City council eases fire sprinkler ordinance for businesses - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

City council eases fire sprinkler ordinance for businesses

Posted: Updated:
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

After years of debate, the Chattanooga City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that will free most bar and club owners from installing sprinkler systems inside their businesses.

The mandate was put in place by the previous council, and was set to take effect at the end of the year.

But business owners, who have been doing business in Chattanooga for decades say it would shut them down.

Channel 3 took a look at the compromise that those owners say is two years in the making.

"When you have costs like that, that add no additional safety factor and threaten the existence of the business it's important that you step forward," said Lamar, Partridge, Owner of Lamar's Restaurant.

Lamar Partridge and several other long-standing business owners stepped forward Tuesday asking city leaders to reconsider a sprinkler ordinance.

"Don't hurt small businesses. It's hard to start up as it is," said Sharon Kelly, Owner of Mocha

 "To be expected to come up with that kind of money in two years is just impossible for small businesses," said Michael Alfano, Owner of Comedy Catch.

"It doesn't make sense to me, that music or telling jokes makes something dangerous. When you have the Tivoli and Memorial without sprinklers," said Jon Kinsey, Former Chattanooga Mayor.

The ordinance, passed in 2011 by the former city council, required everything from sports bars to restaurants with live entertainment to install sprinkler systems by December 31 of this year.

The systems cost between $50,000 - $70,000.

"We were told that this was best practices for cities, that we had been negligent in not looking at this," said Carol Berz, District 6.

But a change in national fire code standards paved the way for changes to the ordinance, proposed by councilman Chris Anderson.

"The marshal and the chief have been consulted and are okay with this," said Travis McDonough, Chief of Staff.

Business owners say they are already inspected two to three times a year and have safety measures in place.

"Smoke detectors, heat detectors, emergency lighting, clearly marked fire exits," said Alfano.

They say that should be enough. The council agrees. In an unanimous vote, council members loosened the ordinance, saving businesses like Lamar Partridge's from the added cost.

"What's important is the council is willing to listen," said Partridge.

Tuesday was the first reading. The city council will have to vote on the measure one more time to pass it fully. It passed Tuesday without opposition.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Hidden contracts: do you know what you're signing?

    Hidden contracts: do you know what you're signing?

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:58:08 GMT
    When is the last time you signed a contract?  Months ago, years ago, never?  You may have signed one, without even knowing it.  We are basically entering into a contract every time we go online and click the "I agree" button.  But what exactly are you agreeing to?  Here are some of the hidden legalities in those "terms of agreement" pop ups that we rarely read.More
    When is the last time you signed a contract?  Months ago, years ago, never?  You may have signed one, without even knowing it.  We are basically entering into a contract every time we go online and click the "I agree" button.  But what exactly are you agreeing to?  Here are some of the hidden legalities in those "terms of agreement" pop ups that we rarely read.More
  • Jackson Co. Sheriff's Office search for attempted burglary suspect

    Jackson Co. Sheriff's Office search for attempted burglary suspect

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:48:42 GMT
     The Jackson County, Sheriff's Office in Alabama is needs public in locating 23-year-old Walter Lee Green III of Bryant, AL. More
     The Jackson County, Sheriff's Office in Alabama is needs public in locating 23-year-old Walter Lee Green III of Bryant, AL. More
  • Auto supplier for VW to bring jobs to McMinn County

    Auto supplier for VW to bring jobs to McMinn County

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:38 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:38:19 GMT
    The promise of the new CrossBlue being built in Chattanooga brings with it the promise of new jobs not only at the VW plant, but also area auto supply companies.More
    The promise of the new CrossBlue being built in Chattanooga brings with it the promise of new jobs not only at the VW plant, but also area auto supply companies.More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.