OVA Moves Toward Sweeping Fire Safety Regulations

Last Updated: 04-22-20

Al Haggerty

            The Oakmont Village Association took the first step toward adopting defensible space fire inspections of Oakmont properties, which would include entering a resident’s property and assessing the property’s potential fire hazards and providing recommended measures fore defensible space, at the April 21 board meeting.

            Kevin Hubred, association general manager, said OVA’s counsel has advised that the association has not only the authority but the duty to go onto residents’ properties to assure compliance. The meeting was live-streamed from the directors’ homes.

            A resolution, approved unanimously, calls for the proposed Defensible Space Fire Inspections and Regulations to be sent to all property owners and posted in common areas for 28 days prior to their approval at the May 19 board meeting.

            The resolution calls for annual defensible space inspections of properties within the Oakmont Village Association “to reduce the risk of wildfire.” It provides for an annual budget of $20,000 to $50,000 to hire inspectors.

            The rules and regulations list 13 separate requirements, including removing all combustible materials from beneath decks, stairways and roof overhangs; removing all leaves and pine needles from roofs and rain gutters, and removing combustible branch piles, scrap lumber and woody materials from residential properties.

            In addition, it is recommended that all trees be limbed to a minimum of six feet from the ground, not to exceed one-third of the tree height, and limbs within 10 feet of the roof and chimney must be removed. And it is recommended that a five-foot defensible space be maintained around the perimeter of any structure.

            Inspectors will allow 30 days or more for correction of any hazard, based on an individual case basis. If the correction does not occur within the prescribed time, a hearing may be conducted and a fine assessed.

CENTRAL AREA FUTURE

            Noting “community desire” for changes to the central area of Oakmont, the board unanimously approved spending up to $30,000 “to develop high-level, credible data for possible changes to the central Oakmont complex,” which includes Berger Center and the Central Activities Center.

            This project will include further consultation with the Long Range Planning Committee, the Building Construction Committee, OVA staff and others to provide input and guidance in developing potential alternatives. There will be outreach through the Oakmont Community Development Committee to assess interest and possible cooperation with businesses and other organizations that operate in or near central Oakmont.

            While the target date for a decision on the future of the central complex is “possibly late 2020,” it was acknowledged that the coronavirus lockdown could alter the schedule.

EMERGENCY POWER, EGRESS

            The board amended a March 17 resolution with the result that it will spend up to $200,000 to purchase and install two generators, one at the OVA office and one at the Central Activities Center, which will power Berger Center and any foreseeable expansion in the area. The March 17 resolution called for the purchase of two generators, one each at the OVA office and the East Recreation Center, and leasing a generator at the CAC. Analysis determined that buying the CAC generator was more cost effective than leasing. The East ERC generator was put off for a year because of complications, including the cost.

            Hugh Helm, reporting for the Oakmont Community Development Committee, said OCDC is studying four possible points of egress to provide alternatives for leaving Oakmont in the case of emergency. Two possibilities would provide access either to Melita Road or Montgomery Drive.  Since the others would open onto Highway 12, which would be no better than egress by way of Oakmont Drive or Pythian Road, they’re not likely to be pursued.