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Jefferson Commissioners accept building code recommendations

June 15, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Jefferson County Commissioners on Thursday accepted a recommendation to implement building codes on new home construction, one of the steps needed to enact impact fees.

Commissioner Al Hooper, who volunteered to meet with home builders to determine what kind of building codes they would prefer, suggested that the county only enforce building codes on new buildings, not existing ones.

Hooper recommended hiring one building inspector for the county. He said his group consulted with Bucky Teach, who oversees Berkeley County's building code enforcement department, to get help on how to implement building codes.

Since Berkeley County has four building inspectors, Hooper believed one inspector would be sufficient to handle the workload in Jefferson County.

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The commissioners discussed whether to hire their own inspector or consider hiring inspectors in the private sector to do the work. Terry Marcus, a local builder, told the commissioners he is concerned about building projects being held up if the county uses private inspectors.

If private inspectors become backed up serving other clients, it would also cause delays for homebuilders, Marcus said.

The commissioners agreed to continue studying what needs to be done to implement the codes. They could be implemented by the beginning of next year, Hooper said.

The discussion about codes and impact fees started after plans for three major housing developments were announced earlier in the year that will create up to 4,963 homes if they are built.

Impact fees are fees required of developers when they build new homes. The money generated by the fees is used to offset the cost of new services such as fire and police service and new schools.

Counties which want to have impact fees must have building codes, zoning, a capital improvements plan and a comprehensive plan. Jefferson County has zoning and a comprehensive plan, but no capital improvement plan or building codes.

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