Owen Ordinance Committee discusses building permit process


The Owen Ordinance Committee met on Thursday, March 14 with most of the discussion being about how building permits are issued and fire code rules. Chief of Police Patrick Fehlman and Fire Chief Travis Serocki have spent some time looking over the fire code and trying to find ways to make penalties for violations stick. Serocki said that when they do fire inspections, they can tell someone to fix the violation, but if they don’t, his only option is to shut the business down. This has already happened with L.A.S.T. Ace after their fire as electrical code violations were found. They had applied for a building permit to do siding only. They are also working with issues in regard to a couple of other businesses in town, one of which did more than what was listed on their permit. There was no state approved plan and those violations have currently been turned over to the state. Another business applied for a permit to build an addition with no state approved plan.
If the building is 25,000 cubic feet or less, no state plan is needed. Plans may be needed for plumbing or electrical work, however. Another business is changing the use of a building, which requires state approved plans.
Serocki questioned how picky they should get with violations, but said that the fire department is being audited on how they handle these situations too. Per city ordinance NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) codes need to be followed. When violations are found during a fire inspections, a business is given time to correct the violation. Per city ordinance, they can be cited for ordinance violations at the rate of $10 per day, retroactive to the date the warning was given if the violation is not corrected.
Chief Fehlman said they need to start “cracking down on it.” He questioned what should be done when construction has already begun and there are no state approved plans.
State statute in regard to building permits was also looked at. Most commercial and multi-family buildings are required to have state approved plans when a building is built, altered, or added to before construction begins. The Ordinance Committee is meeting again on April 4 to continue the discussion of how to handle the building permit process, but as of now, going forward owners of commercial buildings will have to get state approved plans and identify contractors doing the work on their permit application.