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The city is one step closer to closing discussion on a fire code ordinance.

At the council's regular meeting Monday night, Alderman Jim Wozniak moved to amend a proposed ordinance, which adopts the 2012 version of the state's fire code and lists other provisions specific to Bella Vista.

The portion of the code he moved to amend dealt with sprinkler systems and has been a point of contention during the life of the ordinance's discussion in the previous months.

Currently, the state code states buildings that are more than 12,000 square feet, hold more than 300 people at one time or have a level of exit below the fire floor must be sprinkled.

In the event of a building addition, wording removed from the ordinance would have required sprinkling in both the previously existing structure and the new construction.

Staff attorney Jason Kelley following a work session Aug. 18 cited avoiding confusion as the reason to delete the section, and said that the wording in the state code was sufficient to do what the city was attempting to achieve along the lines of fire suppression.

"When it comes time to review a plan or design, I wouldn't be surprised if we try to get some guidance from the state fire marshal's office," Kelley said last week regarding building additions.

John Lear, building chairman for Bella Vista Lutheran Church whose expansion project these regulations have affected, spoke to the council during the public input session of the meeting and said he supported the ordinance as it is now proposed.

Alderwoman Becky Morgan also suggested the code be amended in the section requiring address numbers installed on houses. She moved the numbers be required to be 4 inches in height rather than the proposed 6 inches. The state code requires 4 inches, she said on Monday, and her amendment would bring the city's ordinance in line with the state code.

Currently, the city requires numbers to be 3.5 to 4 inches.

Amendments were passed unanimously. The group is expected to vote on the ordinance at the next regular meeting Sept. 22.

Alderman also approved a contract renewal with Cooper Communities Inc. for the space currently leased for operation of the Street Department. The contract will be renewed through December, after which Mayor Frank Anderson said he hopes the city's new location of the department -- off Arkansas 279 and Rogers Road -- will be ready for operation.

Anderson said dirt work has begun on the property after the city got approval from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, and the city will soon begin ordering sand and salt in preparation for winter to be stored at the new location.

He added preliminary drawings are being made for the construction of a fourth fire station off Forest Hills Boulevard near Buckston Drive.

Council members voted to reduce city construction permit fees. Currently, permits are issued in a variety of ways, said Planning Director Chris Suneson, including a base fee plus multipliers, including the number of electrical outlets or air conditioning units.

New fees will be a set rate of $30 each per plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits for residential construction and $50 for commercial construction.

Suneson said he has heard from contractors that this method is more efficient and called it a "positive change" after analysis of last year's permit activity.

The new fees will be effective Sept. 1.

Alderman also read for a second time ordinances establishing a drug-free work place and adopting zoning code amendments, which will move to the third reading in September. An ordinance establishing late fees at the Bella Vista Public Library was read for its first time and will be discussed again in September as well.

General News on 08/27/2014

Print Headline: Aldermen amend fire code, ordinance voted expected at September meeting

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