Chapter 15.36
CALIFORNIA FIRE CODE ADOPTED

Sections:

15.36.010    General findings.

15.36.020    Codes adopted.

15.36.030    Specific findings for code amendments.

15.36.040    Administration.

15.36.050    Fire service features.

15.36.060    Fire protection systems.

15.36.070    Establishment of limits.

15.36.080    Requirements for wildland-urban interface areas.

15.36.090    Fire flow requirements for building.

15.36.100    Fire apparatus access roads.

15.36.110    Modifications.

15.36.120    Appeals.

Prior legislation: Prior code § 5A.16.

15.36.010 General findings.

A.    The fire and hazardous materials section of the public health and safety element of the city general plan recommends that on-site fire mitigation should include use of fire-resistant materials, sprinklers, and early warning systems; and provides that factors which contribute to the potential for fire are vegetation and distance from fire stations;

B.    Because response time of fire suppression units has a critical impact on the ability to protect life and property in case of fire or other emergencies, buildings must be provided with built-in fire protection systems to offset the negative impact of excessive response time;

C.    The residential growth management system section of the land use element of the city general plan prescribes that density and population shall not exceed that which can be served by adequate public facilities and service;

D.    The fire department has increasing incidence of simultaneous demands for service that completely deplete our resources; and provides that fire protection requirements for new construction and remodeled buildings shall be strengthened to reduce planned growth on fire department capabilities and to provide a reasonable degree of fire and life safety at minimum fire suppression cost; and

E.    The city council desires to enhance the adequate protection of buildings and structures by the adoption of this chapter. (Ord. 19-10 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 16-15 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 13-4 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 10-7 § 2 (part): Ord. 07-2 § 2 (part): prior code § 5A.10)

15.36.020 Codes adopted.

The 2019 California Fire Code, known as the California Code of Regulations, Title 24, Part 9, based on the International Fire Code, 2018 Edition, published by the International Code Council in its entirety, including appendices: Chapter 4, Appendix B and Appendix BB (Fire Flow Requirements for Buildings), Appendix C and Appendix CC (Fire Hydrant Locations and Distribution), Appendix D (Fire Apparatus Access Roads), Appendix E (Hazard Categories), Appendix F (Hazard Ranking), Appendix G (Cryogenic Fluids—Weight and Volume Equivalents), Appendix H (Hazardous Materials Management Plans and Hazardous Inventory Statement), Appendix I (Fire Protection Systems Noncompliant Conditions), Appendix J (Building Signage), and Appendix K (Temporary Haunted Houses, Ghost Walks and Similar Amusement Uses), and referred to as the “International Fire Code” or “IFC,” is adopted as amended and made a part of this code by reference per findings as set forth in Section 15.36.030. (Ord. 19-10 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 16-15 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 13-4 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 10-7 § 2 (part): Ord. 07-2 § 2 (part): Ord. 03-2 § 1 (part): Ord. 02-5 § 7 (part): prior code § 5A.11)

15.36.030 Specific findings for code amendments.

Each amendment to the California Fire Code adopted by this chapter is reasonably necessary because of the following determinations due to local climatic, geological, or topographic conditions pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 17958.5:

A.    The city is characterized by a narrow valley floor surrounded and intermingled with steep hill terrain, containing areas which are very susceptible to wildland fires. Wildland fires are considered a significant threat in St. Helena. Native vegetation of brush, woodland, grassland and forest becomes extremely flammable during summer and remains so if drought conditions prevail during the winter months. Drought cycles appear in this area every seven through eleven (11) years.

B.    Earthquake is considered to be one of the most potentially destructive threats to life and property in the city. A moderate to severe seismic incident on any of the several fault zones in relatively close proximity to St. Helena is expected to cause extensive property damage, disruptions to communications systems, and damage to public utility systems.

C.    St. Helena is divided geographically into two parts by the north to south flow of the Napa River. Significant damaging flooding occurs in portions of the city approximately every five to ten (10) years. Warnings are usually given several hours to a few days before such floods. This natural barrier can serve as a severe impediment to public safety services because of the severity of slopes and the existence of natural barriers such as the Napa River, Sulphur Creek, and York Creek.

