September 21, 2017
Thank you, Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem, and Members of Council for allowing me the opportunity to testify on this ordinance. My name is Geoffrey Tahuahua and I am here on behalf of the Real Estate Council of Austin. Together we are comprised of over 1,900 commercial real estate professionals throughout Austin and represent the premier advocacy organization for the Central Texas commercial real estate industry.
I am here today to speak against the current proposed local amendments to the International Fire Code. This is due to a key section within the Code being removed from the local amendments. That section is currently located on pages 33 and 34 of the current code as 503.2.1. What this section stipulates is that a Fire apparatus access road (i.e. a road intended to be accessed by fire/ems) shall have an unobstructed width of not less than 25 feet. This is required due to the fact that the fire trucks need the additional space to maneuver through the city streets during a fire or emergency. However, the proposed local amendments remove the allowance for some flexibility when it comes to meeting this requirement. For example if you build a road where the turning radius is still adequate for maneuvering the fire trucks or EMS vehicles as determined by the Fire Chief then the 25ft requirement can be waived. This is especially important when it comes to developments such as Mueller where the streets are narrower due to the type of dense and compact development that it is.
RECA is requesting postponement of this item to allow for stakeholders to meet with the Fire Department and Transportation Department to ascertain why the flexibility was removed and what solutions can be achieved.