Spokane City Council considering changes to ordinance on heated sidewalks

Spokane City Council considering changes to ordinance on heated sidewalks
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In February, a dog was electrocuted on a downtown Spokane sidewalk. Now council members are looking to change the requirements and guidelines for heated sidewalks in the city.

In a release, the City of Spokane said, “After receiving community feedback, Council is considering changes to the Fixed Outdoor Electric Deicing and Snow-Melting Equipment Ordinance that would require that all systems (in the public right of way and on private property) be upgraded to include ground-fault protection.”

According to that same release, “an ‘amnesty’ program would be implemented where permit fees could be waived for one year to allow people to come into compliance with as little cost as possible.”

“I was pleased to work with Council Member Kinnear and staff to increase the safety for all people and their companion animals while walking on downtown sidewalks,” said Councilman Breean Beggs.

A registration program would be created for all systems installed in the public right of way or on public property. The program would be free and would allow the city to maintain a database of all the systems throughout it.

Below is the considered ordinance change:

Section 17F.050.165 Fixed Outdoor Electric Deicing and Snow-Melting Equipment

A. Ground-fault protection of equipment shall be provided in compliance with the National Electric Code for all fixed outdoor electric deicing and snow melting equipment that is embedded in driveways, sidewalks, steps, or other areas that are publically traversable. This requirement shall apply to all embedded systems and shall apply retroactively to systems that were installed under older versions of the National Electrical Code.
B. All fixed outdoor electric deicing and snow melting systems shall be maintained by the property owner according to ANSI/IEEE 515.1-2012. Systems located within the public right of way shall be maintained by the adjacent property owner. Testing of the systems shall be conducted by the property owner and shall occur annually.
C. Property owners with a fixed outdoor electric deicing and snow melting systems located within the adjacent public right of way or on public property shall register the system with the City Engineer on a form approved by the city engineer. The registration shall include a site plan showing the location of the system. In addition to any required permits, registration submittals for new installations shall include manufacturers cut sheets.

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