Kearney city seal

KEARNEY — In a move that included some confusion on whether the mayor was required to cast a tie-breaking vote, Kearney city leaders Monday, Nov. 5, opted to change the city building code to require ice barrier underlayment for roof coverings on residences.

The change requires the barriers be installed on the aforementioned dwellings going forward. City code already required barriers on commercial structures.

City Administrator Jim Eldridge said the idea to possibly require the barriers, which help prevent ice and water from building up under roof coverings that can result in thousands of dollars in damage, came from residents seeking information after several houses sustained hail damage this fall.

“The recent cold spell reminds us this is a reasonable measure as it protects roofs against ice dams that can cause roof damage,” Eldridge wrote in his report to aldermen ahead of the Monday meeting.

Community Development Director David Pavlich said similar ice barrier requirements are in place in nearby areas including unincorporated Clay County, Liberty and Smithville. Pavlich added he contacted the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City and the organization does not have an official recommendation on the matter.

During a public hearing on the matter at Monday’s meeting, roofing contractor Dillon Kenaga said the barriers are inexpensive and he thinks the city would be foolish to not require the added layer of property protection.

Alderman Gerri Spencer said she has an ice barrier on her home and it “does make a difference.”

Mayor Randy Pogue said he was contacted by a resident who is having her roof replaced and she thinks the code change is a smart decision.

Alderman Dan Holt said he doesn’t think an added protection for homeowners is a bad idea, but said based on a talk he had with a local developer and building materials dealer, the added costs to a developer could amount to $500 to $600 per house. Holt questioned whether the new requirement would negatively impact residential development and those willing to build in Kearney.

Kenaga said ice barriers do not cost as much as Holt thinks and that many can be installed by developers for roughly $200 to $300 per house.

During the aldermanic vote on whether to approve a change to residential requirements, Alderman Marie Steiner said she didn’t have enough information to make a decision while Spencer and Alderman Kathy Barger voted in favor of the change and Holt against.

Uncertain if Steiner’s statement meant she was abstaining or casting a “no” vote, official meeting minutes, according to Eldridge, will show Steiner among those voting against the change. Because of this, Pogue cast a vote, which is only required of a mayor in the event of a tie, and voted in favor of the change.

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at or 903-6001.

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