County to tackle building code issue next week

Published 12:30 am Saturday, November 1, 2014

Building codes for future construction outside Vicksburg city limits for the first time is apparently dead on arrival, as Warren County officials appear poised to formally opt out of the process when supervisors meet Monday.
A statewide building code effective in August requires cities and counties to adopt any of the three most recent editions of the International Building Code as a minimum standard and codes in the Mississippi Builders Codes Council, which addresses plumbing and electrical standards. But, the law is riddled with loopholes and county supervisors who lean on cost as a reason to not create an inspections department said they’d easily beat a Nov. 30 deadline to make a decision.
“It’s an unfunded mandate,” Board of Supervisors president Bill Lauderdale said this week as the board spent about three minutes reviewing the issue. Earlier this month, homebuilders appealed to supervisors to adopt some form of construction standard to ensure a level playing field for the industry locally.
Lauderdale and District 5 Supervisor Richard George indicated each was waiting on the other to bring up the topic when the board met formally Oct. 20. No such motion came about. District 2 Supervisor William Banks indicated the board would simply follow the advice of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, which was to act soon.
“They were telling us at the meeting that if you’re going to do it, do it and get it done,” Banks said. “If not, you’re going to be stuck creating a department.”
District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon and District 1 Supervisor John Arnold have favored adopting a minimum building construction standard, citing a need for future economic growth.
Localities may opt out by enacting it, then voting to opt out within 90 days. Exemptions to the new law include manufactured homes, mobile homes, hunting/fishing camps and certain other commerce-related structures are exempt, as are structures built at the Neshoba County Fair and those used for personal-use timber from Pearl River County. It would not affect future eligibility for buying out property damaged in floods.
No construction or land-use regulations exist in nonmunicipal Warren County. Construction outside the city involves only a building permit that costs $5 in most cases. Inside the city, building a home or business can cost between $15 and $1,660, depending on value according to industry standards.

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