Mayor Mike Livengood said the city will look at requiring large subdivisions to have more than one access road.
During a city committee meeting last month, Livengood offered St. Andrews subdivision as an example of a large concentration of homes with only one road that is both the entrance and exit.
“When we have a subdivision with that many homes, we need to have two exits,” he said. “I understand that people still want privacy but if there is an emergency we should have a second entrance.”
The only access road to St. Andrews subdivision is St. Andrews Drive. There are about 386 lots plotted, but less than about 220 homes built in St. Andrews.
Livengood said the city has right of way on the southwest side of the subdivision where it could add an access road to the west.
He added that he is not proposing the addition of the entrance now, but that city officials should begin discussing the issue.
“We should start looking,” he said. “This is something that would have to go through P and Z (planning and zoning board).”
He further explained that new regulations could be based on the number of homes in a subdivision, as well as the number of proposed homes.
City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said the city has codes that address multiple entrances in subdivisions.
“We already have language in the land use code that suggests two entrances,” he said.
Several years ago there was a flash flood that went over the entrance of St. Andrews which caused some safety concerns, according to Zimmermann.
“A couple of cars were flooded and it closed the entrance for a few hours,” he said.
He said the tributary that runs through that area is small, and could only cause flash floods.
“We’ve already had this happen,” Livengood said. “It was shut down and people couldn’t get in and out.”
Union Fire Chief Russ Hamilton said his department recommends two ways in and out of every subdivision.
“Having just one entrance, if there is any type of situation, or a downed tree — it could be as simple reconstruction of street pavement — any incident like that is going to cause a delay for emergency services,” he said.
He added that emergency crews can prepare for street construction, but other situations are when issues arise.
“Any unforeseen thing that could cause delays to services in an area is the big concern,” he said. “We always like two ways in and two ways out.”