Category Archives: Letters

June 26th: a Meeting on Building Code Folks Need to BE THERE

June 26th: a Meeting on Building Code
Folks Need to BE THERE

To the Editor;

On Monday, the 26th of June, the County Planning and Zoning Advisory Board, not the Planning Commission nor the Board of Zoning Adjustment, will hold a meeting so that they can recommend adoption of a building code to the County Commissioners. The meeting is at 7 p.m. in the Courtroom. It is possible, though unlikely, that opposition to adopting a building code will be heard.I have included the Letter to the Editor I wrote regarding the Pro’sand Con’s document submitted by Commissioner Jay Printz and his cabal. It doesn’t address the building code as much as debunk their assertions. It is unknown if the push will be for International Residential Code or if Printz’s push includes the commercial code. Given that Printz wants the proposed county inspector to also cover the town’s inspections, we can assume he will push for adoption of the commercial code disregarding the fact that there is not a commercial zone in the county. Unless they designate AG as commercial as they have done elsewhere. Show up before you lose another right.  Here’s my LTE, in case you missed it a few weeks ago:

Weighing in on the Push for a Building Code

Liberals in Custer County have been pushing a building code for a long, long time.  And now we have the latest iteration, a la Progressive Printz.Apparently the Printz has been holding secret meetings to implement a building code for the County. And as usual he shows a complete contempt for both the law and his subjects. Rather than discuss this major character flaw, I’d like to discuss his proposal. He starts with the unanimous consent of those secret conspirators and states that they are requesting, in their capacity as surrogates for the Board of County Commissioners, that the Planning and Zoning Committee, apparently another new group, write some building and fire codes that mirror the codes of the towns. It is unknown what building code has been adopted by the Town of Westcliffe. It might be the Uniform Building Code (UBC) or the International Building Code (IBC). It is also unknown when the building code was adopted. The reason that it is unknown is that there doesn’t seem to be a record of this adoption.Regardless, the secret cabal allegedly identified the pros and cons of adopting a building code. Obviously the pros outnumber the cons. That would be a foregone conclusion of such a secret meeting. Let’s go through the pros and see if they are valid conclusions.

First is “Better product produced”. Of course, there isn’t any evidence cited but the truth is that this claim is false on its face. The reality is that all the good builders in the county build better than code and that a building code protects bad builders and fly-by-night builders. That is the main purpose of the code, to provide cover for builders from lawsuits. They can claim that the structure was “built to code” so they aren’t responsible.

Second “Reduce/eliminate inappropriate or dangerous shortcuts and cost saving activities”. This is just a ridiculous statement. Who is supposedly doing this? Hired builders or homeowners? And what are these alleged shortcuts? Building with straw bale or tires? As though any responsible individual is actually going to take dangerous shortcuts. But even if a builder did, responsible homeowners and lenders inspect the work being performed.

Third “Higher resale value”. A completely specious claim.  What causes the higher resale value is the higher cost to build because of all the regulations and inspections. It also isn’t a function of government to increase the monetary gain of select groups.

Fourth “Easier mortgage (lower debt/equity ratio)”. See above but also when someone builds their own house they either have sweat equity and don’t need a mortgage or they manage costs so that their mortgage requirements are much lower.I haven’t even gotten to the really stupid pros yet.

Fifth “Lower insurance costs”. Can’t imagine where they pulled this from. Insurance is based on the value of the property. Perhaps what they mean is lower fire insurance but this is also not true. That insurance would be based on the likelihood of a fire destroying the structure and as we have seen from fires like Black Forest experienced, the insurance companies required all trees and brush within 100 feet of a structure be removed.

Sixth “Health and safety of occupants” (including fire/construction) safety (sic). Stop laughing. We all know that where there is a building code, construction workers never get hurt and homeowners always are protected against the ravages of nature. When there is a building code, winds never drive debris through walls, trees never fall on homes, snow never crushes a structure, carbon monoxide never builds up.  Well you get the picture.

