El Paso County Board of Commissioners Move Forward on Fire Code Issues

December 16, 2013
William Mutch VP of Government Affairs

William Mutch
VP of Government Affairs

Last week, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners, voted unanimously to direct their legal staff to prepare a resolution incorporating fire code amendments supported by HBA.  After lengthy discussion, the Commissioners requested the drafting of a resolution that included the following items:

  1. Adopt the 2009 International Fire Code with amendments that are agreed to by the stakeholders and fire districts – 98% of the proposed code.
  2. Adopt the commercial sprinkler requirements and Appendix B as written in the model code, with no amendments.
  3. Rejection of Section 102.5 Application of the Residential Code, as proposed, and clarification by amendment to the Code, the Resolution and elsewhere as needed which articulates that the BoCC does NOT approve the application of the fire code in the fire districts and unincorporated El Paso County to:

a)      detached one and two family dwellings or townhomes that are constructed on an unplatted parcel, on a lot platted as part of a subdivision containing four or  less such platted lots, or on a lot platted as part of a recorded subdivision before  December 10, 2013.

b)      Factory built units certified by the State of Colorado

c)      Those dwellings constructed to federal standards; or

d)      Accessory use structures

  1. Rejection of any provision of the fire code which allows or purports to allow monetary contributions to any fund established by a fire protection district in lieu of meeting any other applicable provision of the   code.
  2. Delete Appendix K – Wildland Urban Interface Code
  3. Direct staff to evaluate the County’s Land Development Code and consider for adoption the possibility of a WUI code which may include but is not limited to addressing water supply, access and premises identification and hardened structure.

The Commissioners also voted that the fire codes are now under deliberation by the Commissioners, and have been duly submitted for Commissioner action, thereby removing the ability of involved fire districts to attempt to rescind the codes for consideration.    The Commissioners met in Executive Session after being threatened with a lawsuit by representatives of at least one fire district, and moved ahead with this procedural move in an effort to ensure that the districts would not decide that maintaining the ambiguous status quo was a better option for them than having the codes clarified in a manner consistent with HBA’s position.

 What this means for developers, builders, homeowners  is that the fire districts will only review proposed subdivisions containing five or more dwellings to determine water supply, access and addressing and the fire code will not apply to minor subdivision or individual home construction.   Also,  new commercial construction in unincorporated El Paso County will not require sprinkler systems at the current levels based on square footage and occupancy loads that are three times more stringent than the model code.

Last but not least, the Commissioners directed their staff to move beyond the Appendix K requirements outlined in the fire codes, and instead requested staff to incorporate policy dealing with the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) in their land use codes instead of within the fire codes.  HBA also supports this move as a more logical and flexible way to manage construction within the interface.

The next step is the Commissioners will consider the resolution during their December 17meeting.    Until that time, a resolution is under preparation, but will  not be formally adopted until December 17.

This process is the result of more than 2 years of work by HBA members and staff.  Once adopted, the resolution will bring clarity to fire code issues for builders and home owners in Falcon and Black Forest.

Thank you to the HBA fire code review team- Mark Bussone, Larry Whittaker, Josh Peterson, and Scot Gring for their time and dedication to this effort.

And to everyone else who participated in the county work sessions and volunteered their time to support the HBA position.

Please contact Marla Novak, Director of Government Relations, at 719-592-1800, ext 14 for more information or email her at marla@cshba.com.




City/County Drainage Board seeks volunteer

June 19, 2012

The City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County are seeking a volunteer builder representative to serve on the City/County Drainage Board.  Applicants should be actively engaged in the construction and sale of housing in Colorado Springs and El Paso County.

The City/County Drainage Board acts as an advisory board to City Council and the Board of County Commissioners regarding (1) subdivision codes and regulations relating to the drainage and control of flood and surface waters and (2)administration of the Subdivision Storm Drainage Funds. The Board also works closely with the City Engineer and the County Engineer.  Meetings take place the first Thursday of each month at 3 p.m. at Colorado Springs City Hall.

Send letters of interest and resumes before Friday, June 22, 2012 to mdevine@springsgov.com or mail to City Council; Attention Marti Devine Sletta; P.O. Box 1575; Colorado Springs, CO 80901.

Or, fill out the Application for Appointment to a City Board, Committee or Commission, which can be found at www.SpringsGov.com by clicking on “Commissions and Committees” on the homepage.  (The application cannot be submitted online at this time.  Please send to the e-mail or physical address above.)  For questions or more information, please call (719) 385-5453.

Legal Tips on Industry-Related Subjects Now Available Online

January 20, 2012

A new benefit for NAHB members is our “Legal Tips” section on www.nahb.org that includes regularly updated postings from our Legal Research Program.  During its 37 years of continuous operation, the Legal Research Program has responded to thousands of our members’ legal questions covering a wide range of subjects related to residential construction and business operations for home builders, remodelers and associates.

