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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Ind. Gov't. - Interesting dispute among state bureaucrats and the locals

From the June 7th Chesterton Tribune, this story by Paulene Poparad that begins:

Burns Harbor got ahead of the Indiana State Building Department in adopting new laws to address faster-burning, pre-engineered wood trusses, but now the state has caught up and wants changes to the town’s ordinance.

Bill Arney, Burns Harbor building commissioner and fire chief, brought the news to the town’s Advisory Plan Commission on Monday.

Arney said Indiana’s law won’t take effect until January 1, 2012 so the town’s ordinance still would be enforceable until that time, but one problem already has presented itself.

Burns Harbor requires a metal tag be affixed at the utility meter outside the home and Arney said he’s purchased $900 worth of tags, however, the state says their size is too small and they want stickers instead.

The tags notify emergency responders that glued, pre-engineered lumber was used during construction for the floors and/or ceilings, which under heat can give way posing a danger to firefighters and others. In December, 2010 a fire spread quickly through a Burns Harbor home where such trusses had been used.

Arney said he’s making the case to state officials including the State Fire Marshal that stickers placed on meters can wear away over time or be damaged/destroyed in a fire while the metal tags should survive.

Plan Commission and Town Council member Toni Biancardi asked if the town ordinance could be more stringent than state building code. Hesham Khalil of town engineer Global Engineering and Land Surveying said yes, but Indiana’s building and fire offices still would have to approve it.

According to Arney, the state also doesn’t like Burns Harbor’s language describing the pre-engineered/manufactured lumber, the maximum fine possible for non-compliance, and the price of the metal tag homeowners or builders would be required to purchase.

Although the Plan Commission worked with Arney to fashion Burns Harbor’s fire-tag ordinance originally, associate town attorney Julie Paulson said it will be up to the Town Council to adopt the needed amendments.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 8, 2011 10:44 AM
Posted to Indiana Government