Taneytown Council May Revise Sprinkler Ordinance

May 22, 1991|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

TANEYTOWN — The City Council is considering revising its sprinkler ordinance to require sprinklers in some new commercial construction and in building renovations under certain conditions.

The recommendations under the council's consideration would require sprinkler systems to be installed in new single-story buildings 8,500 square feet or larger and multistory buildings 10,500 square feet or larger.

After reviewing the recommendations, drafted by Councilman ThomasJ. Denike, officials decided to seek input from the fire company andstate fire marshal. The council could introduce an ordinance at its June 10 meeting.

Denike made his recommendations after researchingstate and county requirements for sprinkler systems in new commercial construction, building renovations and resi

dential dwellings. He reviewed ordinances in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and in Gaithersburg, Montgomery County.

Outlining his recommendations Monday night, Denike, the council's newest member, said the city's ordinance is too restrictive because of it sets no size limitations oncommercial construction and because of the renovation clause.

Theordinance requires new commercial construction, regardless of size, to include

sprinkler systems. All renovations, repairs and remodeling to existing commercial buildings must include sprinkler systems in the entire building. In addition, multifamily dwellings, such as town homes and duplexes, must have sprinklers. Single-family homes are exempt from the ordinance.

Members of the business community have complained the ordinance creates a hardship and will curb developmentand downtown revitalization.

"I think all of us agree that we need to do something to liberalize (the ordinance)," said Mayor Henry I.Reindollar Jr.

If adopted, the city's revised ordinance would be more restrictive than state requirements, which Carroll County follows. The state requires sprinklers in all new commercial construction of single-story buildings over 12,000 square feet and multistory buildings over 15,000 square feet.

Sprinklers also may be required in other construction, depending on building use, occupancy and potentialhazards.

Denike recommended the city require sprinkler systems inbuilding renovations that expand a single-story structure to 8,500 square feet or larger and multistory building to 10,500 square feet orlarger. He also recommended the city follow state guidelines in requiring sprinklers when use or occupancy of a building changes.

The recommendations are more restrictive than the ordinance pertaining tonew commercial construction in Gaithersburg, where sprinklers are required in single-story buildings 10,000 square feet or larger and in multistory buildings 12,000 square feet or larger.

Since almost half of all fires and the majority of fire-related deaths occur in one-and two-family homes, Denike said it is logical to include those dwellings for future sprinkler consideration.

His recommendation? To require, by 1996, all new residential dwellings, including one- and two-family homes, to have sprinklers installed at time of construction.

"If Taneytown wants to remain in the forefront of fire/life safety, we must continually analyze and evaluate the needs of our community," Denike said.

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