BELDING — At the request of Belding Fire Chief and City Code Official Gregg Moore, members of Belding City Council officially adopted the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code (IMPC) during Tuesday night’s meeting.
According to Moore, the code, which has been upgraded since the city instituted the previous maintenance code in 2009, now includes boarding standards for the closing of damaged or vacant structures.
Moore said the International Code Council (ICC) “has been instrumental in writing building, electrical, mechanical and plumbing codes.”
“The staff at the ICC is made up of building code officials, architects, engineers and safety officers, and is written in clear text, easily understood and enforceable,” he said. “The IMPC gives a firm language to the official who enforces the codes regarding blight, sanitary conditions and the maintenance of buildings.”
The adoption of the new code passed 4-1, with council member Joe Feuerstein opposed because of the vagueness of the code and problems with its “fairness.”
“I can’t vote on this to be passed unless somebody can guarantee to me that it is done in a fair manner,” Feuerstein said.
Feuerstein referenced the condemned Gibson building on the corner of Bridge and Main streets as an example of a building that was treated with separate standards, citing that the previous owner was never delivered fines in accordance with the previous property maintenance code.
Feuerstein also stated that he doesn’t believe the property maintenance code can be properly enforced by Moore and those he has trained in code enforcement, because of a lack of manpower and experience.
Moore admitted fines were not handed out in the instance of the Gibson building, now owned by Electrolux, but said that the previous owner Bob Toll would not have been able to pay those fines. Moore said he and the city “strived to achieve compliance with Bob and his property as oppose to fining him.”
“Electrolux is a whole different ballgame,” Moore said. “But my thought is, we’ve been quite fair straight across the board. We’ve addressed it with good results.”
According to City Manager Randy DuBruine, the 2012 code “goes almost identical” to the 2009 code, and if the board voted down the new 2012 code the city would have continued to have operated under the 2009 code.
Moore said the adoption of the code will have no financial impact directly on the city of Belding, however, “increased value in well maintained homes and properties could have a positive effect on property values, in turn directly affecting the city budget.”