County thinks internationally

Sussex County Council considered adoption of the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) at the Feb. 8 council meeting, but deferred another week over Council Member George Cole’s opposing vote.

Van Milligan, the supervisor for the county building code department, presented the ordinance that will clear the way for the old Standard Building Code’s departure.

Last fall, Milligan started sending notice to area builders that the change was coming.

“I have yet to hear a negative response from the contractors,” he said.

Much will remain the same, and county exceptions to the previous code will carry over to the new codes.

Farm buildings (barns, sheds, poultry houses) will be exempt from IBC provisions.

In the IRC, carports will continue to be excluded from inspections, a landing will not be required outside a sliding door, and provisions for stairs and foundation anchorage are slightly more lenient.

Milligan said he was prepared to start enforcing the new codes on construction approved as of March 1.

There was some discussion regarding the “windblown debris area,” or hurricane zone, included in the IBC.

Construction east of the Assawoman Canal, from Lewes to Fenwick Island, will need to incorporate extra sturdy design features.

Milligan said the county would not inspect those projects — rather, the building code department will require a signed and sealed set of plans from the architect.

County building inspectors check on projects in 14 municipalities throughout Sussex.

Roland Hall, manager of government relations for the International Code Council (ICC), said he was encouraging the other towns to adopt the same standards into their codes.

Lewes building official Bill Massey and Georgetown P&Z Director Debbie Pfeil spoke in favor of the new codes, as did John Neff, of Ocean View.

In other business, Finance Director David Baker returned $23 million in bond authorization to the state.

According to Baker, the state and federal governments allocate the county an ability to sell a certain amount of industrial revenue bonds every year.

The county can offer the low-interest bonds to new manufacturing companies, but there weren’t any applicants in 2004.

The authorization will now pass to the Delaware Housing Authority.