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Local News

Yorkville City Council approves new building codes

UPDATED 10 A.M. WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 25:

YORKVILLE – The Yorkville City Council approved building code updates during their meeting this week.

The City Council voted, 8-0, to approve the updates to the city's building code from the 2009 International Building Code Series to the 2018 code during their regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 24 at City Hall. There was no additional discussion from aldermen on the matter prior to the vote.

The building code updates included alternative construction methods for newly-constructed homes that are not equipped with fire sprinklers, including increased fire blocking requirements, distances from lot line for windows and doors, and height requirements for heating appliances.

Jim Bateman, fire chief for the Bristol-Kendall Fire Protection District, said during the Tuesday, Sept. 24 meeting that the fire protection district supports the updates.

"I, of course, being on the fire side of it, would like to see every building in Yorkville have sprinkler systems, but we understand that is cost prohibitive," Bateman said.

Bateman said those updates will not only help residents but will also protect his firefighters that go in and fight those fires within the city. He also said he would like to explore the possibility of adding a fire protection district representative back to the city's planning and zoning commission.

The vote and Bateman's comments come after building code officials talked about the proposed changes during the Sept. 10 City Council meeting. No vote was taken during that meeting regarding the proposed changes.

Pete Ratos, building code official for United City of Yorkville, said during an Aug. 14 public hearing for the proposed updates that the city has been working with code officials from the county and nearby municipalities because they’re also looking to make similar changes to their own codes.

“And we want to kind of stay in lockstep with them and where they’re going to be at,” Ratos said.

Ratos had said the cost to add sprinklers for new construction would end up driving up the cost of the project by 7% or 12%.

“We would love to include [the sprinklers], but from what we’ve talked about with our local builders and things, it would push the price threshold of homes in the area,” Ratos said.

Ratos said during the Aug. 14 public hearing the changes would also include updates regarding solar panels on roofs, where walkways would need to be constructed for first responders to help better ventilate burning structures. He said dead tree removal requirements have also been more clearly outlined for better enforcement on the city's part, especially if those dead trees end up being 150 feet tall on some properties.

“If they fall, they’re not necessarily going to fall only on your property,” Ratos said.

Ratos said the plan is to have the updated code go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. He had said the goal was to have the changes pass as soon as possible so residents and builders have enough time to review the changes and don't run into compliance issues during the next construction season.

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