In Other News

The Governing Board of the Sedona Fire District unanimously approved an updated fire code — the first one in more than a decade.

According to a report, in 2005, SFD adopted the 2003 International Fire Code with local amendments. At that time fees for plan reviews and permits were adopted as well. In the intervening years, there have been many changes to the fire code. Additionally, fees for plan reviews and permits have remained unchanged.

In 2016, Arizona adopted the 2012 IFC. SFD’s Community Risk Management staff spent many hours reviewing the 2012 IFC and updating local amendments. These amendments were sent to the State Fire Marshal for review and have been approved.

In addition to seeking approval for new fees, which cover services the district is providing but do not fall under the existing fee structure, SFD was also requesting an increase in existing fees by approximately 25 percent.

As for the positives in approving this, Fire Marshal Jon Davis said there will be an increase in fees projected to better reflect the true cost of providing plan reviews and associated inspections. In addition, residents and contractors expect uniformity between the state and local jurisdictions. By adopting the same standards as the state, he said they will be providing that consistency.

As for any cons for approving it, Davis said it will increase fees for local residents and contractors.

During a brief presentation to the board, Davis said there is no financial impact to the district with the adoption of the 2012 IFC.

“My goal is not to gouge anyone [with the new fee structure] but at the same time I don’t want us to lose money,” Davis told the board. “I’m just looking for a fair reimbursement of our time. But when you compare our fees to others, we’re a bargain.”

Maintaining relevant and up-to-date codes is an important function of SFD Community Risk Reduction programs, the report states. While the 2015 IFC has been released, the 2012 IFC has been adopted and the report states the district is confident the adoption of these codes will allow it a more progressive approach to dealing with fire prevention issues in the field.

SFD will continue to monitor the desire to consider the 2015 IFC, but tend to wait and see a few years from the time a code is established — every three years — to the time it looks to adopt it.
Officials said this will allow for some bugs to be worked out and some of the harder work of going through the document.

“By waiting, we tend to see the experiences other agencies are having, and it helps us streamline the focus we may want to take when we consider adopting a new code,” the report states.

In his recommendation, Kazian said they have been working on updating and approving the 2012 IFC for quite some time.

“We have finally gotten a chance to get all of the details worked out and the fee schedule completed,” Kazian wrote. “We are excited to move from our current code into the 2012 version. We have specific revisions exempted from the code to maintain our ability to enforce the sprinkler code, as we are grandfathered after a state law passed removing local authority having jurisdiction to require residential sprinklers.

“The sprinkler code we have is a very progressive and responsible approach to minimizing fire risk to residents, their guests and to firefighters. I am proud of the progressive actions taken a long time ago that have allowed us to keep our residential sprinkler ordinance in place.”


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