[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Chestnuthill 10-7-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-05. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Chestnuthill Township Fire Lane Ordinance."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- FIRE LANE
- A lane to provide access to fire-fighting personnel, equipment and apparatus to buildings, structures, fire hydrants or connections to automatic sprinkler or stand pipe systems, in connection with fire-fighting activities. Driveways, parking lot travel lanes, delivery lanes, and private roadways shall be permitted to be used as fire lanes if they meet the requirements of this section.
Subject to the provisions of § 46-6 of this chapter, fire lanes shall be provided for all new buildings of 2,000 square feet in area or greater, with the exception of detached one- and two-family residential dwellings.
Fire lanes may be designated:
By the Board by resolution, pursuant to recommendation of the West End Fire Company (or any successor fire company in Chestnuthill Township) Fire Chief (the "Fire Chief"), on public property which will include any highway, roadway, alleyway, driveway, parking area, pathway, cul-de-sac or any other area deemed necessary for fire protection.
By written agreement between the Board and any school board, hospital, church, property owners' association, commercial or industrial facility, shopping center or apartment complex owner, or entertainment facility owner, which controls a parking area located within Chestnuthill Township, empowering the Board to designate and enforce fire lanes on such parking area, including enforcement of the maintenance of the designated fire lanes. The agreement shall become effective and enforceable three days after it is duly executed and delivered.
By the decision of the Board or the Chestnuthill Township Zoning Hearing Board pursuant to any planned residential development approval, conditional use approval, special exception approval or the granting of a variance.
The specifications for fire lanes shall be as follows:
Fire lanes shall be constructed of a hard, all-weather surface designed to support any fire apparatus within the legal load limits of the jurisdiction.
The grade from a fire lane to the exterior wall of the grade level floor of a building shall not exceed 10%.
Fire lanes connecting to roadways shall be provided with curb cuts extending at least two feet (0.6 meters) beyond each edge of the fire lane.
Fire lanes intended for one-way travel of fire apparatus shall provide a minimum of 14 feet in width of traveled way. Fire lanes providing two-way travel of fire apparatus shall be a minimum of 24 feet in width of traveled way.
Fire lanes intended only for the unimpeded access of firefighters and equipment or for the emergency egress of building occupants shall be a minimum of 8 feet in width providing all of the following conditions are met:
One side of the fire lane directly abuts a structure or a sidewalk that directly abuts a structure; and
The other side of the fire lane directly abuts a parking lot travel lane; and
There is no physical separation such as a curb, median or other encumbrance between the fire lane and the parking lot travel lane.
The Board shall be permitted to allow a reduction in fire lane width where without such reduction a property owner would be prevented from the use or enjoyment of said property; providing the fire lane will allow for emergency access and operations and the safe egress of the public.
Fire lane widths shall not include shoulders, sidewalks, or drainage.
Extra width shall be provided where the Fire Chief determines such width is necessary to position apparatus for operations during an incident.
Turns in fire lanes shall be constructed to provide sufficient width to accommodate the largest piece of fire apparatus available to be operated on the fire lane, but in no case shall the radius to the outside curbline be less than 50 feet.
All grades in fire lanes shall meet the requirements of the Chestnuthill Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance and/or the Chestnuthill Township Zoning Ordinance, as the same may be amended from time to time.
At least 13 feet, six inches (4.2 meters), nominal vertical clearance shall be provided and maintained over the full width of a fire lane.
Any bridge in a fire lane shall be designed to support any fire apparatus within the legal load limits of Chestnuthill Township and constructed and maintained in accordance with nationally recognized standards.
Vehicle load limits shall be posted at both entrances to bridges where required by the Board.
Any bridge constructed as part of a fire lane shall provide width of no less than that required for the fire lane.
Dead-end fire lanes that exceed 300 feet in length shall be provided with an adequate turnaround at the closed end of the fire lane, as approved by the Fire Chief.
The clear opening through gates in fire lanes shall be at least two feet wider than the traveled way.
All gates at the entrance to fire lanes shall be located a minimum of 30 feet from the roadway and shall open away from the roadway, unless other provisions are made for safe personnel operation.
