Under the code's existing provisions, City Council reviews the design, but does not review the infrastructure after it is built. The amendment requires private subdivision developers to hire a licensed engineer to certify that the infrastructure is built according city approved plans, and provides for records of each certification. These records will be kept by the city for future reference if needed.
"I've been supportive of the amendment that's been proposed," said Mayor Tommy Roberts. "A good case has been made for an additional level of regulation. It would require inspection of the as-built development to ensure compliance with drawn-out plans."
The city inspects public subdivisions because that infrastructure is ultimately turned over to the city by the developer, said City Manager Rob Mayes. After it becomes public property, the city is tasked with maintaining it on behalf of the general population.
"This is about private property," Mayes said. "We don't own these streets, curbs, gutters (and other infrastructure). We don't have the authority to make the developer pay for the inspection. It provides some additional protection without adding an excessive burden to the developer."
Councilor Mary Fischer asked if a better solution would be to have the city conduct the inspection and charge the developer.
"It seems like it would be easier to implement," she said.
The amendment would also allow for the design engineer to conduct the final infrastructure inspection.
"That's what makes me uncomfortable," Fischer said. "It sounds like the fox is guarding the hen house."
Roberts stated that a cost benefit analysis needs to be made, and that requiring developers to hire different engineers for the design and inspection phases may pose an unnecessary cost burden.
The design engineer would have a vested interest in assuring that infrastructure is properly built, he said.
"The design engineer has his or her reputation at stake," Roberts said.
City Community Development Department Director Mary Holton echoed the mayor's argument.
"It's not only their reputation, it's their license," she said.