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BUENA PARK : Building, Fire Code Changes Given Preliminary OK

City Council members ended years of dispute this week by giving a preliminary nod to building and fire code changes that will affect only new homes and structures getting major make-overs.

Previous councils had grappled with the question of what homes would be required to have sprinklers, finally applying the requirement to all homes of 2,500 square feet or more. But residents were unhappy and building inspectors had informally stopped issuing citations at homes lacking required sprinklers, said Lee Hitchcock, the Building and Safety manager.

But at a meeting earlier this week, Orange County Fire Authority officials gave the City Council another option: requiring sprinklers only in new homes or homes where owners are remodeling more than 75% of the structure. By adopting this measure, the city will free current homeowners of any extra expenses.

Residents remodeling their homes may argue hardship if the cost of installing sprinklers exceeds 5% of the cost of the project, officials said, and possibly obtain a waiver of the sprinkler requirement.

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The city has the opportunity to adopt the change now because the state is in the process of revising its code, officials said. The city, which must conform to state codes, closed its fire department and joined the new fire authority along with 19 other cities in May, 1994.

The authority is trying to standardize codes among the 20 cities, Fire Marshal Patrick L. Walker said. Six cities have already adopted the authority’s amendment.

The council is expected to formally adopt the amended code at its Nov. 6 meeting at 5 p.m. at City Hall, 6650 Beach Blvd.


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