The bottom line: People dealing with the city of Wapakoneta should be treated in a courteous and professional manner.
Wapakoneta City Council President Stephen Henderson summed up a 10-minute discussion that stemmed from Mayor Rod Metzâs recent attendance at a state building code public meeting the mayor said was organized by the Wapakoneta Fire Department and engineering department personnel. The discussion was part of Mondayâs city council meeting.
Metz explained the meeting was to discuss certain buildings, including those located downtown, in relation to the regulations that are part of the National Register of Historic Places and what possible role the historic preservation tax incentives may play in requiring those buildings be updated to current code.
Metzâs activity report also included a meeting
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with city solicitor Denny Faller to talk about building code problems. Councilor Jim Neumeier asked if the two meetings were related. Neumeier referenced previous conversations about the fire departmentâs role in building code enforcement.
The mayor defined the chain of command when it comes to building codes.
âThe fire department doesnât give certificates of occupancy,â Metz said. âThe fire department does inspections; thatâs when they may find code violations. The ultimate authority is with the state of Ohio.â
Neumeier said it sounds as if the state is easier to work with than the local fire department.
âThe complaints I hear are our fire department pushes these people the wrong way,â Neumeier said. â(Chief Kendall Krites) antagonizes people to the point they donât want to be in the city.â
Metz said the fire department is often the first government entity to find a problem but once the state department gets involved, the local fire department is out of the equation. The mayor encouraged potential buyers to get an expert opinion about a buildingâs suitability prior to purchase to ensure the building can be used for the new ownerâs intended purpose.
Sometimes, âif (the buyer) had contacted the state before they bought the building, the building owner wouldnât be in a situation,â Metz said.
âIt just seems like weâd be better off if our fire department could be friendlier,â Neumeier said.
Service Director Bill Rains said, âKendall enforces the rules of the state; and we have addressed how we address that.â