Hearing today on sprinkler ordinance in Douglas County | RecordCourier.com

Hearing today on sprinkler ordinance in Douglas County

An ordinance that would require automatic sprinklers in new homes of less than 5,000 square feet will be subject to a public vetting today.

County commissioners are considering a request from the East Fork Fire Protection District to require automatic sprinklers in new homes that are more than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant or other water source.

The ordinance was introduced at the Lake Tahoe meeting on March 21, where commissioners favored extending the ordinance to all new homes.

East Fork Fire Marshal Steve Eisele said that will probably end up happening, but that the district was seeking to phase in the requirement.

If approved today, the ordinance would take effect on July 1.

Automatic sprinklers have been required on smaller homes in Tahoe Township for the last six years.

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In order to approve the new requirement, commissioners are required by state law to determine if the cost of sprinklering homes is justified by the benefit.

A 2017 study conducted by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, determined that there is a definite cost benefit to homeowners and builders to installing the systems.

"The UNLV study clearly shows that survival is the primary reason for mandating installation of residential fire sprinkler systems," according to the report's summary.

Reduced costs to builders included being able to use less expensive building materials, reduce roadway widths and increasing the distance between fire hydrants in new subdivisions.

However, the researchers determined the real issue isn't cost, but survival of residents.

Commissioners meet 1 p.m. at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden.