Self-Storage Developers in Iowa Receive Initial Approval on Fire-Code Amendment

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Self-storage developers who requested an amendment to the city's fire code have received initial approval from the Urbandale, Iowa, city council.

Brad Vander Linden and business partner Eric Vander Linden requested the amendment so they wouldn’t be required to install an automatic sprinkler system at the proposed site.

Despite opposition from the city’s fire chief, the council approved a change to the fire code to allow Hickman’s Self-Storage to be built without fire sprinklers. The council approved the first of three readings Tuesday.

In November, a Urbandale Board of Appeals denied the request, recommending the code remain at 6,000 square feet.

The city code was changed in 2007, requiring sprinkler systems for self-storage buildings from 6,000 square feet or greater. Any facilities built before 2007 are not required to add a sprinkler system.

In August, Eric Vander Linden asked the Urbandale City Council to consider changing that requirement to 12,000 square feet, which is the requirement in nearby Ankeny, Des Moines, Waukee and Windsor Heights.

The Vander Lindens were concerned about the high price tag—about $200,000—for installing the sprinkler system. The proposed site plan includes 650 or more units. Under the existing fire code, each unit would be required to have a sprinkler head.

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