Huntley Residential Sprinkler Debate

In “News Clippings” about a week ago I posted a short blip on Huntley, Illinois consideration of rescinding a sprinkler requirement in new homes adopted two years ago. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I gave this story the attention it deserves. The Village Board is considering rescinding the requirement for fire sprinklers in single family dwelling citing, none other than . . . cost.

In this article from the McHenry County Daily Herald, Conor Brown of the McHenry County Association of Realtors is quoted as saying,

‘fire sprinklers are costly, prone to malfunctioning and depress Huntley’s real estate market.'”

We’ve all heard the argument about cost. The focus of my attention on Mr. Conor’s quote is “prone to malfunctioning.” I’m elated to hear that Fire Chief Jim Saletta, “hasn’t received one complaint from residents living in the more than 1,300 Huntley homes with fire sprinklers.” Chief Saletta goes on to say that,

. . . sprinklers actually boost the value of a home, citing a 2005 Harris Interactive poll in which two-thirds of respondents said fire sprinklers increase a home’s value.”

The village Board is getting pressure from somewhere. The article finally states that the, “trustees said they needed more resident input and more information on the cost of the systems to make a decision.” Do you see what I’m getting at? Did the residents bring this to the table or did the McHenry Country Association of Realtors? I’m not an expert on city/county politics but it seems to me if the residents didn’t like the requirement they would’ve represented themselves at the meeting.

I don’t know. It’s strange to me that a requirement has been set and now, after only two years, they’re talking about amending it. Stay tuned!

P.S. Don’t blame the “depressed real estate market” on fire sprinklers.

News Clippings

Here are a couple of things I picked up off the “wire” tonight. I’m going to try this out every once-in-awhile to see how it goes. These posts will contain short descriptions of articles with a links to find them.

Restaurant owner Barry Walker got pro-active and installed a sprinkler system in his business. Now, a lawmaker is proposing tax breaks for others to do the same. “Lawmaker Wants Businesses to Install Sprinklers.” [WLTX-TV 19; Columbia, SC]

Jurisdiction considers rescinding sprinkler requirement in new homes. “Huntley May Snuff Out Fire Sprinklers.” [Daily Herald; McHenry County, Illinois]

Fire Displaces Multiple Businesses

Fire destroyed a 75 year old building in Alhambra, California. The 12,000 square foot structure contained 14 businesses and did not have sprinklers because it was built in 1932 well before any sprinkler requirements. [signonsandiego.com]

This is a perfect example of the importance of retrofits in older buildings with multiple businesses. Because of an accident in one, all 14 are now displaced looking for another home. This won’t kill the economy in a place like LA but it for sure affects those businesses and the people that make their livings working there. Unfortunately, the proverbial hands are tied. It’s up to landlords and owners to take the initiative to protect themselves.

Warehouse Fire In Bartow; Arson

The warehouse fire in Bartow, Florida that I posted about on Saturday has been ruled arson according to the Ledger Online. Information is unavailable regarding whether the sprinkler system was tampered with however, it is part of the investigation that is ongoing. From the article;

[Kevin] Shireman [Detective; Fire Marshall’s Office] said it was evident where the fire started and its cause.
Investigators also are continuing to examine a fire at the PrecisionAire plant on July 2, which state officials also have ruled arson. Shireman said the only parallels between the two fires, though, is they both occurred in the evening.”

Wisconsin Residential Sprinkler Debate Continues

I’ve posted here, here, and here regarding the debate that continues in Wisconsin regarding a proposed requirement to protect apartment complexes with fire sprinklers that have three or more units. Mark Etrheim and Michael Miller of the Wisconsin Home Builders Association wrote a rebuttal to Captain Larry Wilson’s commentary. Captain Wilson asserts home builders are are opposed to the requirement based only on cost impact. The representatives of the Wisconsin Home Builders state that it is not the cost but respect for the legislative process that is the reason they are opposed to the initiative.

The latest word comes from the NFSA. They have released a white paper on the Wisconsin Home Builders rebuttal. Click on the link and check out the release it is a well written response to the home builders.