Tri-Village News

Safety committee gives nod to fire-code updates

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Grandview Heights City Council's safety committee voted Friday, Oct. 5, to recommend council approve ordinances to revise the city's fire code and amend building code regulations setting standards for handrails and stairways at residences.

In both cases, the revisions would bring Grandview's regulations in line with state code.

The committee completed its review of the fire-code ordinance, discussing a number of issues that were left unresolved after its initial review of the legislation.

The committee agreed with Fire Chief Steve Shaner's recommendation that the code be amended to add a provision regarding public use of a fire hydrant that "a refundable bond may be required for the use of hydrants other than the public hydrant located at 1525 W. Goodale Blvd."

"Because we issue hydrant permits, in the past we've asked that folks pay a refundable bond, but it's not in any ordinance," Shaner said.

The committee also agreed to recommend a revision to the penalties the fire code imposes for transmitting a false fire alarm.

If adopted, the third violation within a calendar year would result in a $100 civil fine. The fourth violation would bring a $200 fine and the fifth violation would result in a mandatory court appearance.

Another proposed revision would require a "one-time" operational permit when a business first occupies a building or if there is a change in the business or use.

"Some fire departments do annual operational permits and some don't," Shaner said. "We don't have the staff for that, plus we are not in the business of nagging business owners."

The ordinance also would revise the code to set a $75 fee any time a permit issuance requires more than one inspection.

If the ordinance for handrail and stairway standards is approved by council, the city's code would be changed to require a handrail be placed on at least one side of any stairway with a total rise of 30 inches or more.

The amount of space allowed between balusters also would be changed from the current six inches to four inches.

The regulations would apply to both interior and exterior stairways and porches on residential buildings.

The proposed revisions are not meant to change existing rails, but to simply change the code, said Ron Ayers, residential building inspector/code enforcement officer.

Homeowners would have to meet the new standards only if they were rebuilding their stairways or porches or if a new home were being built, he said.

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