Originally Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2012, 9:00 pm
Last Updated: Dec. 11, 2012, 9:31 am
RI council delays residential sprinkler requirements
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By Eric Timmons, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.