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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 18

Meeting Date: June 24, 2003

Subject/Title: Introduce and waive the first reading of an ordinance amendment adding Chapter 15.04 Section 150 to the City of Brentwood Municipal Code titled, “Section 904.2.1 of the Uniform Building Code amended”, requiring an automatic fire-extinguishing system on all commercial and industrial occupancies over 500 square feet in floor area.

Submitted by: Community Development Department (M. Oshinsky/L. Kidwell)
Approved by: John Stevenson, City Manager

RECOMMENDATION
Introduce and waive the first reading of an ordinance amendment adding Chapter 15.04 Section 150 to the city of Brentwood Municipal Code titled, “Section 904.2.1 of the Uniform Building Code amended”, requiring an automatic fire-extinguishing system on all commercial and industrial occupancies over 500 square feet in floor area.

PREVIOUS ACTION
At the City Council Meeting of May 20, 2003 Staff informed council of the inability of either the Building Code or the Fire Code to require an automatic fire sprinkler system on a 5,000 square foot commercial building. Staff was directed by council to prepare an ordinance amendment that would require all but the very smallest of commercial and industrial buildings to be protected by an automatic fire sprinkler system.

BACKGROUND
Responding to Council direction, Staff met with a representative of the local commercial development community, a fire district representative and a local automatic fire sprinkler system designer/installer to collect information necessary to develop an ordinance amendment. Several issues were explored, as follows:

• What size building would be too small to sprinkler?
• What can be done to keep the cost down?
• What standard should be used?

Concerning size, the consensus from the participants in the discussion was that sprinkling buildings less than 500 square feet was excessive. Concerning what can be done to keep cost down, it was the consensus of the group that staying with the basic standards of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 13 and making no modifications to those standards was the best way to keep costs down.

The ordinance amendment presented reflects the consciences of the group and councils direction.

FISCAL IMPACT
There is no fiscal impact to the City, however, for the commercial developers the added cost of construction could be $7,000 to $20,000, depending on building size or building use.

Attachment
City Council Ordinance

ORDINANCE NO.

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD ADDING CHAPTER 15.04 SECTION 150 OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD MUNICIPAL CODE TITLED, “SECTION 904.2.1 OF THE UNIFORM BUILDING CODE AMENDED”, REQUIRING AN AUTOMATIC FIRE-EXTINGUISHING SYSTEM ON ALL COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL OCCUPANCIES OVER 500 SQUARE FEET IN FLOOR AREA.

WHEREAS, after close of the hearing, the City Council considered all public comments received both before and during the public hearing, the presentation by City staff, the staff report, the recommendations, and all other pertinent documents and associated actions regarding the proposed ordinance amendment; and

WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Brentwood makes the following:

This amendment is consistent with the General Plan and other applicable City plans, and is appropriate to the public interest; and

This amendment to the Uniform Building Code as adopted by the City of Brentwood (UBC) is necessary due to climatic, geographic and topographical conditions which exist in the City of Brentwood. These conditions increase the potential for fire hazard within the community. The amendments proposed are necessary to serve the public interest by reducing the fire risk to life and property of the citizens of Brentwood.

1. Average yearly rainfall for the City is approximately 4-16”. This rainfall normally occurs from October to April. During the summer months, there is generally no measurable precipitation. Temperatures for this dry period average from 80 degrees - 100 degrees F. And are frequently accompanied by light to gusty westerly winds. The City is surrounded on the windward side by grasslands which, in conjunction with the dry and windy climatic conditions, create a hazardous situation which has led to extensive grass and brush fires in recent years. With more development extending from the urban core into these grass-covered areas, wind-driven fires could lead to severe consequences, as has been the case on several occasions in similar areas of the state.

2. Uniquely for a City of its size, the City is dissected by several topographical features, including one major creek (Marsh Creek), one railroad line (Southern Pacific), State Hwy. 4 and several high volume hazardous material pipelines. Traffic between these areas is channeled into several major thoroughfares which must cross the creek, railroad tracks and highway by means of bridges, and at grade crossings.

Heavy traffic congestion on the City’s major streets already acts as a barrier to timely response for fire equipment and emergency services. In the event of an accident or other emergency at one of the key points or intersections between a road and creek or highway, sections of the City could become isolated or response time could be sufficiently slowed so as to increase the risk of substantial injury or damage. For example, a routine accident at Balfour and Concord Avenue would greatly reduce response times to the southwestern portions of the City. With the inability of the fire department to guarantee rapid response to various sections of the City, it is necessary to mitigate this problem by requiring additional built-in automatic life safety protection systems, which will provide for early detection and initial fire control until the arrival of the fire-fighting equipment.

3. The Eastern Contra Costa County is subject to ground tremors from large seismic events on the San Andreas, Hayward and Calaveras Faults, the major active faults in the San Francisco Bay Area. Directly to the south is the active Greenville Fault. The largest recorded earthquake in this immediate area occurred during a sequence of earthquakes on the Greenville Fault in January and February of 1980. This earthquake had a magnitude of from 5.5 to 5.9 on the Richter Scale. Several smaller faults in or around the City include the Las Positas Fault, the Tesla Fault and the Livermore Fault. Seismological evidence indicates the probability of an earthquake in this region ranging from 5 to 7 on the Richter Scale.

This potential for earthquakes influence fire protection planning for the City. A major seismic event would create a city-wide demand on fire protection service which would be beyond the response capacity of the fire department. This potential problem can be mitigated by requiring initial fire control through the installation of automatic life safety protection systems. Structural damage to the overpass or bridges connecting the City’s various areas would seriously delay emergency vehicle access to these areas.

NOW THEREFORE, the City Council of the City of Brentwood does ordain that Chapter 15.04 Section 150 of the Brentwood Municipal is hereby amended to read as follows:

15.04.150 Section 904.2.1 of the Uniform Building Code Amended.

904.2.1 Where required. In addition to the occupancies and locations set forth in this sections, an automatic fire-extinguishing system shall be installed in all new commercial and industrial occupancies, when the floor area exceeds 500 square feet.

Effective Date

Ordinance shall take effect on September 1, 2003.

THE FOREGOING ORDINANCE was introduced with the first reading waived at a regular meeting of the Brentwood City Council on the 24th day of June, 2003, by the following vote:

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