Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hailey adopts ‘green’ building code

Build Better Program to become mandatory May 1

Express Staff Writer

    The Hailey City Council voted unanimously Monday to make mandatory the Build Better Program for all residential and commercial building permit applications, but allowed for “flexibility” in case of undue hardship placed on contractors or homeowners because of the requirement.
    The Build Better Program, which goes into effect May 1, requires new construction, remodels and additions to provide at least a 10 percent improvement in energy efficiency above the 2009 International Building Code requirements.
    The City Council passed an ordinance Monday requiring that builders meet the 10 percent improvement “to the greatest extent possible” unless it would create “undue hardship on the applicant and not materially advance the goal of this ordinance to conserve energy, water and other natural resources.”
    The council added the language to allow the Hailey Building Department to apply a loose interpretation of the requirements, which in some cases could become cost-prohibitive.
    Based on data supplied by Hailey Sustainability Coordinator Mariel Platt, the Build Better Program’s basic requirements would cost an additional $1,400 for construction of a $300,000 home.
    Platt’s data indicate that improving energy efficiency 10 percent above the 2009 code would produce energy cost savings of $139 per home per year. At current energy costs, the initial cost for building under the Build Better Program would be paid back in eight to 10 years.
    Councilman Don Keirn said he thinks the program would likely cost more than stated, but that in the long run it would be well-received by Hailey residents.
    “I think homeowners will benefit from lower utility bills and greater comfort,” Keirn said.
    Mayor Fritz Haemmerle said it would be important to notify builders that the city of Hailey has an appeals process, whereby those seeking building permits who have problems meeting the city’s building code can appeal to a board of building professionals to find solutions.

    In other Hailey news:
- Developer John Campbell presented to the Hailey City Council a petition with 170 names calling for the city to abandon an appeals process to reverse a federal bankruptcy court decision that restricts the city from collecting $2.5 million in annexation fees from Old Cutters Inc.
- The City Council expressed support for the merger of the Hailey Arts Commission and the Hailey Historic Preservation Commission, instructing legal staff to research the legality of the move.

Tony Evans:

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