County officials consider reform of cul de sac ordinance

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 12, 2013 5:00 AM

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Discussion on the topic of changing the county ordinance for cul-de-sac length and radius to facilitate fire prevention took place at a Wednesday afternoon meeting of the Johnson County officials.

Eugene Beard, of the Johnson County Mutual Aid Association, submitted a letter to the county Board of Supervisors recommending that the maximum length for cul-de-sacs be lowered to 600 feet from the current length of 1,000. He also recommended that the minimum diameter of the bulb of a cul-de-sac — the circular area — be raised to 100 feet from the current minimum of 70 and the width of cul-de-sac streets to be raised to 30 feet from 24.

These changes would ease the operation of emergency vehicles, especially fire trucks, beard said.

“It’s not efficient,” he said. “The streets aren’t wide enough to operate a tanker shuttle on. We’re looking for the future of this county and the safety of our residents.”

Supervisor Chairwoman Janelle Rettig said she shares some of Beard’s concerns about the cul-de-sacs.

“The inability to get more water down to the end of a long, dead-end road is concerning to me,” she said.

Supervisor Terrence Neuzil said he thinks the county shouldn’t be entirely limited by a significantly different ordinance. The current ordinance allows developers to build outside of the ordinance with approval from the supervisors.

“I think there’s an opportunity to make … something better,” he said. “I just don’t want to get us to a place where it’s [not flexible].”

Supervisor Rod Sullivan said he agrees with Beard that the ordinance needs to be changed.

“I think that our insurance agents, our firefighters, ought to outweigh developers,” he said. “I think it would be worth revisiting this.”

The supervisors will discuss reforming the ordinance at a work session with members of the Planning and Zoning Board at a currently undecided later date.

— by Daniel Seidl

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