Recently, Kodiak Borough Assembly member Crow proposed an alternative ordinance that would keep the 2012 residential building code, but allow a person to opt out, and be allowed to build their own homes without having to comply with the borough’s residential building codes. He thinks the borough should encourage people to build to code and inform them that a house built to code is probably safer, insurance costs may be less, may be more energy efficient, may be easier to get financing, etc.
Assembly member Dennis Symmons had this to say: "Allowing the citizens to opt out and build a residential home they want is so much more than just resurrecting the freedom we are guaranteed. Opt out would help the economy, our dwindling population, low income folks would become land/home owners and contribute taxes. It would also stop the handful of professional builders, who have mastered the bureaucratic process, from monopolizing the creation of acceptable dwellings. Question the candidates and tell the assembly that you and your family want to build your simple home/cabin, without a mortgage. Don't take no for an answer. In Kodiak change is only a vote away. Thanks for you vote last year."
I agree with Crow and Symmons. We should encourage people to build to code, provide them with the information, tools and expertise needed to build to code, but it should not be mandated.
There is a massive shortage of affordable homes in Kodiak. This problem has been made much worse by the sale and conversion of the downtown Kasheravof apartments into a Trident bunkhouse and the sale and the eviction of hundreds of people from Jacksons. Kodiak is the most expensive urban area in Alaska to build. As an example, the Coast Guard just spent $20 million to build 21 homes.
There are a handful of contractors in this town who understand the code very well, who are tight with the bureaucrats and have a lot invested in keeping the code the way it is. Many other contractors, disgusted with the ever-increasing code requirements, have essentially thrown in the towel and have quit building houses altogether. They might build a deck or a shed, but building a house today is more about knowing how to understand and navigate the complex code and bureaucratic processes than it is about building a house. They want to build homes, not schmooze bureaucrats.
Many people do not want the opt out option. These people include the small group of contractors who have mastered the bureaucratic process, the engineers and inspectors hired by these contractors, rich people who don't care how much it costs, and many people who have had the benefit of living in a low-cost home built to less restrictive requirements for decades.
The word “hypocrite” comes to mind for many of these people. "I've got mine and I could care less if you get yours.”
How and why did this oppressive, immoral, unconstitutional, lawyer/bureaucrat enriching system come about?
To make a really long story short, starting in the 1930s, financial interests began the process of incorporating everything in sight. By the end of the 1960s, virtually all government entities (local, state, Fed) were incorporated into federal municipal franchisees. During this same period a system developed to profit from these new corporations. This system is called Uniform Commercial Code or UCC. In short, these two developments, among others, turned what used to be private and free trade by individual people into corporate commerce. All transactions are now corporate and subject to the rules of commerce (UCC) and hence, are now taxable and subject to regulations (codes).
Prior to the 1930s, the incorporation frenzy and the implementation of UCC, all trade between individuals was private and was nobody's business but the people trading. People could do as they chose with their own property so long as they didn't harm anyone else (basis for the common law). Sure, there were some local laws and ordinances, but there was no omnipresent system of plunder, squeezing the lifeblood out of every property owner. This current system is simply legitimized fraud and racketeering.
Many people are under the presumption that if the code was made optional, than the entire world would explode into utter anarchy, like some kind of zombie apocalypse.
I'll admit, that to a certain extent, some people have lost much of their common sense. However, that loss is the result of and is proportional to the amount of power gained by these corporate, commercial entities (municipalities) via the threat of financial ruin or physical violence. Common sense will easily be restored to the people, as the usurpation of their property, sovereignty and freedom are restored.
Kodiak resident Jamie Fagan is a commercial fisherman. He can be reached at 942-7026.