Estero Fire District Repeals Resolution

I am pleased to report to the FHBA membership that the Estero Fire Rescue District voted to repeal its resolution requiring sprinklers in all new construction of one and two family dwellings.  Three weeks ago, the Lee Building Industry Association (BIA) and the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) jointly filed a motion seeking judicial injunction against enforcement of the mandatory sprinkler provision. Our legal pleading argued that Estero Fire Rescue District failed to follow state law and that they lacked the authority to enforce the resolution.

Congratulations to Lee BIA and their members on a job well done. They spent an incredible amount of time and resources on this issue. Had Estero Fire Rescue District been successful, mandatory fire sprinkler supporters emphatically stated they would take the fight to other venues around the state. Though a local issue on its surface, FHBA’s leadership viewed this as a potential statewide issue and responded with strategic and monetary resources. “The repeal of the Resolution renders the pending litigation filed by the BIA and the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) moot.  Although a local issue, the FHBA’s strategic advice and financial assistance helped push the issue to a satisfactory conclusion.   We would like to thank FHBA, our legal counsel, Chene Thompson with Pavese Law Firm, the BIA leadership and Board of Directors, Lee BIA Executive Officer Brenda Thomas and the many BIA members who lent assistance to defeat this onerous initiative by the Estero Fire District,” stated Lee BIA President Dan Beiter.

Let Lee’s experience serve as a cautionary tale for us all. We must monitor all levels of government. Think about what public policy challenges we recently have been confronted with: Waters of the US at the Federal Level; A comprehensive Water Bill and Building Code re-write at the state level; and mandatory sprinkler systems, impact fees and inclusionary zoning at the local levels. We (the Building Association Federation) must continue to work hard to keep all three levels of government from unnecessary intrusion into our industry.

Job well done Lee BIA. Now onward to the next fight!

Ray Puzzitiello, FHBA President