Mono County’s Board of Supervisors started the New Year by, among other things, taking up an ordinance amending Chapter 15.04 of Mono County Code that pertains to building regulations and uniform codes.
Essentially, the ordinance adopts and carries over numerous variances that were already approved and in place as of 2007. It does NOT, however, say anything about the Board approving the state’s new CalGreen building regulations, though as of Jan. 1 the new green construction standards took effect across California.
Supervisors had any language removed from the ordinance that would indicate their acceptance of the two new CalGreen chapters. The rest of the ordinance, however, was apparently necessary to make sure that builders and developers have variances in place that were previously in effect and are better and more applicable to the area than their state code counterparts. That’s the position of County Counsel Stacey Simon as well as Tom Perry of the County Building Division.
The Board, however, asked County staff to comb through the green building requirements and come back with recommendations for finding possible climate, geographical or topographical exceptions to parts of the mandate that make sense for Mono County. The three categories are listed by the state as those allowed for opt-out or other exemptions that can be enacted by local and county municipalities.
“[The CalGreen code] hasn’t been mitigated,” newly elected Board Chair Hap Hazard said. “It needs work, it’s not ready.” Hazard called the language in many parts of the new green codes “too vague,” as well as “unclear” and in some cases, especially those involving fire suppression, “inappropriate.” Hazard added his opinion that the fire suppression regulations were based on data compiled mostly from cities that has little relation to the realities of life in rural areas, such as Mono County.
Newly seated Board member Larry Johnston suggested taking a harder look at fire regulations and how those relate to lot density, adding he isn’t ready to adopt any of the green code yet.
Perry acknowledged that the green codes mean “a lot of extra work” for builders and other related professions, though he did say more modifiable templates are being uploaded to the state’s web site all the time. He also outlined a glut of last minute permits and plans submitted before the end of 2010, which Hazard commented tells him “the people don’t like [CalGreen].”