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Measure boosting authority of Washington Co. building code panel withdrawn

March 07, 2013|By KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS — A county delegation bill that was intended to give more authority to the county Building Code Board of Appeals is being withdrawn because the Board of County Commissioners of Washington County do not support it at this time, said Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., R-Allegany/Washington, on Thursday.

Myers, who also is a general contractor, said he asked the county delegation to introduce the bill to ensure that a decision by the board has legal binding authority.

“There is nothing now that says when a county sets one of these up (a board), it has legal binding authority,” he said.

The idea, Myers said, was to codify the law and make sure the board has jurisdiction and lays out the law clearly.

“This is what I’m trying to do. You have set up a board of appeal. Does it really have judicial authority? Is this really a codified law?” Myers said.

Washington County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said in an email that the Board of County Commissioners feels “that they have the authority to continue to make the Board of Appeals effective and that no additional legislation is necessary.”

According to Murray, residents who disagree with decisions “of the permits people” are allowed to appeal to the board.

“A group of professionals appointed by the BCC reviews the appeal and makes a final decision,” Murray said. “If the person doesn’t like it they can appeal to circuit court. That is in the current law and the way the BCC wants it to continue.”

An amended version of the bill also mandated that a decision by the board could be appealed to the county commissioners.

The amended version of the bill also prohibited the commissioners from delegating this “certain authority to any other person.”

Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, said the bill has been introduced as a delegation bill because it affected the whole county.

Myers said Thursday that he had asked the state’s Attorney General office for an opinion on whether decisions made by the board had any legal authority.

He said he would meet with the county commissioners and the county administrator to discuss the issue later this year.

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