A public hearing last week on the possibility of Needham adopting the “Stretch Code” of building regulations drew dozens of residents.
The alternative building code, which puts more stringent environmental requirements on new construction and renovations, is a main requirement for municipalities wanting to join the state’s “Green Communities” program. The program awards grants to support energy-conservation efforts by member communties.
While Needham already meets most of the program’s requirements, adoption of the Stretch Code is proving contentious, as some developers fear that it would add costs to home construction and complicate inspections by the town. Others, including a committee led by Selectman Jerry Wasserman, say that while the Stretch Code may add 2 to 4 percent to initial building costs, savings in energy consumption over the life of a building more than recoup the expense.
The selectmen have not yet decided whether to recommend adopting the code. The issue is among the articles on the Nov. 7 Special Town Meeting warrant.
— Dan Adams