SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


City Council: Do you really understand?
By Charles Edwardson


December 10, 2007
Monday AM

The city council, like many other boards and councils, are under appreciated and should be commended for their efforts "SOMETIMES"

But sometimes you get a group in there and you have to wonder just what they are thinking, if anything. First a 10% minimum grade for new roads in Ketchikan for all new construction, and now a move to try to add sprinkler systems in new homes where you cannot park a fire truck within 150 feet of the new home.

Both of these actions were pushed, in my opinion, by one or two people that do not know what they are talking about. Both measures are going to add additional costs to an already expensive proposition, and add to the difficulty and reality of realizing the biggest investment most of us will ever make, and that is buying a home. Fires do not always happen in convenient places and if the guys do not want to go through these inconvenient measures like dragging the equipment up steep hills, then do not become a fireman.

There are so many arguments against both of these measures they are to numerous to list. But both measures to me seem to be for the convenience of the firefighters not wanting to drag their hoses far or up to steep a hill.

I know this comment is not going to be well received and the firefighters themselves would go through hell or high water to do the job they 'volunteered" to do -- and in my opinion are each and everyone a hero. But they have for decades fought the hills and rugged terrain that is Ketchikan Alaska. And so have many hundreds and even thousands of fireman through the decades fought fires in inconvenient places -- in hillside communities, San Francisco, Seattle, and many other coastal cities who suffer this geographical fact, if you live on a mountainside there are going to be inconvenient hills. You guys (city council) are in your own small way putting the brakes on a portion of the economy of Ketchikan by trying to make things safer through convenience. The home owner should have the option of a sprinkler system, as in small home fires the water damage outweighs the fire damage, just think what a sprinkler system would do. Also a ten percent grade will require switch backs for a road or a longer road and there are not that many lots in Ketchikan with the length required facilitating such a long road. In effect you are eliminating the potential for many future developments and are again screwing around with a tax base we rely on and that is property tax. With less development due to unrealistic measures you are inadvertently hurting our economy. I am not saying the economy should come before personal safety but why go outside of the established norms and add more regulations to an already over regulated industry? Safety first is everyone's motto. That is common sense but let's not get out of hand (to the city council).

As president of the Home Builders Association, an affiliate of National Home Builders Association, my personal opposition to both of these measures is shared by most if not all Home Builders Associations that I have been in contact with.

And if we had any builders on the council or anyone who knew any thing about business and economy of scale, this would have had at least one opposing vote on both of these measures. And for you on the council who disagree with something but vote for it any way, you do not belong in public office, and are not doing your job. My hope is that anyone who is on the fence on these issues get of the fence on one side or the other and stand your ground like a man or woman.

Charles Edwardson
Ketchikan, AK

Received December 07, 2007 - Published December 10, 2007



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