By Jon Watje
A public hearing for local builders and developers will be held regarding the City of Mustang adopting a new set of building codes. The hearing will be held at the next city council meeting on Tuesday, April 2.
The City Council discussed considering adopting the 2009 International Building Code, authored by the International Council Committee (ICC) at their last meeting on March 19.
Mustang Community Development Director Robert Coleman told the city council that the City had adopted the 2003 International Building Code but had never adopted the 2006 codes.
"The ordinances being considered this evening will modernize our codes and bring them up to industry standards while meeting the mandates set by the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission," Coleman said.
Coleman proposed for the city to adopt nine books of building codes including the 2009 International Building Code, the 2009 International Existing Building Code, the 2009 International Fire Code, the 2011 National Electrical Code, the 2009 International One-and Two-Family Residential Code, the 2009 International Mechanical Code and the 2009 International Plumbing Code among others.
"The cost of purchasing these books is about $900," Coleman said. "There are mandates to up these codes and we are required to update them. As far as a penalty to not adopting them, there is no real fee money wise, it just means we could be liable if something happens."
Ward 1 City Councilman Matt Taylor voiced his concerns with the origin of the codes and questioned whether they were best for the City of Mustang.
"I don't know who is on this ICC committee, and here we are going to vote on these nine books and I don't know what is in them, I sure hope Mr. Coleman does," Taylor said. "I believe this ICC is out of California. I don't believe that anybody in the state of California knows what's best for the city of Mustang. I believe that Robert Coleman and his staff of highly trained professionals know what is best for the city of Mustang and are fully capable of writing our own codes."
Taylor said the ICC originated from ICLEI, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.
"What does that council know about fire codes, mechanical codes and plumbing codes," Taylor asked. "I am sure they know about energy conservation and other things that we are not going to adopt tonight. But if you peel it back even further, ICLEI comes from the United Nations and Agenda 21. I would encourage everyone on this council to go home and research Agenda 21. Please get yourself familiarized with what the plan for 'sustainable communities' really means."
Taylor said he wanted local builders and developers to be involved in the decision-making process.
"It really pains me to see that we don't have a public hearing on these tonight," he said. "For something this serious in terms of an international building code where applicants or developers or builders are going to come into this city, we ought to allow a public hearing for our local developers, our local plumbers, our local electricians, to be able to address this council specifically and directly on these codes. I think that is not only prudent, but it is probably in the best interest of the council in terms of transparency and in terms of allowing true involvement with our builders that have to adhere to these codes."
Ward 6 Councilman Don Mount said he wanted to learn more about the codes before voting on the issue.
"I concur with what Mr. Taylor said," Mount said. "In my opinion, I believe that everyone of these organizations could have a representative come out and spend a couple of hours with us going over this and we would be much wiser and more capable to vote on something like this than sit here in the dark and not know and go ahead and approve it. I am not in favor of doing that."
Mustang Mayor Jay Adams said the International Building Codes are mandated by the State of Oklahoma and are a common standard among builders.
"I would recommend to the both of you to take your statements and write them down and send them to our local state representatives and the Governor," Adams said. "You need to realize that it is the state that is mandating this. In my own judgment, I believe having a uniform set of standards is not a bad thing. These codes are nothing more than standards that the state has deemed acceptable."
Ward 2 Councilman Mark Grubbs, a local developer himself, said he was happy the city was considering adopting the codes.
"I don't see an issue here," Grubbs said.
Taylor made a motion to hold a public hearing on the issue at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 2. Mount seconded the motion.
Taylor, Linda Bowers, Linda Hagan and Mount approved the motion with Grubbs, Terry Jones and Adams voting against it.