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Cortez council prepares to update building codes

Public hearings scheduled for March 13
The council chambers at Cortez City Hall, 123 Roger Smith Ave.

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, the Cortez City Council started the process of updating the city building codes.

The council voted unanimously, with member Jill Carlson absent, to approve the first reading of 11 ordinances that would adopt rules in compliance with the 2015 version of the International Building Codes and repeal older rules that conflict with that version. Planning and building director Sam Proffer said most of the changes were designed to make it easier and cheaper for homeowners to build and remodel. All the ordinances will go before the council for a final vote during public hearings on March 13.

The ordinances are the result of almost a year of work by the planning and building department, which started with open meetings for local contractors and developers in April. The city’s building codes have not been updated since 2009, and Proffer said a few regulations from as long ago as the 1960s are still on the books. In addition to updating the relevant code, each ordinance repeals all previous regulations that would conflict with the updates.

Many of the proposed changes are as small as changing the title of a section or changing a generic placeholder name to “City of Cortez.” The city’s energy conservation code will stay in compliance with the 2009 International Code, except for a few outdated sections, which will be repealed. Proffer said he didn’t expect the building code or its fellow regulations to cause too much trouble for residents.

“Impact on the local home builder is going to be minimal,” he said. “I think it’ll make it easier for remodels.”

But a few changes will likely affect residents, like an update to the residential code that makes fire sprinkler systems optional for residences, but establishes rules to follow for builders who choose to install them. Proffer said the updates also loosen some measurement restrictions on certain types of buildings and eliminate a few forms of structural testing that were previously required.

“We hope we’re making things easier, not harder,” he said. “We also hope we’re making things less expensive for local builders to do.”

The codes being updated this year include: the city’s fuel gas code, the mechanic code, plumbing, property maintenance, energy conservation, usable buildings and facilities, building, fire, existing building, residential and electric.

The council passed each ordinance on first reading with very little discussion. They will be discussed in more detail during the public hearings.

Other action

During its Tuesday meeting, the council also:

Approved the purchase of a 60-inch zero turn mower for $11,900 from Stotz Equipment.Approved the purchase of infield mix for the Rotary Park and South Softball Complex fields for $39,655 from All American Sports Material. Appointed Kevin Mullikin and Tim Kline to the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Advisory Board.Approved a professional services contract with Wayne Becker, the former Conquistador Golf Course superintendent, to provide consulting services for the new superintendent, Tom Kramlich. The contract is not to exceed $2,000.

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