Possible Increase In Cost of Living Through New Proposed Ordinance

The seemingly ever-increasing cost of living in Oxford may be rising yet again due to a proposed ordinance that will require townhouse residents to have “automatic fire sprinkling systems.”

Section R313 in the proposed ordinance reads, “Townhouse automatic fire sprinkler systems. An automatic fire sprinkler system shall be optional and not mandatory in townhouses.”

Jason Bailey, Alderman of Ward VI, immediately took issue with it, pointing out the burden it will put on the homeowners in Oxford who are already struggling with the rising cost of living.

“Y’all realize every time we do this, the ability to provide affordable housing in this town gets less and less,” said Alderman Bailey. “Every time we require sprinkler systems or things like that, it gets put back on the consumer.”

City Building Official, Randy Barber, who delivered the ordinance to the Aldermen didn’t show full support in Alderman Bailey’s discontent with the article on the ordinance, but agreed that they could try and work towards a compromise on the section of the article.

The previous draft of the ordinance had the automatic fire sprinkling systems as optional, but the update on it has flipped the position. 

“One- and two-family dwellings automatic residential fire sprinkler systems. An automatic residential fire sprinkler system shall be optional and not mandatory in one- and two family dwellings,” stated in section 313.2 of the ordinance.

“I have a lot of experience with sprinkler systems and if you require sprinkler systems, I think you ought to require them to be insulated properly,” said Alderman Bailey.

Also, according to the ordinance, the installation and design of the sprinkler systems must be in accordance with NFPA 13D.

Mayor Robyn Tannehill had a few concerns with how the insulation would be regulated, but said that “this is not my area of expertise.” Mayor Tannehill posed questions to Barber about the specifications of the insulation, but specifics were not resolved during the meeting.

Alderman John Morgan noted that this is only the first reading of the ordinance, needing a total of three readings with updates before the ordinance can be passed and possibly enacted.