ROCK ISLAND -- Aldermen on Monday voted to delay introducing a regulation requiring new single- and double-family homes to include sprinkler systems.
The move comes after pressure from home builders who say the mandatory sprinkler requirements would add thousands to the cost of new homes.
"We already have so little new construction that I'm concerned if we do this, we'll have none," said Ald. Joy Murphy, 6th Ward.
The requirement was to take effect Jan. 1.
City officials had recommended it be delayed until August 2013.But Ald. Paul Foley, 3rd Ward, proposed the sprinkler requirement not be introduced unless the state acts or the council adopts new building codes.
Rock Island's chief building official Tom Ayers said modern building materials burn much faster, one reason for the mandatory sprinkler push. But he noted newbuilding codes the city has yet to adopt include several options instead of sprinklers.
Rock Island has adopted the 2009 International Residential Code, he said, which includes a residential sprinkler requirement.A newer codes allows for a half inch layer of drywall to be placed over problematic building materials instead of requiring sprinklers, he said.Another option would be to ban certain building materials or only allow materials that include factory applied fire retardants.
Fire safety advocates say sprinkler requirements make homes safer.Mr. Ayers said Illinois State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis supports sprinkler requirements and may try to introduce a statewide requirement next year.
Rock Island County, Bettendorf, Milan and Silvis have adopted building codes with residential sprinkler requirements, Mr. Ayers said.
In other business Monday, the council approved a 2 percent raise for city manager Thomas Thomas. The raise, which increases the city manager's salary to$142,800, was part of Mr. Thomas' hiring agreement last year.
The council also voted to contribute a lump sum payment of5 percent of Mr. Thomas' salary, or $7,140, to his deferred compensation account.Mayor Dennis Pauley said other city department heads had received the lump sum.Aldermen voted unanimously for both items.
Mayor Pauley and aldermen on Monday also congratulatedJeff VenHuizen on becoming the city's chief of police.Sworn in Monday morning, Chief VenHuizen formerly was deputy police chief. He replaces Scott Harris, who left Nov. 2 to head Western Illinois University's police force in Macomb.
Before Monday's council meeting, aldermen discussed a proposed ordinance banning people 17 to 20 years old from "loitering" in The District between either 11 p.m. or midnight and 3 a.m. ChiefVenHuizen said young people who congregate when bars empty out have caused problems for police, and bar owners have asked the city to find a solution.
City attorney Ted Kutsunis said the proposed ordinance, which the council likely is to vote on soon, would have exceptions for people in that age bracket who are headed to a business or waiting to catch a ride.
Mike King, of Hickey Brothers Cigar Store and Hookah Lounge, said he was concerned youth would perceive they were not welcome in The District. His business is one of a small number of places in The District open at night to people younger than the legal drinking age, and he asked the ordinance be "delicately worded."
Mr. VenHuizen said police would use "common sense" in enforcing the rule if it is approved.
Today is Wednesday, March 12, the 71st day of 2014. There are 294 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Soldiers from the barracks on the Arsenal manage to elude the vigilance of the guard nearly every day and come to town armed. In the hands of excited and perhaps intoxicated men, these weapons are dangerous. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Manufacturing's merchants and professional men of Moline were petitioning the Western Union Telegraph company to establish a telegraph office in the business area of the city. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Three Rock Island students, the Misses Eleanor Cleaveland, Dorothy McCabe and Ruth West, escaped injury when fire destroyed College Hall at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War gave a party for William H. Stremmel, the only survivor of John Buford Post 243, GAR. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The East Moline Grade School Board of Education last night granted salary increases totaling about $47,000 to teachers and staff members. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Five champion spellers from the Rock Island/Milan School district were selected after competition this week at Modern Woodmen of America. Winners are Sarah Cottay, Christopher Gilbrich, Jared Vogele, Kedric Roper and Kenny Stevenson.