Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Shawnee County Commission Creates Building Code Committee, Splits over ACA Volunteer

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Shawnee County Commission Creates Building Code Committee, Splits over ACA Volunteer

Article excerpt

The Shawnee County Commission on Thursday voted to create a committee tasked with recommending building codes for unincorporated Shawnee County.

Barry Beagle, the county's planning director, presented a proposal to commissioners with a list of prospective members for the new committee, along with a brief overview of the committee's expectations.

Commissioner Bob Archer criticized the proposal, telling Beagle it didn't state how much money the committee would spend or what the advantages and disadvantages of creating the committee are.

"I think it would be nice to have some information about this," Archer said.

Beagle's proposal said the 13-person committee will "take a fiscally constrained approach" when developing building codes to "minimize taxpayer expense."

Archer offered an amendment to eliminate the word "minimize" and replace it with "eliminate." The amendment passed 3-0.

Beagle's proposal called for the committee to make recommendations on building codes within two years. Archer called the timeline "extremely long" and Commissioner Kevin Cook said a two- year wait was "unreasonable."

"I don't want to wait two years to hear back," Archer said.

An amendment requiring recommendations from the committee within one year, rather than two, was approved 3-0. After the amendments were added, the commission approved creation of the Building Code Committee by another 3-0 vote.

Questions remain about how the county's building code committee will interact with the city of Topeka's Property Maintenance Code Unit. Commissioners said the new committee should aim for unity with the city, though Commissioner Shelly Buhler noted "vast differences" between building codes inside Topeka and those outside the city.

In other action Thursday, the commission voted 2-1 to allow Alan Schramm, an unpaid volunteer health insurance navigator, to continue assisting county residents as they enroll in the federal health insurance marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act. …

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