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Ordinance (First Reading) Establishing a Process for Hearing Appeals Related to Compliance With All State and Federal Disabled Access Requirements 04-01-14

Ordinance (First Reading) Establishing a Process for Hearing Appeals Related to Compliance With All State and Federal Disabled Access Requirements 04-01-14

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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 29, 2014
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03/29/2014

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215
To:
From: Submitted by: Subject:
CITY
OF
CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA
Council Report
April1
2014 Honorable
Mayor
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 mechanism 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
difficult
for
a City
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
ppeals
A Building Board
of
Appeals
is
the
board
that
hears appeals
of
determinations made by
the
Building Official 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
 
216
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 Official
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
acces
s 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
follow
s:
one architect, one civil
or
structural engineer, one 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.
On
general
matter
s
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
C
ity
. 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
s
till
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
cons
truction
or
building field
or who
may be a layperson.
2
 
217
Staff also recommends
that
requirement for the
majority
of
the
Board
to
be City residents
be
retained by applying this residency requirement
to the
core board membership. However, because
of
the
specialized nature
of
accessibility expertise,
staff
recommends
that
no residency requirement be applied
to the
two
additional Board members
who
participate in accessibility-related decisions. The Council, in appointing these members, could take residency
into
consideration. Revisions
to
Section 15.04.180
of
the City's Municipal Code have been drafted
to
address membership and purview
of
the
Board
of
Appe
als
.
Wh
ile
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.
ssues with
xisting Provisions Process
The Board
of
Appeals should include a
majority
of
the
members
that
are technical experts
an
d knowledgeable in building issues. This board
would
be hearing appeals
of
the
City's chief technical expert on building and safety i
ss
ue
s:
the Building Official. The current version
of
Chapter 15.04 includes
the
potential
for the
Planning Commis
si
on
to
sit
as
the
Board
of
Appeals when a conflict ari
ses
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
City Council may
not
have this expertise. In 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. Instea
d
the
Board
of
Appeals
is
the
final City decision making body
for
considering these techn
ica
l issue
s.
An
owner or
applicant
who
disagrees
with the
decision
of
the Board
of
Appeals would need
to
seek remedy with
the
courts. In general, when such
matter
s are
brought
before
the
Superior Court,
the
court defers
to
the
technical
3

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