The program strives to provide accurate legal information in plain language that is easily understood. Current topics include:

  • Website images and copyright infringement
  • Voluntary Affirmative Marketing Agreements
  • Immigration law compliance and subcontractors
  • Cancellation requirements for home improvement contracts
  • Pre-contract language for protecting plans submitted with bids

Please note that the responses appearing in “Legal Tips” have been modified to protect the identity and privacy of the members making the original requests for information.  NAHB members can access “Legal Tips” by visiting www.nahb.org/legaltips.   For more information on “Legal Tips,” or to make individual requests for legal information from the Legal Research Program, contact David Crump at 800-368-5242 x8491.

William Mutch named Government Affairs/Public Policy Director

January 11, 2012

Today, the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs is pleased to announce the addition of veteran government relations executive William Mutch as the Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy.

Mutch brings over fifteen years of government relations and political experience to the position.  His background includes government relations work with the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Denver as well as previously holding the Government Relations position with the Colorado Association of Home Builders.

William’s career has ranged from handling legislative issues for Colorado Senate President John Andrews, managing press and communications for former Colorado Congressman Bob Schaffer, as well as campaign and District Director responsibilities for former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo.

Mutch was also the Executive Director for the pro-business association Colorado Concern for three years, before moving into finance and working in public finance investment banking for Piper Jaffray, and also held a financial position with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Montana, and a Master’s in Public Administration from the School of Business and Public Management at the George Washington University.

“We are extremely excited to have William joining our team.  His background and experience will, without question, elevate the HBA’s already effective regulatory, political, and policy section.  The extensive search to find the right person has been well worth the journey.  We have found an enthusiastic and effective advocate for our members whose primary mission is to provide the dream of home ownership in the Colorado Springs community!”  said Renee Zentz, Chief Executive Officer of the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs.

Call to Action: Congress Must Extend Conforming Loan Limits

September 19, 2011

Congress Must Extend Conforming Loan Limits

Call Your Members of Congress at (866) 924-NAHB (6242)
Write Your Members of Congress at

On October 1, 2011, the conforming loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will be lowered. The disruption that would occur with the lowering of the current loan limits would further damage the already fragile housing market and impede the economic recovery of our nation.

The housing finance system is under a cloud of uncertainty. The federal government, through the GSEs and the FHA, is currently accounting for nearly all mortgage credit flowing to home buyers and rental properties. Lowering the loan limits will only further restrict overall mortgage liquidity in the marketplace and place further downward pressure on home prices.

Talking Points: 

  • Urge your members of Congress to support immediate efforts to extend the current loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA;
  • A drop in these mortgage loan limits would reduce home prices in major markets all across the country;
  • This is not the time to reduce housing demand and exacerbate the current housing downturn.

Two Ways to Act:

  • Call Your members of Congress at (866) 924-NAHB (6242);

If you have any questions or feedback on this issue, please email BuilderLink@nahb.org.

For more information about this item, please contact Brooke Fishel at 800-368-5242 x8061 or via email at bfishel@nahb.org.

Implementation of the 2011 PPRBC

June 23, 2011

Effective August 1st the 2011 Pikes Peak Regional Building Code (PPRBC) will be implemented within the jurisdictions of the City of Colorado Springs and unincorporated El Paso County.

  • All plans submitted on or after August 1st must be submitted to the 2011 PPRBC in full (commercial and residential).
  • Any permits NOT requiring plans (reroof, water heaters, etc.) will be permitted to the 2011 PPRBC effective August 1st.
  • Plans that have been submitted under the 2005 PPRBC prior to August 1st will have until February 1st 2012 (6 months) to be permitted under the 2005 PPRBC, Section RBC 106.6.

These criteria are applicable only to the City of Colorado Springs and unincorporated El Paso County, not Fountain, Green Mountain Falls, Manitou, Palmer Lake and Monument.

This can be viewed at:  http://www.pprbd.org/codes/PPRBC_Notice.pdf

Help Defend the Mortgage Interest Deduction With These Resources

December 10, 2010

As we have previously reported, policymakers are increasingly casting a critical eye on key housing incentives within the tax code, including the mortgage interest deduction (MID), which is a cornerstone of the nation’s housing policy and something that much of the American public believes is essential for advancing homeownership.  NAHB has developed numerous resources to help you learn about this issue and engage your community in the dialogue about the MID. We’ve put those resources at your fingertips at www.nahb.org/MIDresources. Here you’ll find background documents, analyses, press releases, links to NAHB’s MID social media communities and more. For example, check out the following items:

We encourage you to share these resources with your fellow members and make your voice heard by visiting Facebook.com/SaveMyMID. In addition, for up-to-the-minute news and analysis of the MID issue, follow Twitter.com/SaveMyMID or subscribe to Eye on Housing, NAHB’s blog on economics and housing policy. If you have questions about any of our MID resources, click here to e-mail NAHB Public Affairs, or call 800-368-5242, x8447.