Answer. I’m no expert on the Oregon fire code requirements or its exceptions. I did some brief online research (the kind that you don’t want to rely on, but use as a starting point for further information). Here are my thoughts:
1. I have no idea what kind of “solution” the assistant fire marshal has in mind, but find it hard to believe the issue hasn’t arisen before. I’m inclined to believe there are work-arounds, if you push a little. This is an issue of public safety, why don’t the city and county install another fire hydrant? I assume cost – but is that a reason for your park to stop accepting homes? Your park presumably went through some form of land use approvals initially, and access to fire hydrants for the approved spaces was already considered.
2. Grandfathering is a possibility, but you’d want to confer with a land use attorney who has familiarity with the issue. When laws are passed there generally is some consideration for businesses and structures that were established before passge. You want to explore this issue.
3. In reviewing the ordinances generally, I do see there are exceptions. You or your attorney may want to explore them.
4. I noticed that the distance from a hydrant can be expanded beyond the maximum footage when the home has a sprinkler system. If this is a new home, it may already have such a system. If not, the cost should be explored while, at the same time, verifying that the county will grant you an exception for a sprinkled home. (You might consider sharing some of the cost if necessary – it’s better than a vacant space.)
5. I also notice that measuring the fire hose distance is along the access road (obviously). I’m wondering if you could create a spur road to the less accessible homes. I say this even though it might involve some cost to you. Why? Because knowing that your current roads couldhamper fire engine access might create some liability to you as the park owner.
6. Lastly, I cannot tell how helpful the assistant fire marshal was, but obviously she, or thefire marshal, need to be contacted again, this time to explore solutions. As you note, this can’t be the first time the issue has arisen. I’m guessing you will find some alternative(s) that will work. And armed with this information going forward, I suspect you will have this issue at the forefront when placing additional homes in your park. Good luck!
Member Follow Up: I appreciate that Phil was able to research the circumstances a bit. FYI, I stumbled through this frustrating situation and was able to resolve the problem just like Phil suggested. We do have a home coming into the park which we are going to share the cost (around $5200) for the installation of a sprinkler system in a new 24x36 home. The city, county and state fire Marshall have agreed to allow future homes into the park with the stipulation that they have sprinkler systems installed if in excess of 600’ from the hydrant. In the event that we have someone wishing to have new home placed, they will have to bear all the cost. The poor woman that got into the middle of red tape in placing her home was as much as a “victim” of the changing regulations as we were. Should we decided to buy and resell the home, the cost will include the fire suppression system.