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Fire Code in Urbandale, Iowa, Modified for Self-Storage Facilities


After months of debate, the Urbandale City Council in Iowa approved an amendment to its fire code Tuesday, allowing self-storage facilities under 12,000 square feet to be built without fire sprinklers.

The 3-2 vote was the third and final reading needed for the change. The International Fire Code recommends all self-storage buildings from 6,000 to 12,000 square feet be required to have fire sprinklers. 

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 a proposed self-storage site.

Despite opposition from the city’s fire chief, the council gave the initial approval in January to change the fire code and allow Hickman’s Self-Storage to be built without fire sprinklers.

In November, an Urbandale Board of Appeals denied the developers’ 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.

The council received a petition in January signed by 61 residents and five businesses near the property against the change. The petition asked Urbandale Mayor Bob Andeweg to veto the council’s decision if the third reading was passed. Although the mayor said he was not in favor of council’s decision, he declined to use his veto power during the council meeting to overturn the council’s decision.


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