The HBA’s I&E Committee conducted 4th quarter meetings with both Greene County and the City of Springfield building officials to discuss issues affecting our industry.
The City of Springfield announced its intention to stay in sync with the County and other surrounding jurisdictions by delaying adoption of the ’09 IRC for the time-being. This consideration helps strengthen the industry locally and ease pressure on future homebuyers at a time when other factors continue to create multiple challenges for residential construction and the housing market at large.
In September the County informed us of its intention to delay adoption of the ’09 International Residential Code and the ’08 NEC, because of the additional cost involved for both the county and potential homeowners. This was greatly appreciated as the HBA Codes Committee’s initial analysis indicated that at least 40+ new provisions in the IRC/NEC could potentially add anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than $20,000 to the cost of building of new home here, depending upon a number of variables.
Additional news from the County included a report that the Land Use Plan was passed by the planning board and the commission. At the commission meeting, there were some dissenting voices regarding exclusion of the ag reserve zoning but because the prior public involvement/input process had been exhaustive, the commission moved forward to approve. The HBA and the GSBOR were both active participants in that initial input process through a task force facilitate by the Springfield Chamber. County staff reported that in 2-3 years, the informal process of public input and review will begin again as the plan calls for review in 5 year increments. They have asked MU Extension Service to help facilitate that discussion in the future and plan to invite task force members again for input, as well as other group representatives who express an interest.
For Greene County, Single Family permits are at 247 to date – that is not far below the YTD # this time last year which was 271; 2008 total was 291. The county discussed plans to begin permitting decks without a roof which are 30″ or higher (which can include handicapped ramps and similar structures which achieve same height.) This is contiguous with the city’s practice to issue permits for this type of deck. The county will charge a flat fee of $25 for these permits. There will probably two inspections required – footings and final. The county also indicated that they are not planning to raise existing fees for next year.
In City news, staff updated the HBA regarding changes to a zoning ordinance, approved by City Council, related to accessory structures such as garages and coach houses. The current zoning ordinance limits the height of accessory structures to 16 feet, unless an exception is made, and this approved amendment loosens some of the criteria for an exception. For example, a lot used to have to be a half-acre for a height exception to be made but now a secondary structure higher than 16 feet can be built on a lot smaller than that as long as its height and style are consistent with the primary building and it fits in with the character of the neighborhood. This should offer some additional flexibility for those seeking to make property improvements by building an accessory structure adjacent to their home.
If you would like a copy of the modified ordinance, email Jennifer by clicking here.