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Building Board of Appeals 03-04-14.pdf

Building Board of Appeals 03-04-14.pdf

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Published by L. A. Paterson
Carmel City Council Agenda Item
Carmel City Council Agenda Item

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Published by: L. A. Paterson on Mar 01, 2014
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03/01/2014

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207
To: From:
ubmitted
by: Subject:
CITY
OF
CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA
Council Report March
4
2014 Honorable
ayor
and Members
of
the
City Council Jason Stilwell, City Administrator
Rob
Mullane,
AICP
Community Planning and Building Director Consideration
of
an
Ordinance (First Reading) Amending
the
Carmel-ByThe-Sea Municipal Code Making Revisions
to
the
Building Board
of
Appeals and Establishing a Process
for
Hearing Appeals related
to
Compliance
with
all State and Federal Disabled
Access
Requirements
Recommendation:
Conduct
first
reading
of
the
attached ordinance.
Executive Summary:
The City does
not
currently have seated a Building Board
of
Appeals,
nor
does
the
City have a mechani
sm
set up
to
hear appeals
for
matters related
to
compliance
with
both State and Federal disabled
access
requirements. The City s Municipal Code sets
forth the
membership requirements
of
the Building Board
of
Appeals,
as
well
as
the
process
for
hearing Building Code-related appeals. The current membership requirements are di
fficult
for
a
ity
of
Carmel s
size
to
meet, and
the
appeal processes are
not
in keeping
with the
state
of
the
industry. The proposed ordinance
would
amend Chapter 15.04
of
Title 15
of
the
City
of
Carmel Municipal Code
to
address these issues.
Analysis Discussion:
Background
nd
Role
of
the Building Board
of
Appeals
A Building Board
of
Appeals
is
the board
that
hears appeals
of
determinations made by
the
Building
Off
icial regarding building
permit
requirements or interpretations
of
the
Building Code. Sections 15.04.170 through 15.04.240 set
forth the
membership, authority, and procedures
for
the
Board
of
Appeals. The City s existing regulations
for
Sections 15.04.170 through 15.04.240 are included
as
Attachment B. Building Code requirements tend
to
be clearly defined,
but
there
are instances where
an
interpretation
is
needed. The Board
of
Appeals provides
an
appeal body
for
decisions
of
the
Building Official
with
which an
owner or
applicant disagrees.
1
 
208
In
part
because
of
the limited discretion in Building Code determinations,
the
City
has
not received a formal request
to
appeal a decision
of
the
Building
ff
icial in the last several years. Nonetheless,
the
establishment
of
such a board
is
required under
the
Municipal Code, and
the
City should have such a board seated in
the
event
that
an
appeal
is
received. This board would also hear appeals related
to
compliance
with
disabled
access
requirements and actions required
to
abate dangerous
or
unsafe buildings
as
set
forth
in Section 15.04.240
of
the
Municipal Code. For the Board
of
Appeals
to
have
the
requisite expertise
for
matters related
to
disabled
access
compliance,
for
any hearing on
an
disabled access-related matter,
the
board s membership should be augmented
to
include
two
members
who
are
either
disabled
or
qualified
to
address disabled
access
matters.
Issues
wit
xisting Provisions
-
Membership
The existing Municipal Code sets
forth the
membership
of
the
Board
of
Appeals
to
include five members,
of
which
four
are regular members
that
hear all Building appeals
brought forth
. The
four
regular members are required
to
have specific qualifications
as
follows: one architect, one civil
or
structural engineer, on general contractor, and one layman. The
fifth
member
is
represented by one
of
three alternates each
with
their own
special qualifications: a qualified plumbing contractor
or
plumber, a qualified electrical contractor
or
electrician, and a qualified mechanical contractor.
n
general matters, any one
of
the alternates sits on
the
board;
for
matters
that
are field-specific (i.e., plumbing-, electrical-,
or
mechanical-related,
the
appropriately-qualified alternate sits on
the
board. Section 15.04.180 also requires
that four
of
the members
of
the
board be residents
of
the
City.
Such
requirements, including
the
residency requirement, present a challenge
for
a City the
size
of
Carmel. Staff recommends revisions
to
the
membership
of
the
Board
of
Appeals. The Board
of
Appeals
would
still have five members
with three
core members sitting on all appeal
matters
and
two
disabled
access
members
or
experts
who
would
only participate on
the
board
for
matters related
to
disabled
access
compliance issues. The core members would have
the
following
qualifications: one architect
or
(civil
or
structural) engineer, one general contractor, and a
third member who
may have expertise in
the
construction
or
building field
or
who may be a layperson.
 
209
Staff also recommends
that
the
residency requirement
be
revised. The staff-recommended change
would
still maintain a requirement
that the majority
of
the
core board members be City residents. Revisions
to
Section 15.04.180
of
the
City's Municipal Code have been drafted
to
address membership and purview
of
the
Board
of
Appeals. While
not
an
ex officio
member
of
the
board,
the
Building Official would participate
in
the
hearing
as
would
the
appellant. The Building Official's participation would provide technical expertise regarding
the
Building Code and disabled
access
compliance requirements
as
well
as
assistance in ensuring
that
the issue
of
dispute
is
correctly conveyed and understood.
Issues
wit
xisting Provisions
-
Process
The Board
of
Appeals should include a
majority
of
the
members
that
are technical experts and knowledgeable in building issues. This board
would
be hearing appeals
of
the
City's chief technical expert on building and safety issues:
the
Building Official. The
current
version
of
Chapter 15.04 includes
the
potential
for
the
Planning Commission
to
sit
as
the
Board
of
Appeals when a conflict arises in
the
composition
of
the
Board. Furthermore, Section 15.04.220 establishes a provision
for
appealing a decision
of
the Board
of
Appeals
to
the
City Council. While
the
retention
of
the
Planning Commission
as
a potential substitute
for
the Board
of
Appeals may
be
appropriate
from
a technical expertise perspective,
the
Ci
ty
Council may
not
have this expertise.
n
addition, having either
the
Planning Commission
or
the
City Council involved in appeals
of
Building Code
or
disabled access compliance items takes issues
that
are technical in nature and places
them
in
the
political arena.
ther
cities have recognized this
as
a potential problem and
omitted
an
appeal process
that
involves either
the
City Council
or the
Planning Commission. Instead,
the
Board
of
Appeals
is
the
final City decisionmaking body
for
considering these technical issues. An
owner
or
applicant who disagrees
with the
decision
of
the
Board
of
Appeals
would
need
to
seek remedy
with
the courts.
n
general, when such matters are
brought
before
the
Superior Court,
the
court defers
to
the
technical experts on
the
technical issues, and
rather
focuses on
whether the correct
procedural process was
followed
. Staff recommends removing
the
Appeal
to
the City Council provisions in Sections 15.04.220 and

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