Fire Easement

The easement ensures access from 831 Water Street (located on the other side of this fire-access gate) for residents whose homes are located at the end of Belvedere Terrace. To illustrate the importance of this fire access, the curb is painted red, parking is prohibited there, and city fire personnel are the only ones with a key to the gate.

The project plans to extend its buildings across the fire easement that was established when the Belvedere Cottages were built at the end of Belvedere Terrace. This easement was required because the street in front of Belvedere Cottages would not be wide enough for fire trucks to turn around.

Santa Cruz County Records show on Aug 22, 2006 an “access emergency” easement was recorded, Book 109 of maps page 37, granted to Belvedere Cottages, a planned housing development, the right to ingress and egress for fire and other emergency services.

The residents of Belvedere Cottages (as well as the other residents of Belvedere Terrace) have every right to expect that the development proposal for 831 Water Street would respect that easement. And that city officials, if the developer doesn’t, would ensure that the easement (and more importantly, fire truck access) be maintained.

However, the developer apparently overlooked this easement; his proposal shows the 71-unit affordable building impinging on it. Without this easement, which provides access to fire trucks, the homes on Belvedere Terrace would be in significantly greater fire danger.

Additionally, the project’s own proposed fire lane behind its market-rate building also does not allow sufficient space for fire trucks to turn around. They would need to back out onto North Branciforte Avenue. Imagine the traffic issues and noise pollution that would entail.