Fire code consolidation targets unincorporated areas

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday unanimously passed a consolidated fire code for 16 fire protection districts that serve unincorporated areas.

The code adjusts a number of provisions to bring them in line with state regulations.

The most controversial is a requirement for rural properties to have a second way in and out to allow firefighters easier access to fires and an escape route if necessary.

The secondary access provision has held up more than 100 permits for private building projects that were proposed while the new rules were being developed. County officials said most of the issues have been resolved, but about 30 homeowners might appeal their permit denials to the Board of Supervisors.

Adoption of the new code was held up last month by disagreement of the make-up of an appeals board that will preside over such disputes.

“We have a better fire code before us than what we have right now,” board President Dianne Jacob said.