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Maintenance and Building Code discussed

By Staff | Apr 3, 2015

At a special meeting of the Shepherdstown Town Council and Planning Commission, members

discussed the possibility of adopting International Property Maintenance Code and the town’s status on potential building code adoption.

During the members discussed information prepared by corporation attorney Julie Shank regarding amendments to Title 9 to reflect state code requirements.

The term “building permit” will be changed in town ordinance to “project permit” in order for better clarity, as the town currently doesn’t regulate the construction of new buildings or structures.

Adopting the International Property Maintenance Code can be seen as a first step toward establishing official building codes.

“This is our baby step,” council member Karene Motivans noted.

John Dick, building code official for Berkeley County, offered expert advice at last week’s meeting on the adoption of International Property Maintenance Code and building code.

Dick acts as an enforcement officer throughout Berkeley and acts a liaison for building code inspections in Hedgesville and Harpers Ferry.

Mayer Auxer inquired about the possibility of Dick serving in a similar manner should Shepherdstown adopt the maintenance code.

According to Dick, violations would be inspected based on complaints. Dick would not patrol for lack of compliance.

Council member Jim Ford asked why Shepherdstown does not have a building code, as its one of the last municipalities in the region to be without one.

“It was reviewed several years ago and we got very close,” Town Clerk Amy Boyd said.

“The enforcement part of it was the issue.”

Mayor Auxer explained that the town is held liable if it adopts a code it cannot enforce and at the time, resources weren’t available for proper enforcement.

“We weren’t prepared to have an enforcement officer,” he said.

The group agreed changes to Title 9 and discussion regarding the International Property Maintenance Code will move to planning commission.

The item has been added to the next Shepherdstown Planning Commission meeting for April to be held Monday, April 20.

Revisions to town ordinance must be reviewed by the Planning Commission before public hearings. begin.

FInd more information about town meetings at www.shepherdstown.us