Glenwood Springs City Council begins building code update process

Glenwood Springs City Council is updating municipal building codes and wireless communication facilities standards to align with state and federal regulations.

During their regular session Thursday, council members approved the first readings of two ordinances aimed at revising Glenwood Springs’ municipal code.

Ordinance 2022-06, an update to the city’s building codes, adopts the 2021 editions of the International Building Code, International Residential Code, International Plumbing Code, International Mechanical Code, International Property Maintenance Code, International Existing Building Code, International Fire Code, National Electrical Code, National Electrical Safety Code, the International Fuel Gas Code and the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code with amendment.

The city last revised its building codes in 2017 to align with 2015 building codes, with the exception of the 2009 Energy Code.

In line with 2021 building codes, city staff recommended adopting a requirement for new one- and two-family residential units to require fire sprinkler systems in living areas, Assistant City Manager Jen Ooton said.

Previously, one- and two-family units were exempt from fire sprinkler requirements, according to city documents.

While sprinkler systems would not be needed in remodeled homes, or Additional Dwelling Units built within an existing home, the sprinkler systems would need to be included in new ADU structures built separate from existing homes, Ooton explained.

The building code updates also changed permit fees for pools and mechanical plumbing to be based on evaluation, increasing re-inspection fees to $100 and requirements for large-scale developments including increased insulation, blower door tests and electronic vehicle charging accommodations.

Council Member Tony Hershey made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance, with the caveat the code changes would not take place until 90 days after the council’s approval of the ordinance’s second reading. Council Member Shelley Kaup seconded the motion, which passed 4-0, with council members Paula Stepp and Ingrid Wussow absent.

Ordinance 2022-04 amends the city’s wireless communication facilities standards to correspond with state and federal regulations.

Among the changes are an exemption for temporary facilities for special events and disaster reporting, additional provisions that encourage collocation and multiple use facilities and a provision requiring applicants show a good-faith effort to locate facilities in an order of preference of locations that would cause the least visual impact, city documents stated.

City Attorney Karl Hanlon said the amendments would also limit small cells — low-powered cellular radio access nodes — in the public right of way to a height of 25 feet, or no more than five feet taller than any existing utility pole or traffic signal within 500 feet.

The current maximum height limit is 35 feet, city documents stated.

Hanlon said some wireless companies might push back on the change, but Glenwood Springs Public Works Department was comfortable moving forward with the change.

Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Willman made a motion to approve the amendments, and Mayor Jonathan Godes seconded the motion, which passed 4-0.

To facilitate funding for projects scheduled in 2021 but that were delayed or not completed, the council also approved, 4-0, a one-reading-only ordinance appropriating the necessary allocations, primarily in the Capital Project and Acquisitions and Improvements funds.

Glenwood Springs residents and members of the surrounding community can weigh in on the future of the airport during a listening session Thursday with City Council.

Hosted from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Sopris Elementary School, 1150 Mount Sopris Drive, the meeting is slated to be conducted like an open house, allowing attendees to come and go at their convenience, a news release states.

Some topics of conversation include the city’s recent airspace study, which identified hundreds of flight path obstructions surrounding the airport, immediate airport safety and operational considerations, financial summaries and general feedback.

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at

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