Steamboat Springs Some of the largest buildings in Routt County haven't been subject to building codes until now.
Mark Marchus, who heads the Routt County Regional Building Department, said this week his office will begin enforcing building department regulations and collecting permit fees on private indoor riding arenas this summer.
"There are a number of them being proposed for this summer. We'll be contacting those individuals," Marchus said.
The construction valuation of the indoor arenas that have begun to dot the valley floor in the past decade ranges from $250,000 to $500,000, Marchus said.
Typical building permit fees (not including use tax fees and fees specific to the provision of water and electricity) are usually about 1 percent of the total.
On a half-million dollar building, that would amount to a $5,000 fee.
Marchus said the Building Department, which serves both Routt County and the city of Steamboat Springs, has previously regarded the indoor arenas as "agricultural buildings." That term is defined by a nearly 20-year-old state statute. However, a closer examination of the wording of the statute suggests the private arenas should have been subject to building codes all along, Marchus said.
Riding arenas intended for public use have always been subjected to building codes, he added.
The 1985 statute provides that buildings used solely to "shelter" agricultural implements, to store feed or shelter livestock are exempt from local codes, Marchus said.
"Riding arenas do not meet that criteria because they are not used solely for sheltering animals," he concluded.
Marchus doubts that most riding arenas will have any difficulties living up to the code.
"Most are pre-engineered buildings," he explained.
"We can help them with snow-load and wind-load requirements."
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