Fire Safe Council voices concerns

Predicted gridlock at the intersection of Avenue of Nations and Pomerado Road is a concern in case there is need for an evacuation for a disaster such as a wildfire. (photo by Laura Hogan)

Fire Safe Council voices concerns

The redevelopment of the Alliant University property into homes has been met with opposition from the Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council.

KB Homes and its partnered planning firm Lattitude33 presented to the Scripps Ranch Planning group March 7 at the Scripps Ranch Library. They presented their plan to build 460 homes in a space presently occupied by Alliant University.

The Fire Safe Council, formed in 2003 after the Cedar wildfire, works to promote fire safety in Scripps Ranch. Members of the Fire Safe Council also presented at the meeting where they shared their insights on the danger of building such a large number of homes in the location. Karen Herreros, Fire Safe Council secretary, said building 460 homes would not be safe for an emergency fire evacuation. She said the proposed homes would need to evacuate on the already overly congested intersection of Avenue of Nations and Pomerado Road.

“Our concern is that in case of need for an evacuation, the traffic would be total gridlock,” Herreros said, “In addition to the predictions that a fire along that area would be going from East to West, which means a large majority of the rest of the Scripps Ranch residents would be trying to make it to the I-15 by going West on Pomerado Road.”

Widening the road Avenue of Nations is not possible. It is also not an option to create an additional exit for the proposed homes. Additional concerns for the Fire Safe Council include the high amount of traffic that could occur in the instance a fire happens during the school day; Marshall Middle School is also located on the Avenue of Nations road.

Proponents of building the homes said having more affordable housing would be a benefit to first time home buyers currently renting in the area. However, other residents voiced concerns over the strain on community facilities such as parks.

Herreros said the Fire Safe Council will aim to either lower the number of homes allowed in that space to approximately 70 homes or they will promote a different type of facility to utilize the space. The Scripps Ranch Planning Group passed a motion to recommend a denial of the request to build the 460 homes, according to Herreros. This recommendation will be presented to the City Planning Commission in April.

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