D.    Some areas of the forested hillside terrain that border the city have been designated as a woodlands and watershed area. These are areas that are local responsibility areas (LRA) for fire response and as such fall under the wildland-urban interface (WUI) guidelines set forth in Chapter 49 of the Fire Code and Chapter 7A of the Building Code. (Ord. 19-10 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 16-15 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 13-4 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 10-7 § 2 (part): Ord. 07-2 § 2 (part): prior code § 5A.12)

15.36.040 Administration.

A.    Section 105.4.4.1, Phased Approval, is repealed in its entirety.

B.    Section 109.3, Violation penalties, California Fire Code 2019, Chapter 1, is amended to read as follows:

Persons who shall violate a provision of this fire code or shall fail to comply with any of the requirements thereof or who shall erect, install, alter, repair or do work in violation of the approved construction documents or directive of the Fire Code Official, or of a permit or certificate used under provisions of this fire code, shall be subject to penalties as prescribed by law. In addition to potential civil and/or criminal penalties, any person, individual, group of individuals, firm, trust, corporation, partnership association, or business concern responsible for an unauthorized release of hazardous material, a malicious false alarm, excessive unintentional false alarms, or igniting and/or maintaining an illegal fire, shall be liable for reimbursing the City of St. Helena for all costs incurred resulting from the City’s emergency response and mitigation activities involving these incidents. Incurred costs may include such activities as firefighting, rescue, evacuation, hazardous material containment, control and/or disposal, incident investigation, report writing, administrative costs, and additional mitigation activities that may be contracted by the City.

C.    110.5 is added to Section 110 to read in full as follows:

Unsafe building. It shall be unlawful to leave or maintain any building in an unsafe condition or maintain any building in a manner that is a public nuisance, a threat to life, safety, or property, or a fire hazard. The Fire Code Official may order or cause the abatement of such nuisance, threat, or hazard as specified in Section 109 of the fire code.

D.    Section 111.4, Failure to comply, California Fire Code 2019, Chapter 1, is amended to read as follows:

Any person who shall continue any work after having been served with a stop work, except such work as that person is directed to perform to remove a violation or unsafe condition, shall be subject to penalties as prescribed by law.

E.    Section 307.1 is amended to read as follows:

307.1 General. A person shall not kindle or maintain or authorize to be kindled or maintained any open burning unless conducted for agricultural operations, approved in accordance with this section and a permit obtained from the Fire code official.

(Ord. 19-10 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 16-15 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 13-4 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 10-7 § 2 (part): Ord. 07-2 § 2 (part): Ord. 03-2 § 1 (part): Ord. 02-5 § 7 (part); prior code § 5A.13)

15.36.050 Fire service features.

A.    Chapter 5.

1.    Section 501, General, is amended to read as follows:

a.    Section 501.3 is amended to read as follows:

501.3 Construction documents. Construction documents for proposed fire apparatus access, security gates across fire apparatus access, location of fire lanes, construction documents, hydraulic calculations for fire hydrant systems and all fire protection system plans shall be submitted and approved prior to the issuance of a building permit.

2.    Section 503, Fire Apparatus Access Roads, is amended to read as follows:

Driveways and access roads shall be as defined in Municipal Code Sec. 17.124.070, Standards for driveways and access drives.

3.    Section 503.4.1, Traffic calming devices, California Fire Code 2019, Chapter 5, is amended to read as follows:

Traffic calming devices including, but not limited to, speed bumps, speed humps, speed tables, speed depressions, shall not be allowed on public or private roadways, driveways or fire apparatus access routes.

4.    Section 506.1, Where required, California Fire Code 2019, Chapter 5, is amended to read as follows:

Key boxes are required on all commercial buildings and multi-family residential housing units within the city limits. The key box shall be on an approved type and shall contain keys to gain necessary access and a building site plan as required by the Fire Code Official.