Seventh “Equitable – Level field – One code for everyone”. So does that mean Kommissar Printz wants to regulate the minimum size of structures in the County and Silver Cliff like he has done in Westcliffe? Then it isn’t about safety at all is it? And exactly which code has Westcliffe adopted? And when? And does the Town of Westcliffe follow the same regulations as Silver Cliff with regard to modular homes? And will alternative building materials be disallowed?

Eighth “Eliminate property tax evasion schemes”. I guess the assessor’s office doesn’t do their job and never check out structures. But a different government agency will do better than the existing one. Are there any County employees doing their job?Ninth “Protect buyers not familiar with proper building standards and adherence thereto”. Another way to say this is remove personal responsibility from people and protect them from being STUPID.  Maybe that’s too harsh.  Still, if you don’t know what you’re doing, hire someone who does. There are lots of building inspection firms that guarantee their findings and warn of problems where a bureaucrat just stamps “built to the lowest common denominator”.

And the final pro, and my all-time favorite, “Reasonable flood insurance availability”. Flood insurance has nothing to do with adopting some arbitrary building code. It has to do with becoming a FEMA participating county and producing flood maps. The HUD flood maps are not only half a century old, their scale is pathetic. The smallest amount of homework would have revealed this. And I personally know of residents that have flood insurance for about $100 per year. And that’s through Lloyd’s of London.

My favorite con is “3. Restricting Class of people (tent dwellers, makeshift housing, etc)”. Notice the wording – class of people. We certainly don’t want the riff-raff living here. How can we make this Vail or Aspen if those kind of people are allowed to live here?The closing statements say that the 2006 International Building Code is “Not over restrictive.  But that code is over 650 pages. How could that NOT be overly restrictive?But government is here to protect us from our own decisions – right or wrong.  And these current commissioners are the “class of people” who think they know what’s best for us.

Dan Bubis
Rural Custer County

Letters to Sentinel Concerning Building Codes or Dark Skies

We have received a few letters concerning the Custer County Board of Commissioners’ desire to add IBC building codes to the County’s  laws and well as the proposed Dark Skies Ordinance

More to come….

Letter “Zen of Total Recall” from  Arthur Gerard Michael
von Boennighausen   see his website

Letter Chris Euberroth

Letter William Brown PHD,  CSUP Observatory

Letter from Lorene Cushman

Letter from Frank Oberlin

Letter from Eva Holgate

Letter to the BOCC: 06/02/2017 Mark Howard   

LTE Building Code by Dan Bubis 060217

Building Code evaluation

LTE: Socialized Broadband: A Lot of Dollars, Little Results

03-31-2017

This informed letter is referring to the study on Broadband solicited by the Custer County Economic Development Corp (CCEDC).  They have linked the report and the you can see the report at the link below;

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0gfi4i0rpngjfq8/Final%20Report_CC%20Broadband%20Infrastructure%20Expansion%20Design%20Study_2017%2003%2024.pdf?dl=0

The letter;

