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updated: 1/12/2018 5:10 PM

Mount Prospect might ease sprinkler requirements

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In an effort to encourage investment in new homes and reinvestment in existing ones, Mount Prospect might ease its fire sprinkler requirements by offering waivers for alternatives or discounts on permit fees to encourage their use.

The village currently requires all new homes to be protected by automatic fire sprinklers.

But while sprinklers have the potential to save lives, they are expensive, said William Schroeder, Mount Prospect's new director of building and inspection services.

They cost $8,000-$12,000 per residence, and that doesn't include installation, maintenance and testing of the backflow device installed on the system to protect stagnant water from entering a home's drinking supply.

Developers contend that the cost and the aesthetically displeasing nature of the sprinklers are contributing to a lack of new single-family reinvestment in Mount Prospect.

Schroeder said that it also is holding back investment in existing homes, since some large-scale renovations would require the addition of sprinklers.

"We want to continue to see (single-family neighborhoods) increase in value," Village Manager Michael Cassady added. "We want to continue to have housing stock that is attractive to young families who want to come to enjoy the great schools in Mount Prospect."

Village trustees this week discussed financial incentives and alternatives to the sprinkler systems required, as well as alternative construction methods.

Trustees later directed the village staff to conduct further research how a change would affect fire insurance ratings. No decisions were made.

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