B.    Chapter 6, Building services and systems.

1.    Section 603.8 is amended to read as follows:

603.8 Incinerators. Commercial, industrial and residential type incinerators and chimneys are prohibited within the City of St. Helena.

2.    609.2 is amended to read as follows:

609.2 Where required. A Type 1 hood shall be installed at or above all commercial cooking appliances and domestic cooking appliances used for commercial purposes that produces grease laden vapors. Cooking facilities in assembly occupancies and congregate residences shall be considered commercial operations.

(Ord. 19-10 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 16-15 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 13-4 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 10-7 § 2 (part): Ord. 07-2 § 2 (part): prior code § 5A.14)

15.36.060 Fire protection systems.

A.    Chapter 9, subsection 901.1, is hereby amended to read:

Approved automatic sprinkler systems in new buildings, structures and qualified additions and remodels shall be provided in the locations described as follows.

903.2.1 Construction Documents. The Fire Code Official shall have the authority to require construction documents and calculations for all fire protection systems and to require permits be issued for the installation, rehabilitation or modification of any fire protection system. Construction documents for fire protection systems shall be submitted for review and approval prior to the issuance of a building permit.

B.    Chapter 9, subsection 903.2, is amended by repealing the entire subsection 903.2 (with the exception of subsections 903.2.12, 903.2.17 and Tables 903.2.11.6 and 903.2.5.2, which shall remain in effect), and replacing it with the following:

903.2 Where Required. Approved automatic sprinkler systems in new and existing buildings shall be provided in the locations described in this section.

903.2.1 Required installations. An automatic fire sprinkler system shall be installed and maintained in all newly constructed buildings or structures, fire sprinkler systems shall be installed in new manufactured homes and multifamily manufactured homes with two dwelling units in accordance with title 25 of the California Code of Regulations.

Exception:

1.    When approved by the Fire Code Official spaces or areas in telecommunications buildings used exclusively for telecommunications equipment, associated electrical power distribution equipment, batteries and standby engines, provided those spaces or areas are equipped throughout with an automatic fire alarm system and are separated from the remainder of the building by fire barriers consisting of no less than 1-hour fire-resistance-rated wall and 2-hour fire-resistance-rate floor/ceiling assemblies.

2.    Automatic fire sprinkler protection for fixed guideway transit systems shall be as per Section 903.2.17.

3.    Detached Group U private garages and carports accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy and less than 1,000 square feet, and more than 10 feet from adjacent structures, unless all exterior walls provide 2-hour fire protection.

4.    Detached pool houses, workshops, barns and similar structures, built in conjunction with existing non-sprinkled single-family residences and provided the new structure is less than 1,000 square feet, is not intended for use as a dwelling unit and complies with the separation distances and exterior fire protection ratings of the Building Code.

5.    Detached non-combustible, limited combustible materials or fire retarded treated wood canopies less than 3,000 square feet in roof area used exclusively for vehicle washing facilities or vehicle fuel dispensing stations.

6.    Group B or M occupancies less than 500 square feet.

7.    Detached, unenclosed gazebos or shade structures less than 1,000 square feet.

8.    Detached restroom facilities associated with golf courses, parks and similar uses.

9.    Shipping containers used for storage purpose and located not closer than 5 feet to a building, property line or other container.

903.2.2 Additions. An automatic sprinkler system shall be installed throughout any existing commercial or residential building when the floor area of the addition (including mezzanines) within any three year period exceeds 50% of the existing floor area of the building (excluding attached garages or unconditioned spaces in the floor area calculation of the addition) or when an additional story is added.

903.2.3 Alterations or Repairs. For alterations or repairs to existing buildings involving demolition of more than 50% of the existing floor area or removal of 50% or more of the existing ceiling covering (i.e. sheetrock, lath and plaster, suspended ceiling etc.), or removal of 50% or more of the existing roof structure or roof sub-structure (excluding roof covering material) the building shall meet the sprinkler requirements for a newly constructed building.

