From the Bel Air Patch —
Councilman Richard Slutzky was fighting a losing battle and he knew it. “I had no expectation of winning this debate, but this debate needed to occur,” he said moments before an amendment he proposed to a bill lost 6–1. The original bill, which adopts the 2009 International Building Code, whose use is mandated by the Maryland Building Performance Standards, then passed unanimously.
Slutzky wanted to give Harford County citizens an out, but extensive testimony by a dozen individuals convinced the board that sprinklers should be a mandatory installation in single family homes and duplexes beginning Jan. 1, 2012. The systems could cost thousands of dollars.
Slutzky’s proposal was to make it optional for sprinklers to be installed in homes. He said he was not opposed to sprinklers to aid firefighters, (“It would be akin to speaking against apple pie, mother and Chevrolet,” Slutzky said), just that they be mandated.
“The specific criteria of the Maryland Building Performance Code allows jurisdictions to modify,” Director of Inspections, Licenses and Permits Richard Lynch said during the hearing, but after 80 minutes of public comment, Slutzky stood alone in proposing further changes.