Site Planning

Why Secondary And Emergency Vehicle Access?

At the beginning of the site planning process, a competent land planner will be evaluating how many vehicular access points are needed and where they might be located.  The size of the project and the local jurisdiction codes will normally be the determining factors as to how a site plan is designed.  I have seen some properties that have significant limitations because a logical secondary or emergency vehicle access could not be created in the plan.

A secondary access is typically meant to be an open ingress and egress for all of the community residents.  If you had 100 homes in a community, the local jurisdiction may not allow only one access point for all these residents.  And even as a savvy developer or homebuilder, you might want to provide more access points that can make your homes more marketable.  In smaller developments of say 20 homes, one access point may be satisfactory to both the local jurisdiction and your market.

An emergency vehicle access (EVA) tends to be more related to the fire department having adequate access to the community in the event of a fire or emergency.  Even in small communities, the fire department might want an alternative access point in the event the main access is blocked off for some reason.  This EVA can often be closed off to the residents by a swing gate but can be available to the emergency vehicles whenever needed.  I have also seen an EVA in site designs to avoid a cul-de-sac turnaround for the fire trucks, which could help with the site plan and density.

Your land planner should have the knowledge of the local jurisdiction to understand the requirements and it will possibly be a topic of discussion in an early meeting with the city planning department.

Please share with us below any of your comment and questions.

John Kaye has over 30 years experience within the land development and homebuilding industries, having held senior management positions with The Irvine Company, Koll Real Estate Group, and Brookfield Homes. As a developer, John has overseen the land acquisition, entitlements, and development of master planned communities, residential tracts, urban infill sites, and land assemblages. His experience and skill sets include land acquisition, land brokerage, project management, market analysis, finance, and strategic planning.

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