Leavenworth County commissioners plan to have a work session to discuss whether the county government should adopt building codes.

Leavenworth County commissioners plan to have a work session to discuss whether the county government should adopt building codes.

The issue came up Wednesday during a meeting of commissioners.

During a public comment period, Jerry Dixon of Dixon Contracting Services said his company is doing repair work for a home in Leavenworth County that was damaged by a recent tornado. He said an insurance company is providing funds for repairs. But he said the insurance company will not provide additional funds for upgrading the home to what would be considered modern code standards without a letter from the county indicating that these code upgrades are required.

The county government currently does not have building code requirements for unincorporated areas.

Senior County Counselor David Van Parys said the county could adopt building codes from the International Residential Code.

“The codes are already written,” he said.

But he said the issue for the county is how inspections would be handled. He provided a couple of options including incorporating the cost of inspections into building permit fees.

Commission Chairman Doug Smith said he did not think commissioners should approve codes during Wednesday’s meeting.

“It needs to be on the agenda,” he said. “It needs to be discussed.”

Smith said the commission needs to have a work session to discuss building codes.

“We’ll schedule a work session relatively quickly on building codes,” County Administrator Mark Loughry said.

One commissioner, Jeff Culbertson, said he would not support the adoption of building codes for unincorporated Leavenworth County.

“It’s a big can of worms,” he said.

He said county officials started to go down the same road three years ago, and this resulted in a crowd of 300 people showing up for a Leavenworth County Planning Commission meeting.

Culbertson said there is a reason why people live in the county. He said people who want building codes can live in a city.

Commissioner Mike Stieben suggested it might be advantageous to have a minimal level of building codes for the county.

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