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Thu, Dec. 05

Commissioners approve adopting energy building code

PRESCOTT - The Yavapai County Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday unanimously recommended adoption of the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code and minor language changes in its Open Space Preservation Subdivision zoning ordinance.

If Yavapai County Supervisors approve the code, it will become a building requirement for new home construction on a date they specify.

The IECC details construction standards homes must meet to receive an "energy efficient" designation. The code applies only to residential buildings and does not affect commercial construction.

"A lot of builders are already at this level or are getting there," Tony Grahame, director and professor of residential building technology at Yavapai College, told commissioners. "This is a benefit to the consumer and the builder."

Grahame said a builder and homeowner initially may spend more money to comply with the energy code, but they will recoup those costs in the long run.

A chart in the 2006 IECC handbook shows it will cost contractors about $850 more for a 1,200 square foot home under the energy efficient guidelines. By installing the correct-sized heating and cooling system and using advanced framing techniques, the homeowner negates the additional building costs and actually saves money, according to the chart.

The Open Space Preservation Subdivision, formerly called the residential conservation subdivision, is a proposed zoning ordinance amendment giving subdivision developers a building alternative, according to a Yavapai County Development Services memorandum.

"This does not get rid of the current Planned Area Development ordinance and this does not change the PAD ordinance," Elise Link, development services planning manager, told the commissioners. "This is just another option for developers."

The draft ordinance lists its main components as varying lot sizes, clustering lots and requiring 40 percent of the gross tract area reserved for open space. The ordinance does not count golf courses and junkyards as open space.

"We want to entice developers to build subdivisions under the open space ordinance rather than continue doing it with lot splits that are exempt from subdivision ordinances," Commissioner Tom Reilly said before the meeting.

The commission will vote on recommending the ordinance to the supervisors at their July 23 meeting in Cottonwood. The board will hear the issue Aug. 4 in Prescott.

In other business, the commission voted 5-4 to recommend a waiver for road paving requirements in the Hillside subdivision near Hillside. HS Properties, LLC wants to build a 104-lot subdivision on 436 acres.

Subdivision regulations require developers to pave access roads with chip-seal or its equivalent. The county identifies the subdivision's access road, Date Creek Road, as a "primitive road."

Bill Feldmeier, HS Properties agent, said the cost to pave the road would be prohibitive. If the owners must comply with the ordinance, he said, they likely would go ahead and split the lots and build the subdivision.

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