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Planning commission okays storm shelter ordinance

The Piedmont Planning Commission approved an ordinance requiring public buildings to have storm shelters. The ordinance will be voted on by the City Council. Pictured from left: Steve Morris, Richard Felton and Ron Caldwell.

By Robert Flippo

The Piedmont Planning Commission met Monday, Nov 4 and discussed two main items: a possible ordinance providing for mandatory storm shelters for public buildings and a possible ordinance to regulate donation bins.

The discussion surrounding the storm shelter ordinance has been going on since the pair of deadly tornadoes in Moore and El Reno. Earlier talks regarding the storm shelter ordinance included residential buildings in the conversation. However, the planning commission chose to postpone that aspect of the discussion until a later date.

The sample ordinance presented to the commission by Community Development Director Wade Harden focused only on public buildings such as schools or government buildings. The ordinance would only affect buildings with permits issued after Jan. 2014. After looking over the ordinance, the only addition the commissioners asked for was a clarification of when an older building would be required to be brought up to code. The example given was that if a building undergoes renovations to 50% or more of the original structure then it would be required to include a safe room. City Attorney Mike Segler said they would look at the precedent set by other ordinances such as flood regulations before establishing at what point a building have to be brought up to code.

The commissioners recommended that the ordinance, with the requested changes, be brought to the City Council to vote.

Next, the planning commission discussed an ordinance to regulate donation bins within Piedmont. The donation bins addressed in the ordinance are the free standing bins that organizations place in parking lots to accept donations for items such as clothes, books and cell phones.

Harden, who presented a sample ordinance regarding donation bins, said the city had received complaints about donation bins that were not being taken care of.

The ordinance defines where donation bins can be placed and would require the organization responsible for the donation bin to apply for a permit before placing the bin.

The commissioners were in favor of the ordinance but they asked to see another draft of it before sending it to the City Council.

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