amherst, MA 01002
401 486-2677 (cell)


-----Original Message-----
From: Kay Argyle [mailto:Kay.Argyle [at]] 
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2011 5:52 PM
To: 'Cohousing-L'
Subject: [C-L]_ drivable emergency access. was RE: "Cohousing Overlay"
asZoning Regulation

"Seems to me that 20' is much too wide though the curves should accommodate
reasonably anticipated emergency vehicles."

Our drivable emergency access was required to be 20 feet wide. Salt Lake's
fire trucks are mostly modestly sized, but it would still be a tight fit
(luckily we've never had to find out).

Keep in mind you need room not merely for a truck to squeeze through, but
for the firefighters to offload equipment from its sides. 

Also keep in mind that your residents, like ours, will probably insist,
despite your landscape committee's best efforts to discourage it, on
planting trees right at the edge of the emergency access, so the passable
area will end up much narrower. We limb up the shade trees (which creates a
different problem, liontailing), but the fruit trees and ornamentals will
never get big enough to let a truck pass under them.

It has a sidewalk more-or-less in the middle, originally four feet but
widened with brick paving to six when we found the sidewalk wasn't really
adequate for two people to walk side-by-side talking. The remaining width
has either brick pavers or grass pavers on top of roadbase. The grass pavers
are where the buildings are closest across the path, to avoid nearly
wall-to-wall pavement; planted, they look like normal lawn or groundcover.

Wasatch Commons


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