The ordinance outlines for Fire Marshal Bryan Cox’s office how charges will be assessed for plan reviews and inspects, permits and false alarms.
“I started last year comparing services provided and fees of surrounding fire departments — Cartersville, Rome, Forsyth County, Cobb County, Paulding County, Cherokee County,” Cox said, adding that the six-month delay in implementing the fee was to allow for awareness and review of the process and fees.
The fees, which help offset the cost of services provided by Cox’s office, will apply to a wide range of structures.
“Who all is going to be affected by this? Anyone or property other than one- and two-family dwellings. All other buildings and occupancies will be addressed in this ordinance in accordance with state law [under Official Code of Georgia Annotated] 25-2,” Cox said. “I need to make a clarification on this subject of ‘grandfathered in’ — there is no such thing in the codes. The Georgia Minimum Fire Codes have been in place since the late 1940s. Under the law, it states when a building is to be brought to the current code or which edition of the code applies.”
The type of occupants currently in a building or future plans for a building will dictate the section of the code that applies, not just the building type.
“For example, storefront shopping center’s are on nearly every corner now — a building that has one roof with several different occupants in this building. In this one building, you have a doctor’s office, restaurant, church and storage; a different part of the code applies to each one of the occupancies even though they are in the same building,” Cox explained. “The code may require that restaurant has to be sprinkled and the doctor’s office does not even though they are in the same building.
“This is the reason it is important to check with the Fire Marshal’s Office before leasing or purchasing any building, to make sure that the building meets the code for the type occupancy that is going to be placed in the building. No matter what location you are looking at contact the Fire Marshal’s Office that has jurisdiction for clarification of applicable codes. The Bartow County Fire Department fire marshal is responsible for all unincorporated Bartow County and the cities of Adairsville, Emerson, White, Kingston, Euharlee and Taylorsville.”
Under the ordinance, fees for plan reviews are broken down into two sections — up to 5,000 square feet, which will be assessed a $100 fee, and those over 5,000 square feet, which will see a cost of 2 cents per square foot. Inspections are divided into categories, with fees ranging from no charge to $200.
Fireworks display permits will cost $50, with fireworks sales tent displays at $75. Other fees include: false alarms fines from no charge to $1,000; certification inspections, $50; site plan review for BCFD access, hydrant location, etc., $75; and commercial pit burns, $200 per pit site.
“Commercial burning will follow federal and state guidelines that have been in place for years. The pit site and pit with blower will have to be approved before burning. This includes all of the municipalities, except for the city of Cartersville, which has its own guidelines,” Cox said.
Since becoming the county’s first fire marshal on March 5, 2012, Cox’s office has done more than 200 inspections and future development plans may see that number rise.
“In the past 12 months, the Fire Marshal’s Office has completed 205 inspections. This does not include all of the plan reviews, fire investigations, fire safety education programs, continuing education requirements and other duties assigned by the chief,” he said. “With the LakePoint development and other commercial and industrial growth in the county, the Fire Marshal’s Office is expecting to see an increase.”
For a full schedule of fees or for more information, contact Cox at 678-721-5495.