Advertisement

Landlords ponder judicial review

The Landlords and Property Owners Association of Washington County may ask the county's Circuit Court to review the signature co

The Landlords and Property Owners Association of Washington County may ask the county's Circuit Court to review the signature co

December 12, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - An attorney representing the Landlords and Property Owners Association of Washington County said Wednesday he is considering seeking a judicial review of the group's failed attempt to take to referendum a Hagerstown rental registration ordinance.

Washington County Board of Elections Supervisor Dorothy Kaetzel said Tuesday that the association's referendum attempt fell 39 signatures short of the number needed.

The association can appeal to Washington County Circuit Court for judicial review of the petition count but it must do so within 10 days of Tuesday, Roger Schlossberg, Election Board counsel, said Wednesday.

Advertisement

Attorney Ed Kuczynski, who is representing the association, said Wednesday he would study the issue and talk to his client before a decision is made on whether to seek legal redress.

If he appeals the decision, Kuczynski would need to convince a judge that specific errors were made in how the signatures were counted, Schlossberg said. If a judge finds his arguments compelling he can require a change in the number of signatures counted as valid, he said.

The Landlords and Property Owners Association of Washington County needed signatures of 20 percent of the city's qualified voters, or 3,429 valid signatures, Kaetzel said.

Election board staff found 935 signatures of the 4,325 on the petition to be invalid signatures, she said.

Of those, 746 were rejected because they were not city residents, 54 because they were duplicate signatures and the rest for other reasons, Kaetzel said.

Association President Allan Johnson said members are disappointed that they came so close to getting the issue placed on the ballot.

Had the Election Board determined that the petition contained enough valid signatures to place the inspection matter before the voters, the city would not have been able to implement the ordinance unless it was approved at the polls.

Unless the court intervenes and changes the decision, the city can proceed with plans to implement this spring the program that will charge landlords $45 per year per rental unit to finance regular inspections. City rental properties currently are inspected only in response to complaints.

Under the program, properties will be inspected after a rental license application is submitted. Rental properties also will be inspected every three years or when there is a change in occupancy.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|