'Smelly house' bill gets no opposition in House hearing

March 18, 1999|By LAURA ERNDE

ANNAPOLIS - A plan for tougher nuisance laws in Washington County received no opposition at a hearing in the Maryland House of Delegates on Thursday.

A "sickening stench" coming from a Hagerstown home prompted the Washington County Delegation to seek the legislation.

"What we're trying to do is incrementally persuade people that being good neighbors is a good idea," testified Roderick A. MacRae, Washington County director of environmental health.

Last summer, neighbors complained about the smell of trash and cat urine at a West End home.

The owner was taken to Washington County District Court, where she was told to clean up her place or be fined $50.

The matter is unresolved, MacRae said.

The case is one of several that illustrates the need for a tougher penalty, he said.

"This is not a motivational fine for some people," he said.

Under the proposal, someone who doesn't fulfill a Washington County court order could be fined $5 a day. Someone who blatantly ignores an order could be fined $10 a day.


The Environmental Matters Committee had no questions for MacRae or Delegation Chairman Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington.

The committee could vote as soon as this week on the delegation's proposal.

The bill is one of 11 pieces of legislation sponsored by the delegation during the 90-day session.

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