Members present: Jimmy Reaves, Scott Walter, Jim Ragland, Mike Cooper and Jack Wiesner
Staff present: Bob Notestine, Town Attorney, Don Swartz, Town Engineer and Suzanne Brown, Permit Specialist
Meeting called to order at 7:02 p.m.
Bob Notestine opened the meeting and lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Election of Officers:
Scott Walter made motion for Jimmy Reaves for Chairman, Jim Ragland seconded the motion, Jimmy Reaves elected as Chairman
Scott Walter made motion for Mike Cooper for Vice Chairman, Jim Ragland seconded the motion, Mike Cooper elected as Vice-Chairman
Mike Cooper made motion for Scott Walter for Scott Walker for Secretary, Scott Walter elected as Secretary
Application for request for relief under the requirement for a fire sprinkler system at 2001 Johnson Industrial Blvd. for new construction of storage building by A+Storage. Town has taken the position that the system should be installed as per the town ordinances.
Tommy Pierce, owner of A+ Storage spoke.
He introduced Allen Baxter, manager of A+ Storage location at 2001 Johnson Industrial, who lives on site.
Gave a brief history of A+Storage.
Sited 2 reasons for requesting exemption on sprinkler system
1. The building is a metal and steel building with concrete floors so no fire hazard
2. Maybe 5 – 10 a day people visit the units a day. An average visit by a tenant is 3 times a year.
He stated it is expensive to sprinkle building because the installers charge by the head. Each cubicle has to have a sprinkler head. This is a hardship and doesn’t return investment. There are fire hydrants, dual hoses, and the buildings adhere to setbacks. Mr. Pierce read the attached list of reasons why sprinklers should not be required. Stated part of the hardship is not being able by law to enter rented out units and difficulty of contacting all the different renters in case of sprinklers going off and not being able to rescue the renter’s belongings. He went over where the quick connect boxes currently are for the fire department.
There was some discussion by board members and Mr. Pierce on future building plans, fire department access and placement of fire hydrants. Mr. Pierce stated their civil engineer designs the plans and submits to Town Codes Department who then approves it.
There was some discussion by board members on the size of the units and what may be stored in them.
Fire Chief, Chris Bastin spoke. He cited some research data from NFPA indicating storage unit fires are relatively common. He stated main concerns are preservation of property and safety of fire fighters. There is no way of knowing the contents of the storage units.
There was discussion on how the sprinkler system operates.
Also some discussion on the possibility of looking at a plan and having a possible variance of where the sprinklers go in the building and how far apart they can be.
Presley Hughes, former Fire Chief, spoke about sprinkler system designs. He said they have to be designed by an architectural designer and there are specifications in the code and NFPA has rules and regulation to go by. He stated the heads are heat activated. Also reflected on the passage of the Town’s sprinkler ordinance.
Chief Bastin discussed water damage vs fire damage.
Mr. Pierce discussed the expense of sprinkler installation. He questioned N-Town storage not having a sprinkler system.
It was determined N-Town was built prior to the ordinance.
Mr. Pierce reiterated that they have a state of the art facility. He mentioned how other cities do not require storage units to be sprinkled.
Chief Bastin spoke again of the uncertainty of the contents of the units.
Mr. Pierce reminded the board of the fact that only 5 -10 people will visit the units in a day and it is a safe environment.
Don Swartz spoke - He said that A+Storage is not considered a U (Utility Use) classification. That even with the 2003 and 2006 international building code it would not be considered a U property. He also stated the sprinkler heads are heat activated. They have fusible links which keep the water turned off. When the heat activates and releases the link that’s when the water goes off. He also stated the Town Ordinance applies to this case. He said regarding the question of redesigning a sprinkler system to have fewer heads that the sprinkler system has to have coverage. Complete coverage of the floor plan. The heads make look the same but they all operate a little differently. If you had fewer heads and high water flow it would saturate a larger area.
Bob Notestine questioned hardships in regards to the sprinkler ordinance.
Don Swartz said the local ordinance does not get into hardships but the Construction Board of Appeals is established by the Building Code. The Building Code we adopt and enforce. We are required by state mandate to create this board to hear cases like this. He read section 1:12 of the Building Code regarding the purpose of the Construction Board of Appeals. He stated the Board shall have no authority to waive the requirements of the building code. So we are being asked to determine if the Building Official misinterpreted the code, does the ordinance not apply or is there another way of doing this. These are the 3 things the Board must decide.
Mr. Pierce spoke again and requested perhaps redesigning some of the buildings so they are less than 2500 sq feet so as not to require being sprinkled according to the ordinance.
Mr. Swartz said the ordinance has since been revised so that there is no minimum square footage for requirement of sprinkler systems.
Chairman Jimmy Reaves requested a motion.
Scott Walters said based on the fact the storage units do apply to the sprinkler ordinance and is in belief that the Building Official is correct in reading the building code in that ordinance. As far as every unit being sprinkled, he agreed that it needs to be done. He made a motion to deny the application.
Jim Ragland seconded the motion.
Motion to deny application passed unanimously.
Chairman Jimmy Reaves adjourned meeting at 8:13 p.m.