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Building Code Amendments Introduced

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By Michael Herman

On June 26, amendments to the building code section of the Town Ordinance Code were introduced (Resolution 2000-OR-2) . The purpose of these amendments is to increase the amount of information available to town officials when developers seek to renovate, demolish, or construct commercial buildings and multiple-family dwellings in town. Given the increased interest in large-scale redevelopment within town, the timing of these amendments is critical to ensure quality development and to provide adequate public safety protection.

Under the proposed amendments, applicants seeking to construct, demolish or renovate buildings would be required to furnish the town with a detailed application at least sixty (60) days before commencing work so that the plans can be reviewed. The application would include architectural drawings, schedule of work to be performed and emergency contact information. The application would also include a full explanation of the work to be performed. In addition, a waste removal plan would be required to ensure that no resident is exposed to hazardous materials or any pests or vermin that could be disturbed during the course of the work being performed. In order to ensure quality development, applicants must also furnish a list of all contractors and subcontractors slated to work on the project.

Along with the application, applicants must also certify that no toxic or cancer-causing materials will be used during the project and that recycled and energy-efficient products and technology must comprise at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the cost of all construction materials.

The amendments permit the town council to waive any requirement if it deems it is in the best interest of the residents of the town. Any denial of a permit application for not meeting the requirements of these amendments may be appealed to the town council.

Finally, if any work is performed without a valid permit approved by the town after careful consideration, a fine of up to $1,000 may be assessed against the contractor for each day work is performed without a valid permit.

The proposed amendments would apply only to construction, demolition or redevelopment of properties or buildings located outside designated residential zones. Any building or property zoned for single family residential or town homes is exempted from the enhanced requirements. Further, any proposed project involving less than one thousand (1,000) square feet of work area is specifically exempted from this section because it is so small that these rigorous requirements may prevent small-scale improvements from occurring, something not intended by this legislation.

The town is expected to take full council action on these amendments at the legislative session scheduled on August 7. Interested parties should attend that meeting to voice their opinions or concerns.

Michael Herman is Chairman of the Legislative Committee and Councilmember for Ward 1.

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