A regulation that went into effect in January required dining facilities that hold at least 100 people to have sprinklers. But the Building Code Council voted to revert to an older standard of requiring sprinklers in facilities seating 300 or more people.
Council member John Hitch, an architect, proposed lowering the accepted national standard, because it was too costly for smaller restaurateurs to meet.
The standard will remain at 100 people or more for nightclubs.
State Fire Marshal Jim Long was upset by the vote. Officials nationwide had worked to tighten building codes after a 2003 nightclub fire in Rhode Island killed 98 people.
When members of the state Building Code Council were asked to excuse themselves from voting because of a possible conflict of interest, no one abstained.
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