MOUNT VERNON — The Skagit County Board of Commissioners is accepting public comment on the adoption of new building codes.

At a public hearing Monday, staff reviewed proposed changes to the code. The commissioners will reconvene Aug. 24 to vote on these changes.

As part of the new codes, new large residential buildings in unincorporated Skagit County would need to install a sprinkler system for fire suppression.

“That’s a frequent input we hear from our volunteer firefighters,” said senior planner Jack Moore, adding these fire departments don’t have the same funding, staffing or level of response as those in the county’s cities.

New homes 3,600 square feet or larger — not including an attached garage — would be subject to this rule, but Moore said the code would not mandate such systems being installed in existing homes.

Many cities in the county already have this requirement, but this change would apply such a requirement to construction outside the cities, he said.

Moore said the proposed code changes would allow for construction of sheds and other small outbuildings without a building permit. Under the current code, the allowed number of such buildings was based on the size of the property.

Other updates come predominately from the state-level building codes, which were adopted in February.

The county would also remove the Building Code Board of Appeals, and put that responsibility in the hands of the county hearing examiner.

According to county documents, the board has not been used in years and has no active members. Appeals of building codes are rare, and other counties in the state use hearing examiners for this purpose.

Public comment on this issue will remain open until Wednesday. Written comment and more information on the proposed building code changes are available at publicinput.com/buildingcodes.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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