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Code Changes Affect Ag Land

New changes to the Fremont County Building Code were adopted by the Commissioners last November and took effect Jan. 1.

For years, Fremont County had been working under the 2006 International Building Code. Building Official Wyatt Sanders worked for the better part of a year to plan and prepare to implement the changes. Following workshops, discussion and a Public Hearing that saw no input from the public, we adopted the 2018 IBC with a few minor changes.

Naturally, the new code affects only unincorporated Fremont County only, and not land that falls within the limits of any city or town. Each city and town adopts their own Building Code.

The county’s modifications shouldn’t come as a surprise to builders or contractors, but some citizens who own agricultural parcels may not understand the changes affect them, too.

Many of the revisions were minor, housekeeping items that did not affect the way the Building Department or contractors do business. Most of the substantive changes affect ag land, including a modification of the agricultural “exempt from permit” status and the definition of “Agricultural Building.”

“Exempt from permit” status previously meant an ag owner could put up an ag building with no notification to or permission from the county. Although agricultural buildings still do not need an actual building permit, owners now are required to submit plans for a determination on the building’s conformity with the new definition of “Agricultural Building.”

Those plans must include a plot map that will be shared with the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning, where it will be examined to ensure all setbacks follow regulation, which is required even on ag-designated parcels.

Ag buildings still will not be issued an actual building permit, and there will be no fees for the review by the Building Department. However, the process will create a permanent record of the conforming building that will be used in the future by both the Building Department and Assessor’s Office.

Plan approval should prevent questions and issues, including challenges of legality, for ag buildings. The new code is not to stop anyone from building, it is intended to be more definitive and to apply the rules uniformly.

Checking in with the Building Department before putting up a new Ag building will save a lot of time and trouble in the end.

Although a new Building Code is in force, all building fees adopted in 2016 remain the same. There were no increases for building permits.

In addition to adopting the 2018 International Building Code, your County Commissioners also adopted the 2018 International Residential Code and the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code. All are available to view on the county web site,; or you may contact the Building Department for more information.

Debbie Bell is the District 2 Fremont County Commissioner.