Council divides ordinances for input, clarityWith proposals to amend the city’s building and property maintenance codes on the table, the council divided the issues to address the codes separately.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
With proposals to amend the city’s building and property maintenance codes on the table, the council divided the issues to address the codes separately.
A proposal to change the building code was sent back to committee for further review, while changes to the property maintenance code were adopted.
Council Vice President Mick MacKenzie proposed sending the building code back to the Public Works Committee after a variety of issues resulted in the committee meeting at publicly noticed but unexpected times over the last couple of months.
“People have some concerns about the wording and I just think they would like to have some input in that,” MacKenzie said of proposed changes to the city’s building code, Chapter 34.
However, with the majority of the changes in the maintenance code, Chapter 104, intended to erase references to state law that no longer exists or is no longer relevant to the intent of the ordinance, MacKenzie suggested adopting the revised local law with the corrected references.
The council agreed after much debate about how changes in inter-related ordinances might affect the final law.
The maintenance code addresses issues related to property maintenance, everything from weed control, abandoned cars, to the way existing property is maintained.
Councilor Dan Olson said his concern about Chapter 104, the maintenance code, was different rules between that code that conflict with existing fire code at the expense of contractors and property owners.
Peter Kruger of the building inspection division said fire codes are being revised to eliminate confusion of the requirements, a revision that wouldn’t affect the maintenance code.
Councilor Bob Browne proposed sending the maintenance code back to a special committee similar to the housing task force that originally drafted the maintenance requirements. However, concern about the existing local code and changes in state law trumped that idea.
“One of the things that needs to be clarified for the record is that numerous changes in 104 is for clarification of that ordinance,” said Chief Building Inspector Dan Curran.
Few changes actually affect what is required, he told the council.
Since the city ordinance was written and adopted more than a decade ago, changes in state law has made portions of the local ordinance confusing and irrelevant, he said.
An ordinance that ties back to a state law that doesn’t exist anymore or refers to an unintended code makes it difficult for anyone to understand what is required, he said.
Curran encouraged the council to adopt the maintenance code to clarify requirements for property owners.
“It would be at least a disservice not to adopt it,” Curran said.
“The building code is vastly different,” said Public Works Director Jeff Goetzman. “If 104 is not of concern to the people you’re hearing from, you could pass 104, and take a look at 34 and have it referred back to committee.”
Goetzman said participation at the committee meeting would be good.
While numerous property owners and local contractors turned out to address the council about issues, the decision to refer the building code back to committee prompted many to leave before the council acted on the proposed ordinance change.
The council did nothing unexpected after concurring with MacKenzie’s recommendation.
In other business:
The council approved a zoning change south of North 28th Street between Catlin and Weeks avenues to accommodate 32 building sites that will accommodate six duplexes and the remaining single-family homes to be developed by Ron Gustafson of Heritage Homes. Patti Soliday of Superior spoke in favor of the zoning change during a public hearing Wednesday. She said the planned development is important to planning for anticipated growth and filling the housing gap that exists in the city.