Proposed Park District Bldg. Dept. Bill Heard
The Ohio House Local Government/Public Administration Committee took sponsor testimony on SB 151 Wednesday. The bill
would add park districts to the existing list of political subdivisions permitted to create a building department.
Grendell said the bill would save taxpayer money by allowing park districts to avoid the lengthy process of having
building projects approved by a state, county or city building department. Under the bill, park districts would be
allowed to create a building department that could become certified by the Board of Building Standards to
administer the Ohio Building Code and Ohio Mechanical Code. Instead of submitting plans to a state or local
building department, a park district that elects to create a building department could review and approve its own
Rep. Blair asked if the problem could be solved by exempting parks from the filing fee, but Grendell said the
delay in waiting for approval is as much of a problem as the cost. He acknowledged that most park districts
would be too small to take advantage of the bill, but larger ones, like the Lake County Metroparks District, which
operates a working farm, could benefit from the bill.
Rep. Chandler, the chairwoman of the committee, said that creating a building department would be duplication
of effort, and that the cost of filing fees was not likely to be more than the cost of training or hiring a building
inspector. She also said that sometimes the reason the application process is delayed is because the proposed
building doesn’t meet code requirements, and suggested that allowing parks to approve their own buildings
would be like “asking the fox to guard the henhouse, so to speak.” Chandler said the committee should look at
current building codes and consider revising them so as not to prohibitively affect parks.