Town waves building code

Oak Creek officials eliminate requirements for rink project

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The Oak Creek Town Board unanimously waived the county's uniform building code for its ice skating rink project during its Thursday meeting.

For the past several months, the board has gone back and forth with the Routt County Building Department about making adjustments to the skating rink. Now, the board has decided to waive the code that Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman said is "impossible to meet."

Rodeman said the code requires that drywall be put on the rink's outside steel structure, that a $500,000 sprinkler system be installed -- even though the building is made of cement and steel and is open on all four sides -- and that the hockey hut be moved by 30 to 60 feet.

Rodeman said the code is unclear and that even though the town has tried to comply with the code, there is no way to meet what it demands.

"The whole need for this thing is silly," Town Board member Mike Kien said.

Rodeman told the board that Fire Chief Chuck Wisecup signed off on the project by saying it did not need a sprinkler system, and Rodeman said that the drywall would never last on the steel after it got wet.

The other issues the board has faced, such as purchasing an additional 10 feet of land that the skating rink was built on, all have been addressed, and the board already has waived several other codes regarding the rink, such as having the buildings built farther apart.

The larger issue presented during the meeting was that small rural towns such as Oak Creek and other South Routt municipalities are not able to afford the costs that building department codes require of projects.

"We're not a resort area. We're a rural area, and we can't afford those costs," Rodeman said.

Rodeman said there are other rural citizens and organizations that have felt the stresses of "resort pricing on rural building" and that she would like to see whether Oak Creek or the entire South Routt area could create its own building department with more suitable and tailored codes.

"I would love to help all of South Routt by following the intent of the codes, not the letter," she said.

Board member Karen Halt--erman agreed that the town should look into the possibility of forming its own building department.

"This whole situation has caused me to become more adamant in my thinking that we break away from Routt County and get the building department Oak Creek needs in the future," she said.

Halterman said she thought Oak Creek was being targeted with this particular project and was frustrated with the "games" the town has been forced to play in regard to the skating rink project.

Kien said Oak Creek was not being "targeted" and that the county enforces the codes for everyone equally.

The skating rink was completed in late November and was built completely by volunteers. Rodeman said the skating rink is the only recreation facility the people of Oak Creek have and that the new skating rink has doubled the length of the skating season.

Routt County Building Department official Carl Dun--ham could not be reached for comment.

During the meeting, the board also confirmed several ordinances regarding the parking requirements and inoperable vehicle codes the board voted on during its June 23 meeting. With a minor amendment, the board accepted the new parking requirements that have been debated since the end of May.

The town now has a chart that requires a certain amount of off-street parking depending on the size of the residence and the use of commercial buildings. The town also confirmed the ordinance concerning the removal of inoperable vehicles. The code now reads that people are allowed to have one inoperable vehicle -- a vehicle without license plates or registration -- as long as it is not visible from the street or from any other property.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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