Four Maquoketa City Council members blocked a citywide building code, at least temporarily.

The Maquoketa City Council last week voted 4-3 against the second reading of a proposed building code ordinance. 

Councilmen Josh Collister, Kevin Kuhlman, Dan Holm and Nathan Woodward opposed the second reading, effectually stalling forward movement of the ordinance. A city ordinance requires three readings to become law.

Jessica Kean, Mark Lyon and Erica Barker favored the ordinance.

Last May, Collister and Kuhlman asked that the issue of adopting a building code be tabled until the council could meet in-person and with the public to obtain more feedback on the issue. Woodward also has voted to table the subject until the public could be present. Council members have been meeting via digital media since mid-March due to health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic and are uncertain when in-person meetings will resume.

Meanwhile, no city rules govern the quality and safety of new construction in Maquoketa. 

A building code would set the standards that must be followed when building new structures or modifying existing ones within the city. Structures would have to conform to the code, which could set standards for such things as foundations, site drainage, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire code, etc. Under the proposed codes, various building projects would be subject to inspection.

A city-appointed Building Code Task Force recommended the council adopt three established standards: The International Residential Code, which is the recommended standards of the International Code Council, The International Building Code (IBC), which addresses commercial structures, and The National Fire Protection Life Safety 101, which specifically addresses fire prevention.

The proposed building code may still have life if Collister, Kuhlman, Holm or Woodward — the four who voted against it — ask to put the proposed ordinance on the agenda for further discussion.