Time to update building codes
June 27, 2001
If all parties agreed that current building codes actually discourage construction of new homes in the city of Meridian, then it should be a simple matter to change them. It would seem to be in the city's best interests to encourage homeownership and its resultant benefits.
But modifying construction codes is never a simple matter. Veteran builders have told The Meridian Star both on and off the record that Meridian's administrative processes, a "dictatorial attitude" in the Community Development Department and a 35-year-old set of building codes actually work against growth.
For their part, city development officials agree some of the codes do not account for modern construction techniques, yet maintain they administer all of them fairly.
Not even absolutely fair implementation of outdated codes will reverse Meridian's population slide when the codes themselves need updating.
Perhaps the time has come to revisit the issue and develop a set of codes that protects the structural integrity of buildings, as well as public health and safety, while at the same time encouraging developers to build in the city.
Community Development director Don Farrar seemed to be saying as much with his comment that "We want workable regulations and codes that are unrestrictive, but at the same time promotes safety and a quality product for our city."
Okay, now that we know where the major interests stand, let's get on with the job.