Committee seeks repeal of key box law
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
An ordinance requiring key boxes on Superior businesses and multi-unit apartment buildings is poised for repeal.
At a public safety committee meeting Wednesday night, Councilor Dan Olson motioned to repeal the key box ordinance as it is written and form a subcommittee of up to eight people to come up with an equitable resolution that will accommodate all interested parties. He also set a 30-day time limit for the subcommittee to bring a recommendation back to the committee. The motion passed unanimously.
Until the full City Council acts on it June 21, however, the current ordinance remains in place.
Olson said debate on the issue has gone on too long.
When the ordinance was first adopted in 2005 and updated in 2008, the councilor said, it was written in the best interest of everybody. But there are too many loopholes in it, he said, and over the past six years, it started lacking teeth.
“I think at this point and time, with the amount of energy and time that’s been spent by all people involved here that we should look at it, and the only way to look at it would be to repeal the ordinance,” Olson said. “I think it’s the best overall solution for everyone.”
If approved by the council, the subcommittee must find a way to address the needs of building owners who have already purchased the boxes and installed them, those who have purchased them but not installed them and those who have not yet purchased one.
Businesses and multi-unit apartments were required to install a Knox box by June 1, 2010 under the current ordinance.
The steel box, a mini-safe which contains a key to the building, can only be opened with master key. Master keys are located in secure boxes on fire engines, and are only accessible to firefighters who have the code.
Superior Fire Chief Jim Rigstad said about 800 of the boxes have been purchased in Superior. He estimated that about 1,200 buildings in town are required to have them.
The ordinance has been a subject of surveys and a point of contention for some local landlords.
In February, the public safety committee took a fresh look at the ordinance and sent it to the city council for review. The council voted to send it to the committee of the whole, which referred the issue back to the public safety committee.