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2012 International Building Codes Take Over City Council

At Wednesday's Hazelwood City Council meeting, people passionate about the standards for future home building took more than an hour to make their points known.

The meeting was your typical meeting up until the city manager's report.

There were proclamations claiming certain weeks in May designated to recognize various departments including:

  • The Month of May Building Safety Month.
  • May 15 through 19 is .
  • May 20 through 26 is Public Works Weeks.
  • May 20 through 26 is . 

Public hearings were pretty quiet. No residents spoke out in opposition of any of the proposed changes to the city's zoning regulations, which were all approved and made it over to first reading of bills. A final vote is needed before the changes become law. The changes include amendments to various aspects of Chapter 405 of the City of Hazelwood's Codes and Ordinances on Zoning Regulations including:

  • Giving the City of Hazelwood Board of Adjustment more power as a "governing board" and changing it to where the director of public works doesn't have to make all decisions. Lower level parties in the department may do so.
  • Redefining the term "aggrieved party," and making it more difficult for a person to file appeals against zoning decisions simply as a stalling method or because they don't like it, versus actually being affected by it. An example would be if the board approved a new candy store and a competing candy store filed an appeal against it saying it was bothersome to them. The competing candy store would no longer be able to do so for that reason unless the store was impacting them in a negative way.
  • Changing the time limits for refiling for various permits or zoning changes council has denied from six months to one year. Allowing construction start extensions for six month lapses, but forcing those that lapse a full year to re-apply one year later.
  • Defining what an adult day care center is because the city had no categorical definition on the books.

2012 International Building Codes

What took up half of Wednesday's meeting was an agenda item listed under the city manger's report council had no plans of which to vote:consideration of the adoption of the 2012 International Building Codes. In fact, when it came time to discuss the item, council moved to table it for voting until after its June work session so it could have more time to research it's implications on Hazelwood residents. Because there was about three rows of individuals present at the meeting in support of the item, Hazelwood Mayor Matthew Robinson invited the public to say what it had to say about the issue.

"This is an issue that we've received a lot of phone calls on," Robinson said. "There's been a lot of confusing information and we'd like to go through it more in our work session.

"I do want to invite the public to go ahead and speak on the matter because our work session is a time to work out questions and not to have people speaking on the matter."

And people did approach the board to express their opinions from the Home Builders Association, The American Institute of Architects, McKelvey Homes and Sierra Club, along with city residents. Fifty percent of those were in support of passing the codes, and 50 percent were present at the meeting speaking out against the codes and it associated cost, which would be passed down onto homeowners looking to build in the .

The 2012 International Building Codes is a 722 page book that in a way governs how houses and other dwellings are constructed. It is a model building code developed by the International Code Council, which began in 1997 and is revised every three years. Different versions have been adopted throughout most states. The codes address a lot of fire codes and other areas including:

  • Building occupancy classifications
  • Building heights and areas
  • Interior finishes
  • Foundation, wall, and roof construction
  • Fire protection systems (sprinkler system requirements and design)
  • Materials used in construction
  • Elevators and escalators
  • Already existing structures
  • Means of egress (ability to exit the structure, primarily in the event of an emergency, such as a fire)

City council does not have to adopt the 2012 codes and could decide to keep its current system or accept parts of the 2009 or 2012 codes.

Final Vote

In other news Hazelwood City Council had final vote on a few bills and approved:

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