By concensus, the Kingman City Council has approved City Manager John Dougherty’s request to apply a more liberal approach to application and enforcement of the city-adopted International Building Code (IBC). Dougherty asked for council direction, noting that he and key staff members were not on the same page on the issue.
Dougherty said he favored strict enforcement of the IBC in the new construction arena, but asked for latitude when dealing with older buildings and their renovation.
“I’m now asking for some leeway in that strict interpretation, particularly to older buildings,” Dougherty said during the July 19 council meeting. “For new construction I think we should be following IBC, but for old buildings I think that’s very difficult to do in most cases.”
Council members supported Dougherty’s approach, provided public protection is ensured.
“To me, first and foremost is health and safety,” Councilman Mark Abram said. “If a permit’s required, a permit’s required, but I would agree that when we’re dealing with old buildings then maybe some leeway needs to be leveraged.”
Mayor Richard Anderson said staff must be entrusted to pursue a proper balance.
“That’s the thing that I think all communities are challenged with is working to become business friendly but still be safety conscious,” Anderson said.
Attorney Mark Sippel spoke passionately in encouraging the City Council to help stimulate a cultural change, permeating the community to nurture a more business friendly environment. Council member Stuart Yocum agreed.
“My personal opinion would be that we try to be as cooperative and business friendly toward our downtown merchants, our downtown business owners and our older property owners to get these buildings fixed up and usable as quickly and effectively as possible,” Yocum said.