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Should the Commissioners Adopt A Code Enforcement Program for Missoula County?
PURPOSES OF A CODE ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM: n To provide minimum standards to safeguard life or limb, health, property and public welfare by regulating and controlling the design, construction, quality of materials, use/occupancy, location and maintenance of all buildings and structures and certain equipment.
Purposes… n In Montana there is a further goal that building codes be uniform statewide in order to reduce construction costs and special interest requirements that increase the cost of construction without adding safety.
Purposes… n n An indirect benefit is to increase the consistency of what is required of construction so that there is a level playing field for those bidding work, and Building owners have more of a chance to evaluate bids when all bidders are meeting the same requirements for materials and safety requirements.
Applicable Statutes: n n Title 50, Chapter 60, Part 3 deals with municipal and county building codes. HB 640, passed in the 58 th Legislative Session, changed the rules of the game.
STATUTES… n Sec. 50 -60 -301(as amended) provides: n n n The City’s extra-territorial code enforcement jurisdiction is terminated. The Commissioners may adopt building codes but they must to apply to the entire County. Only codes adopted by the Department of Labor & Industry may be adopted.
Options for the County to consider: Option 1: Do Nothing. n n Leave things as they are – maintain the status quo. State Building, Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical Codes would continue to be enforced outside of the City limits by the State Department of Labor and Industry.
Option 2: Adopt a Code Enforcement program that mirrors the State’s program. n n The Building and Mechanical Codes would not apply to: n Residential buildings containing less than five dwelling units or their attached to structures; n Any farm or ranch buildings; or n Any private garage or private storage structure used for the owner’s own use.
Option 2… n Under this scenario the Building and Mechanical Codes would apply to: n Residential buildings containing more than five dwelling units and their attached to structures; n Commercial Buildings; hotels and motels; schools, and assembly buildings such as churches and theaters.
Option 2… n Under this scenario the Plumbing Code would not apply to: n n n Installations in mines, mills, smelters, refineries, public utilities, railroads, or on farms with their own individual water supply or sewage disposal system; Owner of a single family residence used exclusively for the owner’s personal use and plumbed by the owner; and Numerous other exemptions.
Option 2… n Under this scenario the Plumbing Code would apply to: n n n Residential buildings, single family and larger not plumbed by the owner; All commercial buildings unless specifically exempted; Schools, assembly buildings, manufactured buildings; and government buildings.
Option 2… n Under this scenario the Electrical Code would not apply to: n n n Communications equipment and traffic signals, street lighting, and other electrical traffic control devices; Electrical installations at a petroleum facility; mines and mine buildings; low voltage electrical signal, communications equipments and optical fiber cable; and Various other exemptions.
Option 2… n Under this scenario the Electrical Code would apply to: n n All residential, and farm and ranch buildings; Irrigations systems; Commercial buildings, schools, churches, assembly buildings; and Any other installations of electrical systems for such things as outdoor lighting.
Option 3: n Adopt a Code Enforcement program that mirrors the City’s program. n This option provides for a comprehensive Code Enforcement Program.
Option 4: n Adopt a Code Enforcement program that lies somewhere in between the State and City’s Code Enforcement programs. n The County might consider adopting Building and Mechanical Codes that apply to all residential structures except single family residences, e. g. duplexes, triplexes, and/or four-plexes.
Option 4… n The County might consider adopting Plumbing Codes that include some activities exempted in the State program, such as: n n n Single family residences and manufactured housing; Farm or ranch buildings not on public water and sewage disposal systems; Various other activities and structures.
Summary of Options: The County could do the following: n n n Nothing. Adopt a Code Enforcement program that mirrors the State’s program. Adopt a Code Enforcement program that mirrors the City’s program. Adopt a Code Enforcement program that lies somewhere in between the State and City’s Code Enforcement programs.
Administrative Options: n If the County adopts a Code Enforcement Program, the following administrative options would be considered: n n n Create a new division within the County, probably within the Department of Public Works. Contract with the City of Missoula. Contract with other local government entities within the county, e. g. fire districts. Contract with a private sector entity. Any combination of the above.
Next Steps: n Continue these discussion in areas throughout the county: n n n Seeley/Condon Communities; Bonner/Clinton Communities; Lolo Area Communities; Frenchtown Area Communities; The larger Missoula Community.
Next Steps… n n Then: Discontinue this discussion or: Develop a program per the direction of the Board of County Commissioners which would include: n n A Code Enforcement Program; An administrative structure, A fee structure; and An appeals process.
Next Steps… n n n Hold Public Hearings on the proposed program. Seek program certification from the Department of Labor and Industry if a program is adopted. Implement a Missoula County Code Enforcement Program.
So, what do you think?