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County seeks right to license builders

January 29, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

ANNAPOLIS - At a meeting Wednesday, the Washington County Commissioners asked the local delegation to the Maryland General Assembly for legislation allowing the county to license home builders.

Members of the delegation said they would like to hold off on trying to grant any enabling legislation until they see if a proposal to license home builders statewide materializes.

The county legislation was requested by the Home Builders Association of Washington County.

Jim Fahey of Hub City Builders, president of the county chapter of the association, made the request at Tuesday's meeting of the County Commissioners in Smithsburg.

"We are here to say it is time to look at issues to protect the consumer," Fahey said.

Having the county government issue licenses to home builders would provide some consumer protection against fraud and deceptive builders, Fahey said.

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Exact details of the legislation would be worked out later.

The request was approved by a 3-1 vote with Commissioner William Wivell opposed. Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook was absent when the vote was taken.

Paul Prodonovich, director of permits and inspection, told the commissioners he supports the request.

To get a license, a builder would need to pass a competency test, have a license from another jurisdiction or have five years experience as a home builder, Fahey said. Licenses would be issued every two years with automatic renewal.

Wivell said he was concerned that legislation would make it hard for homeowners to do work on their own homes.

That is not the intent and should not be the result of any legislation, Fahey said.

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