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Fairlawn offering new Deck Safety Inspection Program

5/8/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

During its May 5 meeting, Fairlawn City Council passed a resolution acknowledging May 2014 as “Building Safety Month” in the city. In conjunction with the announcement, Fairlawn’s new voluntary Residential Deck Safety Inspection Program was unveiled.

According to Zoning, Housing & Residential Building Commissioner Chris Randles, residents can request an inspection of existing residential decks by city building inspectors in order to determine the overall structural integrity of the deck.

“If any resident has a deck, let’s say it’s 10 years old, and they want a checkup on their deck, they can give us a call,” he said. “We have a short application they can fill out, and we will go out and inspect the deck. If we find any issues or potential issues, we can give them a written report, and that way they can contact a contractor with that information to make the repairs.”

Among the items that will be inspected are deck ledger connection to the house, handrails, the presence of any rotted or damaged wood members, proper size and span of frame members, and any tripping hazards.

Councilwoman Barbara Potts (Ward 2) asked whether homeowners will receive a certificate of inspection if the deck is found to be safe by the city, and whether the city would be liable if a deck checked out OK, but later proved unsafe.

“We will tell them that we don’t view any obvious deficiencies,” Randles said, “but we wouldn’t have any more liability than when we go out and inspect a new construction and say it’s fine.”

If minor issues are located, Randles said, it will be the homeowner’s responsibility to make any necessary repairs.

“If we find something major, there is the possibility that we will go through our normal process that we do when we find major structural issues, where we will actually issue orders for those corrections to be made,” he said. “But our hope is that if people are inviting us in to look at their structure, that they will be willing to make sure that the structure is safe if it’s not.”

For additional information regarding the program, call the Zoning, Housing & Residential Building Department at 330-668-9500.

Also during the meeting:

  • Council unanimously approved a resolution “waiving and suspending” the annual fee for residents to use the Andrew E. Sombati Compactor and Recycling Facility. The resolution covers Aug. 1 through July 31, 2015.
    Roth said this marks the 15th year the fee will be waived for Fairlawn residents.
    According to Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten, the participation level in Fairlawn for the compactor is 79 percent.
    “That’s unbelievable,” said Council President Russ Sharnsky (at large). “That shows what an important service the city provides. It’s good to see that it’s well utilized, and I’m sure it’s well appreciated by everyone who lives in the city.”
  • Council approved a new three-year contract between the city of Fairlawn and the employees of the Fairlawn Service Department, retroactive to Jan. 1.
    Law Director Ed Riegler said the contract calls for 2 percent raises in the first two years, with a wage re-opener in the third year.
  • A resolution declaring May 17 as the “Bill Stalker” Clean Up and Beautification Day in Fairlawn (otherwise known as “Large Item Pick Up Day”) was unanimously approved.
    Roth said the city will collect items such as washers, dryers, mattresses, sofas, TVs and lawnmowers.
    “And if you are putting out large things like refrigerators or freezers, please take the doors off,” the mayor said. “That’s a very important safety issue.”
    Residents are asked to have their items out at the curb by 7 a.m., said Staten, who noted that city crews will not be responsible for items placed at the curb after that time.
    “As usual, the Service Department will start on the north side and work our way through,” he said.
    In addition, the 24th annual “Used Motor Oil Collection Day” will take place May 17 at the Andrew E. Sombati Compactor and Recycling Center.
    For additional information about either program, call the city’s Department of Public Service at 330-668-9550.
  • Roth said the Fairlawn Community Foundation is “actively raising and soliciting funds for the Fourth of July parade and the fireworks.”
    “Based on the foundation’s activity, we’ve been able to provide for both the parade and the fireworks every year,” the mayor stated. “But the fireworks cost approximately $1,000 a minute, and we like to fund that through donations. We’ve been very fortunate with the generosity of businesses and residents in the past, and we are hopeful that they will once again support our fireworks program this year.”
  • Council unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into a mutual aid agreement with the cities of Norton and Wadsworth; the village of Richfield; the townships of Copley, Bath, Chippewa, Granger and Sharon; and the Valley Fire District for the exchange of EMS and/or firefighting apparatus and equipment and mutual aid.
    “Mutual aid has been kind of a keystone of how well all of our fire departments work together,” Potts said.
  • Fairlawn’s 2014 Safety Town will take place weekdays from June 16-20 at the Fairlawn-Kiwanis Community Center.
    “We will have two sessions per day,” said Police Chief Kenneth Walsh. “The morning session will run from 9 to 11:30 a.m. each day, and the afternoon session will run from 1 until 3:30 p.m. Our graduation ceremony will be on Friday, June 20, at 5:30 p.m.”
    Walsh said physical applications will be available at the kindergarten registration at Copley High School May 20 or at the Fairlawn Police Department. Registration also will be available online at www.cityoffairlawn.com.
    “Registration forms will be accepted until June 1, 2014, unless maximum capacity is reached prior to that date,” he noted. “Parents will receive an email confirmation informing them what session their child has been assigned to.”
    Parents may indicate which session they prefer on the registration form, Walsh said, but there is no guarantee the preferred session will be available.
  • A resolution proclaiming May 11-17 as “National Police Week” and May 15 as “Peace Officers’ Memorial Day” was unanimously approved.
    “This we do every year with a great deal of pride and honor,” Potts said. “I can’t speak highly enough about our police department.”

The next Council meeting is set for May 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road. The next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting is scheduled for May 12 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

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