Indoor residential sprinkler systems will no longer be required for Marshall Fire victims looking to rebuild their homes in Superior.

Superior Town Board of Trustees on Monday approved an ordinance that will waive the provision in the town’s 2018 International Residential Code requiring indoor sprinkler systems for residential properties impacted by the Marshall Fire.

The ordinance will leave the choice to install the sprinkler systems up to the homeowners. Those not wanting to include sprinkler systems in their rebuild can choose to opt out.

The sprinkler requirement has been a contentious issue for several months, as residents face insurance hurdles and unexpected rebuilding costs.

Many of the houses that burned in the Marshall Fire were built before 2012, when sprinkler systems were first required by the town.

Before passing of the ordinance Monday, several members of the public spoke out against the requirements for Marshall Fire rebuilds, citing concern with cost and efficacy of the sprinklers.

“People can’t afford it, and you’re going to drive people clear out of here with this stuff,” commented Rob Lewisberg, who said he owns several investment properties in Superior.

The board has discussed the sprinkler system requirements at length during several meetings, and throughout the meetings, several board members’ opinions have gone back and forth on this issue.

“Going into this I clearly have been (a proponent) of keeping the sprinklers in, but over the past several weeks, the volume of emails and feedback we’ve received has been overwhelming, and it’s one of those times where we have to stop and listen to what our residents want,” said Trustee Ken Lish.

Mayor Clint Folsom was not in favor of eliminating the sprinkler requirement.

“Section 3 of this ordinance we’re considering tonight is titled ‘safety.’ This ordinance is deemed necessary for the protection, health, welfare, and safety of the community. How can we justify that eliminating fire sprinklers is necessary for the health, welfare, and safety of the community?” Folsom asked.

Folsom said he believed that if the town kept the sprinkler requirements mandatory, insurance companies would be more likely to cover the cost of the sprinkler installation.

Mayor Pro Tem Mark Lacis disagreed.

“To Mayor Folsom’s point about this ordinance being necessary for the health, welfare, and safety of the community — if people can’t afford to build back their homes, ultimately, that’s not good for the community,” Lacis said.

The motion passed 5-2, with Trustee Neal Shah, Lish, Trustee Paige Henchen, Tim Howard and Lacis voting yes, and Folsom and Trustee Laura Skladzinski voting no.

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Ella Cobb
2022-05-24 03:55:36
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