Letter to Editor;
I have repeatedly tried to write an analysis of the Custer County Economic Development Corporation’s Phase 2 and Phase 3 documents that were recently released. The documents were prepared by CenterLine Solutions for the CCEDC. All of this is paid for by you, the taxpayer. And because of that, I feel like you should know how your money is being spent and because I know a little about the subject, I feel like you shouldn’t be led down the primrose path.
For the last couple years, the Custer County Economic Development Corporation has been talking about increasing the broadband availability in the county.  Their Phase 2 and Phase 3 documents were recently released.  And since the CCEDC’s plans for broadband will be partially paid for by the taxpayers of Custer County, I feel that it’s important to understand what they’re up to.
First of all, we need to understand that the CCEDC and their friends on the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) want to create a public utility (think phone company or electric company – one that has a monopoly and can charge whatever they want.)  It will probably be run by the CCEDC which could make a lot of money on the deal, whose principals stand to make lots of money on the deal.
The CCEDC spent $34K on these reports and is flashing them all over the county.  The documents are available online and you should check them and not just take my word for it.  Fair warning – their math is so unreliable it makes evaluating these documents nearly impossible.
Let’s start with the Phase 2 document.  Table 2 says that there are currently 9,328 addresses served by broadband but it also says that there are only 6,553 addresses in the county.  According to the Assessor’s Office, though, there are 9,122 parcels county-wide.  Head-scratching. . .  (The number 9,328 is calculated by adding the column in Table 2.)
If you add the column that lists the percentage served by each existing tower, you come up with 142.35%. You would think that these numbers by themselves would have been enough to put an end to the boondoggle being pitched by the CCEDC.   But, no, they either also can’t do such complex math as addition or they don’t care, they just want more money and power.
Municipal broadband is a colossal failure across the nation and just this simple math problem shows you why. If you look at the tables on pages 6, 7 and 8 of the Phase 2 document, you see this scenario played out in every table. And the bottom line of all of this is that if millions of tax dollars are spent on building sixmore towers, 870 more addresses will have access to broadband.   Access – Not Service.  Those 870 more addresses will have to pay for service – just like we all do and those services will be subsidized by additional tax money. Then many more millions of tax dollars can be pocketed by those running the utility.
And who are those people who will profit? It’s probably wrong to paint every supporter with this brush but the CCEDC members that I know about are Charles Bogle, Dale Mullen and Wilson Jarvis and they have already approached the towns and the county trying to get tax dollars to fund this fraud. And why is Commissioner Kattnig such a big supporter? And why does he get so mad when I refer to this as socialized broadband? I wouldn’t expect someone who has fed at the public trough almost his whole life to understand, but the legitimate role of government is not competing with private enterprise and using tax dollars to have an unfair advantage.
We currently have two wireless providers as well as a hard line provider (let’s ignore existing satellite). Much of the county has access to broadband with today’s technology. And that all improves dramatically in the near future.  What is on the horizon that will make anything the CCEDC can scheme completely
obsolete?
Before looking into the immediate future it is important to remember that both existing providers will add towers and improve the technology as the fiscal incentive merits. Before 2020, less than three years, 5G will deliver gigabit Internet everywhere and really, the theoretical speed could be 10 gigabits per second compared to 4G which is about 100 Megabits per second.  Much, much faster. Then there’s the satellite race. Big names like Boeing, Elon Musk, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX among others are launching satellites that will provide Terabit Internet. And this access will be every place on the planet that can see a piece of sky. Even the most remote places on earth will have this access. Google and Facebook have their own proposed solutions which involve covering the whole planet as well. As we have repeatedly seen, the competition will expand the quality and services while driving down prices. Without wasting tax dollars.
Why? Because the Free Market always, always does better than central government control. As technology improves, more and more people depend on that technology. That’s right Kommisar Kattnig, the unleashed productivity of the market does much better than command and control bureaucrats will ever do.
First, I’m astounded that the CCEDC spent $34,694 taxpayer dollars (grants don’t come from nowhere folks) with a firm that can’t get the math correct. Apparently, Centerline Solutions can’t even get the name of the company who hired them correct. Their study documents all refer to the Custer County Economic Development Board instead of corporation. Maybe the contractor thinks they’re working for a government agency instead of a private business.
Second, I’m flabbergasted that the CCEDC thinks the voters of Custer County are stupid enough to pay millions in new taxes so that a few more people will have access to Internet. Internet is a product, not a right. But, maybe, just maybe, the CCEDC has worked it all out with the sitting Commissioners and there won’t be a need for a silly vote.
Lastly, I’m dumbfounded that, in this day and age when the evidence of colossal failures of municipal Internet ventures is so readily available, any sane person would propose creating another municipal Internet venture.
Unless there’s big money for someone. And as always, follow the money. Who will benefit?

Dan Bubis
Rural Custer County