The Orrick Board of Aldermen will hold a special meeting tomorrow night to put a definition to building code setbacks.
The issue was raised last Thursday night at the city’s regular monthly meeting when resident Larry Cook said his measurements are different than the measurements of E.J. Foster, who was hired by the city to make the measurements.
Cook said his measurements are 20 feet from the side of the road. Foster’s measurements are 20 feet from the edge of the sidewalk, which is a difference of about six feet. At dispute is where the set back should be measured.
Alderman Jim Eubank pointed out that the International Building Codes Book, that the city adopted, doesn’t say where to measure. Eubank said the city needs to define it.
“This is going to come up again,” Eubank said. “If we get another guy and he measures it differently they’ll have a problem. I think the real question is where do you start, and there is nothing in here that says go.”
Cook however believes that the city is just picking and choosing who they want to enforce the codes against. City Attorney Kevin Baldwin told Cook that is not the case. Baldwin said ever since he became the city’s attorney 18 months ago, everyone has had to follow the code.
“I was hired to make sure that this book was adhered to by everybody,” Baldwin explained to Cook. “When I came in, people wanted to do things outside of the code. My first response was we either follow the code or we don’t. But if you’re not going to follow the code, then don’t have me here because there is no point.”
Baldwin added that it might seem unfair to Cook because he is blazing a new trail with the city.
Cook said that the weather is changing and time is running out. He said the city has had plenty of time to figure this one out.
“The city has had my drawing for a year and a half. How come now that we got the permit we have to measure everything?” Cook asked.
Alderwoman Christi McGlothlin somewhat agreed with Cook. She said where Cook has his stakes now seems to be correct.
“Have you looked at those stakes?” she asked. “There’s more view on that corner than the corner my house sits on.”
Eubank suggested the city investigate the matter quickly so that Cook can get construction under way.
“If all of a sudden Mr. Foster is correct in his measurement, we’re going to have to deal with that then,” Eubank said. “Right now it’s not fair to rule on it when we can’t know for sure.”
Eubank suggested contacting three cities, Richmond, Lawson and Excelsior Springs, to see where they measure from and then go from there.