By Polly Keary, Editor
It’s a bottleneck that doesn’t need to get any tighter.
That’s what many residents of the Roosevelt Ridge neighborhood are telling the Monroe Planning Commission as the city considers the possibility of allowing more development in their area.
Currently there is only one road in and out of Roosevelt Ridge. That road accesses 210 homes. Residents fear that the city may approve 70 or more homes on an adjacent piece of land, and that the city will allow the developer to use the Foothills development as access, as the developer has proposed.
As it is, the development falls considerably short of international safety standards, said Geoffrey Thomas, a former Monroe City Councilman who lives in the Foothills.
“Our concern is that the international fire code requires that developments of over 30 houses be served by more than one point of ingress and egress,” he said. “The Foothills has only one way in and out for 210 houses, seven times the number of houses that international fire code allows.”
There are two conditions that exempt developments from those guidelines, and the Foothills has both. The homes are built with fire sprinklers installed, and there are two road stubs that terminate at the boundary of the development.
But Thomas and others don’t believe the sprinklers sufficiently offset the sheer number of houses using the one road, and as for the stubs, they say there isn’t any evidence the city will ever do anything with them.
“There are two road stubs that have been there 15 years with no connection,” said Thomas. “I think they were installed 15 years ago to satisfy an exception. I will point out for 15 years they have failed to make a connection, and a fire sprinkler doesn’t deal with if a water main breaks or a gas line explodes. If there is an emergency in our division near the entrance, it will require a helicopter.”
The residents, on whose behalf the board of directors of the homeowners’ association wrote a letter to the city last week, want the city to require the developer who is planning Bear Mountain Estates, a 70-home development next to the Foothills, to create a separate access road for the new properties.
“The board asserts that the currently proposed access presents an adverse environmental impact to the Foothills community as it exacerbates an existing public safety deficiency due to the number of existing homes served from Foothills Road/Boulevard,” reads the letter.
The Monroe Planning Commission will review the matter at the regular Dec. 10 meeting at City Hall.