Basement Egress Proposal #1 - What's Allowed

Great Oak Community 2019-09-16

Summary:

This proposal outlines the requirements for tenants to have a completely separate entrance/exit to their walkout apartment.

Background:

Great Oak has 37 units. When Great Oak was built, 17 units were made with walkout basements. There was talk during the design and building phase that it would be nice if owners could rent those basements as completely separate apartments, but no formal agreements were made. And more importantly, no official paths were created behind those units.

Now Great Oak is faced with the challenge of whether or not we want to allow the walkout units to create a second primary point of access. And if we do, we have to agree in principle about how to divide the many costs.

The F&L committee has worked on this for over a year in committee, and brought forward several info and discussion pieces to the community, as this is a complex topic. See attached page for a list of links to that historical info.

What is clear is that we have several members with a strong desire/need to do this, strong concerns about safety for the tenants because of the slope and no paths, and a real need to keep everyone's work and financial obligations from increasing too much.

This series of proposals attempts to provide a good balance. It splits the costs, and limits what is being built now while still giving access to all the needed walkouts.

Because of the complexity, the original proposal was presented in 3 sections. We have now broken it into 3 separate proposals. Proposal #1 deals with what exactly Great Oak will allow. Proposal #2 deals with the center stairs, and Proposal #3 deals with creating safe pathways behind 2 buildings.

Proposal:

What we are allowing

Great Oak allows owners of walkout units to rent their basements as completely separate apartments with their own private entrances as long as all of the following conditions exist:

That the land behind the entire building the unit is part of has been graded and stabilized to make sure water/ice flow away from the path and from building foundations. Any work involved in creating this must be contracted by the association and must be to code.

That a walkable pathway has been created that runs the entire length of that building and extends to one of the sets of stairs. This path must be safe, semi-permanent (more than just a dirt or grass path), and easy to maintain in winter. This path would be in the General Common Element (GCE) area. Any work involved in creating this must be contracted by the association, and special attention needs to be paid to make sure water/ice flow away from path and building foundations. The only exception is building #1 (units 25-27) which has level ground and is only a few steps away from the east stairs.

That a walkable pathway from the basement door to the community pathway (see 2 above) has been created. This path must be safe, semi-permanent, and easy to maintain in winter. It must be to code. The owner is responsible for constructing this connecting path.

Any basement door pathway created, while being initially paid for by the owner, becomes the community's responsibility to repair and replace.

That outdoor lighting by the basement door is sufficient for current safety but not so excessive that it negatively impacts neighbors (for example pointing down, with a top shade). This is solely the responsibility of the unit owner to provide and maintain.

If all of these conditions do not exist, landlords must allow their tenants to use the main front door at all times, and have it stated in the lease.

PROS
This meets the recommendation of our lawyer
This provides clear guidelines for what is needed in order to use the basement door as primary egress.
Passing this part first protects Great Oak immediately, regardless of whether or not we pass the other basement egress proposals.

CONS
This stand-alone proposal does not explain how the pathways will be created.
It does not guarantee that the necessary pathways will ever be created.


Addendum - Historical Links

Survey Results https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AS6jOeZATxd2AFURc1caVAMRge190PEnvbwmPBaPVN E/edit?usp=sharing

Legal Stuff https://www.dropbox.com/s/e4hhwhpsoapym78/Legal%20concerns%20around%20the%20base ment%20egress%20issue.pdf?dl=0

The Scenarios https://www.dropbox.com/s/xtmf8pz2hkmkxoz/Basement%20egress%20and%20walkway%20sc enarios%20March%2031%202019.pdf?dl=0

Process Comments:

*Consensus on Prop 1. reached at 6:56.* No stand asides or blocks.