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Ordinances should always be looked at

By Staff | Dec 16, 2011

After Tuesday’s Shepherdstown Town Council meeting, it is clear there are parts in the town’s ordinance that need to be clarified.

At its regular meeting, council adopted new definitions of “boarding house” and “short-term rental housing” to Chapter 13 of Title 9-214 of the ordinance.

The problem is, government officials believe the spirit of the original ordinance means one thing while townspeople, especially those who already lease their properties for the short term, interpret it another way. It does not help the situation that the language of the ordinance is already convoluted.

With the town and government officials in the midst of a potential lawsuit and locals up in arms over the interpretation of language, something clearly needs to be done and immediately. Planning commissioners and town councilors mustn’t take on reworking Title 9 whenever applications come before them; it should be an ongoing process to clarify and strengthen the sections of the ordinance.

Title 9 is the law of Shepherdstown. It should not be bendable or breakable or up for interpretation.