Last night we heard both Presidential candidates talk about being pro-small business.
What we needed to hear was that if either was elected, “Inspector Gotcha” would be put on America’s Most Wanted List and hunted like Bin Laden.
Thanks to Vandalia, we get to see another prime example of stupidity in power:
One building code issue remains unresolved between the city and the new Scene 75 entertainment complex on Poe Ave. near Wyse Rd. next to Interstate 75.
The city says the fire alarm system isn’t loud enough. Scene 75 owners say it meets code, especially since it is teamed with a visual system.
Until the issue is resolved, an occupancy permit will not be issued and the building will continue to operate under a temporary permit.“We think we’re in compliance,” said Les Sandler, part of the ownership group of Scene 75, which opened in early July. “We have two systems, a sound system and a sight system. The place lights up when the system goes off.
“We’re continuing dialogue with the city. We’ll get past this.”Vandalia building inspector Ted Baker informed the city council in a work session this week the sound system for the alarm is not enough, especially on weekends when 1,000 or more people are in the building, which contains a restaurant, bar and snack areas and several entertainment venues such as go-karts, miniature golf and a 4-D theatre.
“The system designed on paper met code,” said Vandalia building inspector Ted Baker, “but it didn’t pass muster when it went into the field.
”Because of that, Scene 75 has been granted three occupancy extensions as long as firemen are on the scene as a temporary measure in what is called a “fire watch” in case there are problems.
Let’s be absolutely clear- the system meets code. However, if there is a fire, Inspector Gotcha doesn’t think’s that Scene 75’s patrons will be able to hear the alarm and will stand around, despite the lights all coming on, sirens going- and continue to play their games as if nothing is going on. Employees, who have been trained on evacuation techniques and procedures, will also stand around either mute, or will high tail it out, leaving the video gamers and go-cart drivers to fry into crispy critters because, well- the sirens aren’t loud enough.
This has caused the owners of Scene 75, or the citizens of Vandalia to pay to have firemen on the scene while Scene 75 is open (over 3 months) and frustrate and hassle a new small business that has more important things to focus on.
While I’m sure Inspector Gotcha thinks he is doing his job, this isn’t the seventies or the Beverly Hills Supper Club. The risk to the owners of Scene 75 of not having a system and procedures to evacuate a building in case of a fire is clear and they have met code. It’s time to stop Inspector Gotcha from rewriting the laws on the spot. If government bureaucrats had their livelihood on the line and had to take responsibility for their actions, we wouldn’t see this kind of pedantic, capricious behavior.
This is the kind of over-regulation small business really worries about, and the kind that Wall Street Banks aren’t.
Fire Inspector Gotcha now- and let Scene 75 have their occupancy permit.