Exception: One-time alterations made solely for the purpose of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

903.2.4 Change of Occupancy. Any change of occupancy when the proposed new occupancy classification is more hazardous based on a fire and life safety evaluation by the Fire Code Official and Building Code Official, including conversion of buildings to single-family residences, accessory dwelling units, bed and breakfast inns, lodging houses or congregate residences or other similar uses an automatic fire sprinkler system shall be installed throughout.

C.    Section 907.1. Section 907.1.6 is added to read as follows:

907.1.6 False Alarms. A false alarm shall mean the receipt by the fire department an audio or visual alarm or signal from an automatic fire alarm device set off by causes other than the occurrence of a fire. Alarm users are allowed three (3) false alarms in a 365-day period. A service charge of $100 shall be imposed for the fourth false alarm, a $250 service charge shall be imposed for the fifth false alarm and a service charge of $500 for each subsequent false alarm shall be assessed.

D.    Appendix C. Amend Appendix C, Fire Hydrant Locations and Distribution, Section C102, Location, by adding the following:

C102.2 Fire Department Connections

A Fire Hydrant shall be located within 50 feet of all Fire Department connections (FDC), or approved by the Fire Code Official.

(Ord. 19-10 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 16-15 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 13-4 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 10-7 § 2 (part): Ord. 07-2 § 2 (part): prior code § 5A.15)

15.36.070 Establishment of limits.

A.    Establishments of Limits of Districts in Which Storage of Flammable or Combustible Liquids in Outside Aboveground Tanks Is Prohibited. The limits referred to in Chapter 57 of the California Fire Code, in which the storage of flammable or combustible liquids is restricted, are hereby established as follows: Storage of sixteen (16) gallons or more is prohibited in all areas unless a permit is issued by the fire code official.

B.    Establishment of Districts of Limits in Which Storage of Liquefied Petroleum Gases Is Prohibited. The limits referred to in Chapter 57 of the California Fire Code, in which storage of liquefied petroleum gas is prohibited, are hereby established as follows: Storage is prohibited in all areas of the city unless a permit is issued by the fire code official.

C.    Establishment of Limits of Districts in Which Storage of Explosives and Blasting Agents Is Prohibited. The limits referred to in Chapter 56 of the California Fire Code, in which storage of explosives and blasting agents is prohibited, are hereby established as follows: Storage is prohibited in all areas of the city, unless a permit is issued by the fire code official.

D.    Establishment of Limits of Districts in Which the Storage of Compressed Gases Is Prohibited. The limits referred to in Chapter 53 of the California Fire Code, in which the storage of compressed gases is prohibited, are hereby established as follows: Storage of sixteen (16) gallons or more is prohibited in all areas of the city unless a permit is issued by the fire code official.

E.    Establishment of Limits of Districts in Which the Storage of Stationary Tanks of Flammable Cryogenic Fluids Is Prohibited. The limits referred to in Chapter 58 of the California Fire Code, in which the storage of flammable cryogenic fluids in stationary containers is prohibited, are hereby established as follows: Storage is prohibited in all areas of the city unless a permit is issued by the fire code official.

F.    Establishment of Limits of Districts in Which the Storage of Hazardous Materials Is Prohibited. The limits referred to in Chapter 50 of the California Fire Code, in which the storage of hazardous materials is prohibited, are hereby established as follows: Storage is prohibited in all areas of the city unless a permit is issued by the fire code official. (Ord. 19-10 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 16-15 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 13-4 § 3 (Exh. A (part)))

15.36.080 Requirements for wildland-urban interface areas.

Chapter 49, California Fire Code 2019, Requirements for Wildland-Urban Interface Areas, is amended by adding Section 4908 to read as follows:

Defensible Space for Structures and Roads

A.    General. Persons owning, leasing, controlling, operating or maintaining buildings or structures in, upon or adjoining hazardous fire areas, and persons owning, leasing or controlling land adjacent to such buildings or structures, shall at all times:

1.    Maintain an effective fuel break by removing and clearing away flammable vegetation and combustible material from areas within 100 feet of buildings and structures;

Exception: Single specimen trees, ornamental shrubbery or similar plants used as ground covers, provided they do not form a means of rapidly transmitting fire from the native growth to any structure.

