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House OKs zoning rules

March 11, 1999|By LAURA ERNDE

ANNAPOLIS - Technical changes to Washington County government zoning and purchasing rules took an important step toward passage Thursday, while a bill to license county home builders hit a glitch.

The technical bills were the first of 11 pieces of local legislation to be approved by the Maryland House of Delegates.

"We're under way and we're doing fine," said Delegation Chairman Robert A. McKee, R-Washington.

Later, McKee found a mistake in the home builders license law, which is up for a vote in the House this morning.

McKee had thought that a requirement that home builders post a performance bond was removed from the bill in the House Economic Matters Committee.

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He learned Thursday that the removal was rejected by the committee, on which Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, sits.

It's too late to amend the bill in the House, but possibly not the Senate, McKee said.

If efforts to remove the section fail, Washington County officials will have to decide whether they want to keep the legislation as written or withdraw it and try again, he said.

The two technical bills will now go to the Senate, where they are expected to easily pass because of the Maryland General Assembly's policy of giving courtesy to local bills.

The first bill allows the county zoning administrator to grant certain zoning adjustments without a decision by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

The authority would lighten the load of the Board of Zoning Appeals and speed up the process for those seeking minor variances.

Citizens would still have the right to appeal.

The second bill would put another requirement on awarding county purchasing contracts.

It would require the low bidder to be responsive, or in other words, to properly respond to the bid request.

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