A former Savannah lawmaker opposes a bill that would prevent communities at risk of hurricanes from imposing tougher building standards. Former Republican state Sen. Eric Johnson, an architect, joined other architects, builders, engineers and emergency service personnel in the Build With Strength Coalition to oppose House Bill 876. The bill, which cleared both the state House and Senate, would prevent cities and counties from blocking the use of wood in the construction of certain buildings, provided state minimum standards are met. The cities of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs also objected to the bill that was backed by the timber industry. Johnson says the bill flies in the face of home rule, savannahnow.com reports. In a press release from the coalition, Johnson says: "Savannah has been battered by flooding and high winds the last couple years — first from Hurricane Matthew then Hurricane Irma — bringing along mold and costly cleanups. If it's decided that stronger local codes would help prevent high reconstruction costs, we should be allowed to put them in place."
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