2.    Remove portions of trees which extend within 10 feet of the outlet of a chimney;

3.    Maintain trees adjacent to or overhanging a building free of deadwood; and

4.    Maintain the roof of a structure free of leaves, needles or other dead vegetative growth.

B.    Roadways. The Fire Code Official is authorized to cause areas within 10 feet on each side of portions of all roads, driveways and fire department access roads which are improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic to be cleared of flammable vegetation and other combustible growth. The Fire Code Official is authorized to enter upon private property to do so.

Exception: Single specimens of trees, ornamental shrubbery or cultivated ground cover provided they do not form a means of readily transmitting fire.

C.    Corrective Actions. The Fire Code Official is authorized to give notice to the owner of the property upon which conditions regulated by this section exist to correct such conditions. If the owner fails to correct such conditions, the Fire Code Official is authorized to cause the same to be done and make the expense of such correction a lien upon the property where such condition exists.

(Ord. 19-10 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 16-15 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 13-4 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 10-7 § 2 (part): Ord. 07-2 § 2 (part): prior code § 5A.17)

15.36.090 Fire flow requirements for building.

A.    Section 507, Fire Protection Water Supplies.

507.1 Required Water Supply. An approved water supply capable of supplying the required fire flow for fire protection of portions of buildings that are hereafter constructed or moved onto or within the jurisdiction. Such water supply shall be connected to the Municipal Water Supply if available within 1,000 ft. of the subject property.

B.    Section B105.1, Fire-Flow Requirements for Buildings, California Fire Code 2019, Appendix B, is amended to include to read as follows:

1.    One and Two-Family Dwellings Under 2500 Square Feet and not served by a Public Water System, the minimum water storage shall be 5,000 gallons of capacity dedicated for fire protection.

Exception: A reduction in fire flow of 50% is allowed when the building is protected with an approved automatic fire sprinkler system.

2.    One and Two-Family Dwellings Over 2500 Square Feet and Not Served by a Public Water System. The minimum water storage shall be in accordance with Table B105.1 of Appendix B.

(Ord. 19-10 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 16-15 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 13-4 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 10-7 § 2 (part): Ord. 07-2 § 2 (part): prior code § 5A.18)

15.36.100 Fire apparatus access roads.

A.    Section D103.2, Grade, California Fire Code 2019, Appendix D, is amended to read as follows:

Fire apparatus access roads shall not exceed 16% in grade.

Exception: Lots of record established prior to January 1, 2014: the grade shall not exceed 20%. All grades exceeding 10% shall be AC pavement; all grades exceeding 16% shall be Portland cement scored concrete.

B.    Section D103, Figure D103.1, California Fire Code 2019, Appendix D, is amended to include the following drawings in the city of St. Helena street, storm drain and sidewalk standards:

Drawings: 1, 1.1R, 1.2R, 2, 2R, 3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.

C.    Section D103.5, Fire Apparatus access road gates, California Fire Code 2019, Appendix B, is amended to read as follows:

Gates securing the fire apparatus access roads shall comply with the following:

1.    The minimum gate width shall be 16 feet for residential or 20 feet for commercial occupancies.

2.    Gates shall be of the swinging or sliding type.

3.    Construction of gates shall be of materials that allow manual operation by one person.

4.    Gate components shall be maintained in an operative condition at all times and replaced or repaired when defective.

5.    Electric gates shall be equipped with a means of opening the gate by fire personnel for emergency access. An approved key system will be installed approved by the Fire Code Official.

6.    Manual opening gates shall not be locked with a padlock or chain unless they are capable of being opened by means of forcible entry tools or when the key box containing the key(s) to the lock is installed at the gate location.

7.    All locking devices shall be approved by the Fire Code Official.

8.    Electric gate operators, where provided, shall be listed in accordance with UL 325.

9.    Gates intended for automatic operation shall be designed, constructed and installed to comply with requirements of ASTM F 2200.

