CLARKSBURG, W. Va. – The Fire Commission has informed Clarksburg officials the cease and desist order issued against the city’s code enforcement office does not affect their ability to issue permits for building and construction.
“Because a number of business folks were calling the city and calling others with concerns about accomplishing some very basic tasks like getting a building permit for renovation, or construction, or for other matters, the counsel for the Fire Commission tried to provide additional guidance to the city in the form of this letter,” Lawrence Messina, spokesperson with the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety said.
The concerns related to the code office informing citizens the City of Clarksburg was unable to issue these permits after the cease and desist order, dated July 1, was sent.
The Fire Commission said this is not the case.
In a letter sent by Assistant Attorney General Stephen R. Connolly on behalf of the commission, Connolly wrote “This conduct of your code enforcement is either due to a misunderstanding of the building code laws, or intentional gamesmanship to redirect the focus away from the code office’s misconduct. It is my sincere hop that it is the former and not the latter.”
The letter directs to sections in state code which allow the city to continue to issue permits.
“The state law governing building permits is actually separate from the state law governing building codes,” Messina said. “At the crux of the complaint addresses codes as opposed to permits.”
The letter points to state code, section 8-12-14, which reads “The governing body of every municipality has plenary power and authority to require a permit as a condition precedent to the erection, construction, repair or alteration of any structure or of any equipment or part of a structure which is regulated by state law or municipal ordinance…”
Section 8-12-14 is separate from the complaint filed against the city’s code enforcement office. The two sections of state code involved in the action are 8-12-13 and 29-3-5b, which both deal with state building code.
City Manager Martin Howe confirmed the clarification has been received and permits have again been issued as of Monday.
The cease and desist remains in place for the office in regard to enforcement until changes are made to Clarksburg’s code. The city is looking to potentially adjust sections to comply with state code and bring a quick resolution to the ordeal.
A hearing examiner has been appointed by the Fire Commission to oversee the case regarding the complaint.
Jeff Blaydes is expected to set hearing for August and may schedule more hearings if needed.