By Mark Carlisle
Glendale City Council will vote Tuesday on a new fire code that will outline new laws around food trucks, update requirements for emergency sprinkler systems and restrict the amount residents can be prosecuted for a single for a single offense of the city’s fire code.
This will be the first time in nearly a decade that Glendale will update its fire code. The new code uses the 2018 International Fire Code as a structure and includes amendments, additions and deletions made by city staff and Glendale’s Business Council Committee, which includes three City Council members.
The city’s fire code seeks to ensure buildings constructed in Glendale meet minimum standards for safety and public health.
While Council still can make additional amendments to the drafted fire code before it votes on it in it’s 5:30 p.m. Tuesday Council meeting, the draft isn’t likely to be altered further. The draft came before Council for review and discussion last month, but Council sent it on to a vote without any discussion.
The only comment during that Tuesday, Nov. 27 meeting was Yucca District Councilwoman Joyce Clark, chairwoman of the Business Council Committee, recounting the committee’s work on the draft and recommending it be passes as is.
“Excruciatingly and painfully we went through all of the fire code amendments,” Ms. Clark said. “We deleted some, amended some and approved some as they stood. And we would hope that the recommendations which are incorporated within the material that was presented to you be accepted as presented.”
Glendale currently operates on an amended version of the 2009 International Fire Code, which the city adopted in 2010. A new version of the International Fire Code is put out every three years
In a Council meeting earlier this year, Glendale Fire Marshal Charles Jenkins and Glendale building safety official Stephen Dudley said it’s typical for a city to skip a code cycle. However, Glendale skipped the 2015 fire code, making a nine-year gap, in order get the city’s fire and building codes on the same year. Most Valley cities will also be adopting the 2018 fire code, according to Glendale city staff, creating more consistency throughout the Valley.
Glendale staff and Business Council Committee have also reviewed and edited the 2018 building code, but no date has been set for the drafted building code to come before City Council.
Food trucks are far more prominent now than in 2010 when Glendale’s current fire code was adopted. The new fire code requires food trucks to be inspected by any city or town’s fire department in the state once a year and before beginning operations. The new could would not require food trucks to obtain any special permit not required for other mobile vending businesses.
Any violation of Glendale’s fire code is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can be penalized by a $2,500 fine or six months in jail. Under Glendale’s current fire code, each day of a violation constitutes a separate offense. Members of Glendale’s business committee felt this was too strict and eliminated that provision from the drafted law.
The new law requires medical care buildings such as hospitals to be equipped with automatic sprinklers throughout but allows them to be installed up to a year after written notification.
Under exemptions from automatic sprinkler requirements, current law lists specific uses for outdoor canopies. The new drafted law would broaden the language to canopies that are used “exclusively for shade purposes.” The broadened language aims to lessen the burden on property owners in Glendale by not requiring sprinkler systems be installed on outdoor canopies as long as they are under 5,000 square feet and meet the city’s non-combustible requirements.
The new law would also require all properties and structures being annexed into Glendale pass an investigation and evaluation.
The drafted fire code also defers procedures of appeals processes to the city’s building code.
The city fell more than six months short of its original goal to make the new fire code law by the start of the 2018 fiscal year on July 1. Instead, the new code will go into effect 30 days after it’s approved on by Council, which, if the law is approved Tuesday, would be Thursday, Jan. 10.