Some construction regulations are called crazy or ridiculous

April 29, 2017

Rome architect Mark Cochran called some of the building code regulations that govern new construction in Rome, and all over Georgia, “crazy” and “ridiculous” on Friday. Cochran testified after being called before the committee which is working to streamline the process for opening or expanding a business in Rome.

Vic Hixon, who is attempting to open a new car detail shop and construct a new shop building, also complained about some of the regulations he has been dealing with. “If I’m building on a street with no sidewalks, why do I have to have a sidewalk?” Hixon asked the panel. “It should be more of a common sense approach.”

Commissioner Craig McDaniel said after several months of meetings with contractors, architects, engineers and real estate developers, “We’re all in agreement that we’re to a point where we need to make some changes.”

Cochran told the committee one West Rome project which originally wanted a larger new building, reduced the scope of the project to 4,998 square feet, 2 feet less than the number that would have required the building to be sprinkled. Cochran said getting a fire suppression water line to the building would have cost $40,000 before the cost of actually installing sprinklers.

Cochran said he understood the need for sprinkling Broad Street buildings, which are attached to one another and if one caught fire a whole block could be involved in no time at all.

“But it (sprinkler systems) is over burdensome on new construction,” Cochran said.

In past meetings, the committee has heard numerous complaints about the Historic Preservation Commission. Cochran, who has served on the HPC, said he felt the panel was particularly important for the Between the Rivers and Broad Street districts. “Broad Street looks like it does for reason,” Cochran said.

He then suggested the HPC might not be as important in other historic areas.

Cochran specifically mentioned landscaping requirements in the Unified Land Development Code as being out of touch. “We can’t prescribe beauty,” Cochran said.

Hixon told the committee he’d been working on the development of a new detail shop for close to a year, and felt like he had been “ping-ponged” from one office to another on more than one occasion. He said he’s never been able to get erosion control questions answered, and if he needed someone to draw plans related to erosion control it could add between $7,000 and $13,000 to his cost.


Read this story online for a link to the Rome city website.