Out of Control EPA and Arizona Code Enforcers

Rusdon Ray, a local draftsman/Home Designer, along with some builders and home owners, met with Maricopa County District 2 Supervisor Steve Chucri in early March 2013.  They wanted to let him know that the EPA, as well as the ICC’s International Building Codes adopted by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (MCBOS), are forcing the construction industry to conform to illogical, tyrannical, untenable regulations and codes.  Imagine a police officer entering your home and ordering you to install a certain type of swimming pool motor, air conditioner, shower head, toilet, etc.  Would this happen in a free country?  Yet, our local government, through Code Enforcement, has the power to keep you from taking possession of your home if you haven’t installed these items.  If you as the home owner take possession anyway, your local government can prevent you from getting your power turned on.  See an article titled “Quest for Excellence best done through Mandates or Personal Choice?” written by Rusdon Ray.

 Here is the letter that Rusdon wrote to Steve Chucri

 March 11, 2013

 Dear Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri, 

Thank you for meeting with us to hear our complaints and suggestions.  It was a great meeting. Thanks also for your great suggestions and serious consideration. That really means a lot.  For yours and our convenience, I took the liberty to record the complaints and suggestions from both the builders and home owners.  I’m sure I missed some so sorry to anybody whose complaints were not recorded.

 Complaints from the citizens and builders:

– Out of control EPA and Maricopa County Dust Permits

– High number of EPA code enforcers looking for areas to fine builders and home owners

– Excessive Dust Fines

– Multiple plan submittals and reviews – up to 13 reviews on some jobs due to so many codes.

– County workers hesitant to accept re-submittals out of fear that not all is perfect on plans.

– # of prints for each resubmittal.  For example, 3 full sets and 7 site plans for one small change on one page!  (Lots of trees wasted.)

– Phone calls not returned in a timely manner or at all.

– Multiple departments that contradict each other and make plan approval nearly impossible

– Large and confusing Drainage manual requirements

– Fence permits required on owner’s property for drainage, even for chain link fences.

– Grading and drainage requirements for irrigated and flat lots. Why?

– No idea what the rules are because there are so many. 1,000s of pages of ICC codes

– No consistency in plan review or building inspection. Each inspector or plan reviewer requires something different.

– Mandates on things that are made up

– Staff talks nice but require the book regardless

– Requirements on playground equipment. Again Why?

– Fined for unpermitted existing structures without recorded complaints

– Tyrannical dust permit enforcement without complaints

– Open disrespect for builders submitting in person who question legitimacy of reviewer’s illogical and many time unfeasible requirements

– No over the counter reviews for simple job changes

Superficial Proposed fixes – Great

– Simplify submittal requirements

– Online submittal

– Rename violators as real people

– Phone response time

– Answer phone with a live person

– Complaint line

– More pleasant customer service

– Good personalities

– Service oriented employees 

Proposed substantial fixes that address the real concerns – Totally Awesome

– Tear down and rebuild the system to its proper role – Steve Chucri

– Lower property taxes – Steve Chucri

– Stand up to the EPA. Only enforce Constitutional laws passed by congress.

– Throw out all voluntary dust control enforcement unless there is a legitimate complaint from somebody other than the inspectors.

– Reject federal funding for enforcement and remove high number of EPA inspectors.

– Consolidate departments.

– Remove unnecessary departments

– Scale back to zoning and Life/Safety only

– No landscape review.

– No new energy or green code mandates.

Additional suggestions.

Don’t approve any new codes such as the 2012 ICC codes without first reading and understanding them

Look at repealing the existing 2006 ICC codes that were passed by Maricopa County Board of Supervisors having never read them. 

Replace them with comprehensible and readable local codes only

 Thanks again for you serious consideration of our recommendations and comments. It was great meeting with you. Hopefully we can keep this going and keep Maricopa County a place we all are proud to live. 

Rusdon Ray
GER Drafting Services
2243 E. Claxton
Gilbert, AZ 85297