A proposal to clarify provisions within Lawton’s “builder friendly” building codes will go to the City Council for consideration today.
The proposal, initiated by three councilmen who serve on the council’s Processes Oversight Committee (Ward 4 Councilman George Gill, Ward 2 Councilman Kelly Harris and Ward 8 Councilman Randy Warren) is clarifying provisions within a fast track services ordinance that the council already has set. The provisions allow builders who meet specific criteria to move through the Certificate of Occupancy process more quickly. That certificate is needed before a building project is completed.
Among the amended provisions is one requiring city staff to immediately report to the city manager if the building inspection or issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy is not completed by city staff within the specified time frame. The code specifies all final building inspections must be approved within 48 hours (to be amended to two business days) and a certificate issued within 24 hours (to be amended to one business day).
Fast track service is available to qualified builders who meet specific criteria, but that code also states the builder has 30 days from the inspection date to complete all items noted on the final report. Failure to do so means the builder won’t qualify for fast track services for a year and, under a new provision, would have to win approval from the Building Development Appeals Board before his status is reinstated.
The proposal had been part of a three-item package that Mayor Stan Booker had identified as an Open For Business approach to make it clear Lawton supports building activities. Two other items — a new council policy initiated by Booker and creation of a new Department of Building Safety — were pulled from the council agenda Monday morning.
The draft council policy specifies the City of Lawton is “welcoming of all construction work” and wants to be “a partner in the success of each and every project.” It also specifies that all administrative rules, directives and policies concerning the city’s building codes but not actually part of that code will end until they are approved by the council.
The new Department of Building Safety would be responsible for enforcing building codes and regulations, according to the ordinance defining its creation. The agenda commentary, initiated by Booker and the Processes Oversight Council Committee, states the goal is to enhance building safety standards, streamline the administration of building codes and establish clear guidelines and responsibilities for code officials, who are to be led by the city manager and deputy code officials.