Heath's planning commission on Thursday tabled an ordinance that would affect Heath's contract with Newark for building-code permits and inspections.

Heath's planning commission on Thursday tabled an ordinance that would affect Heath's contract with Newark for building-code permits and inspections.

City officials were concerned not only with Newark's new fee structure but also the state's new permit requirements.

"I'd like this body to have a hearing and then table the issue and let it sit for a month," Heath Mayor Richard Waugh said.

Waugh said the city has concerns about the residential building-code standards, which were changed by the state. The state now requires homeowners to get permits for simple tasks, such as work involving moving or adding an outlet inside the home. Waugh called the permits too restrictive and said Heath would consider going without a residential building code to prevent homeowners from having to get a permit for such minor repairs.

The city also has an issue with increased fees being charged for permits issued outside the Newark city limits, Waugh said. Newark raised its building-code fees earlier this year after learning the department was in danger of operating at a deficit.

Planning commission members heard a report June 25 from Jack Pryor, Newark's code administrator. Pryor said he's meeting with the state committee to see if cities could request exemptions from some minor permits.

Pryor said changes in the residential building code might be recommended by the residential construction advisory committee (RCAC), a subcommittee of the Ohio Board of Building Standards. The RCAC requested a list of Heath's potential exemptions.

Pryor asked to work with John Groff, Heath's chief of the division of building and zoning, to get the list together.

Kim Blackstone, director of the Building Industry Association (BIA), said, "We're pleased with the fact that Heath is allowing the process to work through."

Blackstone said the BIA "is not in favor of doing away with residential inspections locally" but said going without any residential building code is "not a good thing for the community."

If the state addresses Heath's concerns about the residential building code, Heath then would have to work out its concerns over Newark's fee increases.

Pryor said different Newark committees and city officials are looking at different ways to resolve that issue. Thus far, no solutions have been presented.

lwince@thisweeknews.com