CLINTON — Safety issues are on the agenda for the Clinton City Council’s committee of the whole meeting, with the council to talk about inflatable pools and fire code updates.

The inflatable pool discussion surfaced at the council’s meeting two weeks ago.

During that session, Ward 1 Councilman Bob Soesbe said he is concerned with the number of inflatable pools set up in the city. He noted the pools can be 4 feet deep, many have no fences around them and that water stays in them around the clock because the cost of water is so great. He noted Camanche recently decided to safen pools.

Camanche’s ordinance, which was approved by its council June 6, states that a fence must be constructed around pools that have side walls that are greater than 2 feet in height. The fence must be 4 feet tall.

Based on discussion two years ago, Clinton councilmen were under the impression that Clinton’s current ordinance applies only to permanent pools, not temporary ones such as inflatables. However, City Attorney Matt Brisch read from the current ordinance, which states portables also must have fences around them — that would include inflatable pools. More discussion will take place Tuesday.

The Clinton City Council also will discuss fire code updates. In mid-June, the Clinton Fire Department sent a letter to city officials concerning changes they want to see in code enforcement.

On June 6, CFD command staff met with Ward 2 Councilman Mike Kearney to discuss what needs to be done to allow for historic renovations within the community. The conversation progressed to the point of what needs to be done to allow for consistent building regulation in lieu of the lack of a building department.

Kearney, who is building manager of the Van Allen, Howes and Armstrong buildings, also was present at a recent Clinton Fire and Housing Board of Appeals meeting in which city fire officials and the developers of the Armstrong building were at odds over how a ceiling should look and at the same time protect residents should a fire break out.

The developers, Community Housing Initiatives, sought to keep the floor joists exposed so those who live in the second-floor apartments will have the feeling of being in a warehouse, something developers said provides an atmosphere similar to the building’s use many years ago.

But fire officials said such a design would not provide a one-hour fire rating, something they say is very important should fire break out in a very old building that will be full of residents. The plan as presented by CHI is predicted to have a 30-minute, or possibly a 45-minute, fire rating. The board of appeals denied CHI’s appeal, mentioning the issue could be brought before the City Council for more discussion.

According to a June 7 memo from the city’s fire chief, fire marshal and planning director to the council, there currently is no permit process in place in Clinton for construction projects that do not change the outline of the building.

“In other words, you can do a multi-million dollar change of occupancy, but aren’t required to obtain a permit unless you are erecting a fence or a sign in front,” the letter read.

The letter states the adopted fire code allows the city to require such a permit; this would allow for a plan review requirement and the requirement that no work begin without prior approval. The memo lists action items that include requiring a permit on all change of occupancies, considering a permit requirement if the cost of remodeling is over a certain percentage of the value of the building and requiring the owner or contractor to supply building plans for approval prior to beginning the project.

The city has adopted the 1997 Uniform Fire Code but, in the letter, fire officials say it is outdated. The recommendation by city fire officials is to look into the adoption of the current issue of the International Fire Code. Fire officials list considering fire code amendments to require fire sprinklers for all new drinking and dining establishments; considering an amendment for fire sprinklers for all new multi-family residential structures that have more than three units and considering a fire alarm amendment for all new commercial construction.

“Obviously, the adoption of a complete family of codes, (building, electrical, plumbing, etc.) would be the best solution, although we all know the chances of having the public agree with that,” the letter read. “There may be other ways, however to sure that work is done to nationally recognized codes.”

Local fire officials state the fire code addresses the right of the Authority Having Jurisdiction to require an independent third-party inspection of completed work and that could be a better way for the city to get its foot in the door.

Also, by licensing contractors and requiring them to do work in accordance with recognized standards, the city could have a little more control of the quality of work performed. This would not include do-it-yourselfers, the letter states.

City fire officials are requesting additional research be undertaken by the city attorney or the planning director.

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