The Board shall have the authority to require a means of unlocking any security feature that is installed.
If needed, fire department personnel shall have ready access to any manual releases that could be required if there is an interruption of utility power.
Means shall be provided to override normal operation and allow any gate to remain open until manually closed.
Wintertime maintenance of access through any gates and along any fire lane shall be provided as necessary to maintain emergency accessibility.
Changes to access points, gates, or fire lane layout shall be approved by the Board prior to any changes being made.
Fire lanes shall be marked with signs that measure no less than 12 inches by 18 inches that read "No Parking—Fire Lane" or similar language. The lettering of such signs shall be red on a white background. Such signs shall be placed at intervals of no more than 50 feet apart or, where this is not possible, at locations designated or approved by the Fire Chief. Posting of fire lanes in accordance with any applicable requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation shall be an acceptable alternative. Additionally, curbing adjacent to the fire lane, if provided, shall be painted with yellow traffic paint and pavement comprising the fire lane shall be striped with yellow traffic paint to delineate the fire lane. Pavement shall also be marked to read "No Parking—Fire Lane." Such markings shall be placed at intervals of no more than 50 feet apart or, where this is not possible, at locations designated or approved by the Fire Chief.
All fire lanes shall also be posted as a "tow zone."
All designated fire lane signs and markings shall be maintained in a clean and legible condition at all times and replaced when necessary to ensure adequate visibility.
All required posting and marking, and maintenance of the same, shall be the responsibility of the owner of the property where located.
In cases where a fire lane is also routinely utilized as a vehicular travel lane and lane designations clearly identify such a travel lane with no provisions for parking anywhere within the travel way of the lane, the posting and marking requirements of this section may be waived by the Board. However, fire lanes meeting the requirements of § 46-4E shall not be exempt from the posting and marking requirements of this section.
Preexisting and nonconforming fire lanes created and approved prior to the adoption of this chapter shall not be required to come into compliance with the provisions of this chapter with the following exceptions:
A change of use, occupancy or ownership occurs that requires the approval of the Board;
As a result of a fire lane on the property being in nonconformance with the provisions of this chapter, the fire lane does not allow for emergency access and operations and presents a clear and present danger to the public.
When any combination of private fire protection facilities, including but not limited to fire-resistive roofs, fire separation walls, space separation and automatic fire-extinguishing systems, are provided and approved by the Fire Chief as an acceptable alternative, then fire lanes shall not be required.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
Stop or park a vehicle in a fire lane, whether the vehicle is occupied or not at the time.
Store, sell or display supplies, equipment, shopping carts, inventory, merchandise or any other items in a fire lane.
Obstruct a fire lane.
Engage in any other acts which would substantially interfere with the access of fire officials, personnel and/or fire-fighting equipment to, over, in and/or upon a fire lane.
This chapter shall be enforced by action brought before a District Justice in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. Any person, partnership, corporation or other entity who or which violates or permits a violation of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding, pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 per violation, plus all court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by Chestnuthill Township in the enforcement proceedings, and/or be imprisoned to the extent allowed by law for the punishment of summary offenses. Each day or portion thereof that a violation exists or continues shall constitute a separate violation. Each section of this chapter that is violated shall also constitute a separate violation. Further, the appropriate officers or agents of Chestnuthill Township are hereby authorized to seek equitable relief, including injunction, to enforce compliance with this chapter. All fines, penalties, costs and reasonable attorneys' fees collected for the violation of this chapter shall be paid to Chestnuthill Township for its general use.
In addition to but not in limitation of the foregoing, any motor vehicle or other obstruction within a fire lane which is designated as a "tow zone" shall be subject to removal by a towing service at the direction of the Fire Chief, Chestnuthill Township Codes Official, Chestnuthill Township Fire Marshall or other appropriate officials of Chestnuthill Township, and the owner shall be responsible for all towing and storage costs.
The Fire Chief, the Chestnuthill Township Fire Marshal, Chestnuthill Township Zoning Officer, or their designees, are hereby authorized to issue citations for the violation of this chapter. Among other methods, issuance of the citation may be effectuated by placing the same on the vehicle or other obstruction in the fire lane.