BOT looks at building codes

John Scarffe, Nederland.     During the BOT meeting on Tuesday, July 15, the Board asked Town staff to categorize building code updates into those that are “slam dunks” and those that need discussion. The Town is currently under the 2006 International Code Council building codes.

Town Administrator Alisha Reis said that in February the Board considered updating the Town’s building codes and directed a group to meet. Since then a task force of experienced professionals has met twice a month to consider all portions of the code. Many of these have been issues for some time, Reis said.

Members were compiled from the various trades, with advisement from Town and the Nederland Fire Protection District staff. Members included Ken Bradley, electrician; Debbie Davenport, architect; Jeff Fruth, builder; Steven Roszell, builder; Mark Stringfellow, builder; Stephen Taylor, builder; Rich Tillotson, builder; Alisha Reis, Town Manager. In an advisory capacity: Rick Dirr, Fire Chief; Jason Morrison, Public Works Manager; Mark Weritz, Town engineering/geotechnical; Chad Johnson, building official (SAFEbuilt).

Highlights of the task force’s recommendations include: adopting the 2012 International Code Council building codes; adopting the 2008 National Electrical Code; adopting an exception to the 2012 building codes for residential sprinklers to be encouraged but not mandated in new construction and alterations of 20 percent of floor area or more; adopting code changes to ensure safety in marijuana cultivation operations; adopting code changes to support affordable housing; adopting codes changes to clarify driveway, drainage, ignition-resistant materials, design guidelines, and other standards; and other actions.

A building safety contractor, SAFEbuilt, has received the recommendations for review, as has Town technical staff. These reviews will likely occur over the next couple of months. At the Board’s direction, Town staff can draft an ordinance to update the building codes as recommended. If the Board wishes to pursue code updates, staff recommended these be made effective January 1, 2015, in time for the next building season.

Trustee Kevin Mueller said the next step should be review by professionals who can focus on energy efficiency, going toward a more sustainable building code. Boulder County’s codes were totally rewritten, so the Town should follow their lead in this.

Trustee Topher Donahue asked about the need for building professionals to have a Town license, and Reis said a lot of guys who come work up here are not licensed in the town and that is a disadvantage for locals.

Mayor Joe Gierlach said the mission is changing the code to the 2012 ICC, and the process should go to the Planning Commission to see what their recommendations would be. He suggested that staff go through the codes and just check mark great recommendations.

Mayor Pro-Tem Peter Fiori said the revised codes should go through Nederland Planning Process after the Board discusses them in order to give the other boards a clue of what the seven Board members think. Gierlach agreed and said the process should be to run these parallel with information from the staff and Planning Commission and Sustainability Advisory Board.

The Mayor asked that Board members go through the revised codes, make comments, and send to them to Reis. He asked staff to categorize the slam dunk ones and those that need more discussion. Then bring the revisions back in a month and a half as a discussion item, and the Board will give further direction.

Performance Space

Reis reported that final grading and seeding of the Performance Space area was completed in early July 2014, finalizing the last major step in reclamation of the former site of a 3/4-acre sewage treatment lagoon. This latest work was planned and conducted by Town Hall staff and Nederland Public Works.

Reis said she is excited to present the facility to the community and has some hard work to do on parking and advertising. The staff is working on those items from other similar facilities.

Town Treasurer Eva Forberger said former power poles have been relocated underground, so they will have less visual complications. It cost $25,000 for equipment and manpower. Reis said they hope it will be ready by Frozen Dead Guy Days.

During Spring 2013, sludge of the former lagoon was pumped out and the lagoon was filled with on-site soil by contractors working on the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Upgrade project. Initial site grading was roughly shaped in and features a low area surrounded by an earth slope configured in a parabolic plan shape, with the open end facing east toward Barker Reservoir.

To complete the grading project, the Town developed a work scope that included construction of a culvert beneath the lakeshore footpath, scarification and removal of boulders within the upper foot of the ground surface, fine grading to improve overall drainage, incorporation of compost and fertilizer soil amendments, broadcasting native grass seed, and covering the site with wood-fiber mulch. Fine grading work by the Town started in early May with ground scarification and boulder removal.