10.    Gates shall comply with Section 17.124.070 c. of the St. Helena Municipal Code To avoid congestion at the entrance of a property from the street or access drive, no on-site parking space or gate shall be allowed within the initial thirty (30) feet of the edge of pavement of the access drive, drive aisle or property line, including residential driveways or location as determined by the Public Works Director in conjunction with the Fire Code Official.

D.    Section D107.1, One or two-family dwelling residential developments, California Fire Code 2019, Appendix B, is amended to read as follows:

Developments of one, two-family or multi family dwellings where the number of dwelling units exceeds thirty (30) shall be provided with two separate and approved fire apparatus access roads, and shall meet the requirements of Section D104.3.

E.    Gated Entrances—Gates on Driveways.

1.    Gates may be installed on driveways provided they comply with the following standards:

a.    All gated entrances must be issued a building permit before construction begins, each gate entrance shall be at least two feet wider than the width of the traveled way serving the gate and a minimum width of sixteen (16) feet unobstructed horizontal clearance and unobstructed vertical clearance of fourteen (14) feet.

b.    All gates providing access from a road to a driveway shall be located at least thirty (30) feet from the roadway edge and shall open away from the roadway or be of the sliding type and shall meet all above operational requirements specified for apparatus access gates.

2.    Final Inspection. As a condition precedent to the granting of a building permit, the applicant must demonstrate that the gate entrance requirements as set forth in Section 17.124.070, can be met and constructed to meet the requirements set forth herein. As a condition precedent to the granting of a “final inspection,” the applicant must demonstrate that the gate entrance is constructed in a manner that meets these standards.

3.    Existing Gates. In cases where a gated access is already existing and the alteration or removal of the existing gated entrance cannot be designed and installed to meet these requirements due to topographic or geologic conditions, upon request by the applicant or his/her authorized representative, exceptions to the standards within this subsection may be allowed by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), where the exception provides for the same overall practical effect as these regulations towards providing a safe area for occupants or users of the property and for emergency vehicles to park while trying to gain gate access to the applicant’s parcel.

4.    Exceptions. Request for an exception shall be made in writing to the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) by the applicant or the applicant’s authorized representative. The request shall state the specific section(s) for which an exception is requested, material facts supporting the contention of the applicant, the details of the exception, and a map showing the proposed location and citing of the exception or alternative measures.

5.    Historic or significant architectural existing gates may be replaced with materials of like quality to restore these gated entrances to their original historic specifications. No modifications or upgrades to the original specifications will be allowed for the historic gated entrance to avoid compliance with this section and Section 17.124.070. (Ord. 19-10 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 16-15 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 13-4 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 10-7 § 2 (part): Ord. 07-2 § 2 (part): prior code § 5A.19)

15.36.110 Modifications.

The city manager, the fire chief and the fire code official shall act as a committee and shall have power to modify any of the provisions of the California Fire Code upon application in writing by the owner or lessee, or his or her duly authorized agent, when there are practical difficulties in the way of carrying out the strict letter of the fire code; provided, that the spirit of the fire code shall be observed, public safety secured, and substantial justice done. The particulars of such modification when granted or allowed and the decision of the committee thereon shall be entered upon the records of the department and a signed copy shall be furnished the applicant. (Ord. 19-10 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 16-15 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 13-4 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 10-7 § 2 (part): Ord. 07-2 § 2 (part): prior code § 5A.20)

15.36.120 Appeals.

Whenever the chief of the fire department shall disapprove an application or refuse to grant a permit applied for, or when it is claimed that the provisions of this fire code do not apply or that the true intent and meaning of the fire code have been misconstrued or wrongly interpreted, the applicant may appeal from the decision of the chief of the fire department to the board of appeals within thirty (30) days from the date of the decision appealed. (Ord. 19-10 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 16-15 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 13-4 § 3 (Exh. A (part)): Ord. 10-7 § 2 (part): Ord. 07-2 § 2 (part): prior code § 5A.21)